communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.


Macs retain price in recession, get pumelled by MSFT ads

So Macs won't be cheaper even if you want to pay less because you have less. So Crispin (these guys are the devil, I tell you, they're so good) have made this

which is an ad for Microsoft in which they sell an HP!!! Okay, so read this article to see what came of it.
What I think? I think I will always be a Mac even though my income is dwindling because of the crisis and I run Microsoft apps on my Mac quite well and dandy so...where's the problem?

Web's prescience like tidal wave

The WWW never continues to amaze me (that is why a while back when someone made a joke about the inventor of WWW, I snapped back quite harshly). What I have been recurrently noticing is that the web KNOWS before you do what it is that you need it. Information travels in tidal waves both in scope and in effects, it meets your needs and expectations.
This is the story that got me thinking about this type of imagery. I was reading my regular feeds when I stumbled on a story about a book called Brain Rules. I though the book merited some attention, so I searched it on amazon to see if I could peek inside, online. The contents seemed rather interesting so I searched further, hoping for a more in-depth review or even some more hefty excerpts. My third search on google led me directly to a pdf downloadable version. Of course, I donwloaded it and am reading it as we speak. (yes, yes, I know I should have bought it...or rather, my former non-digitized self knows she should have bought it. and no, you do not get the link here... I know that much)
The thing is that with Internet information travels in waves and the closer the wave gets the deeper the information source gets. It's like a tidal wave which first presents itself as little circles of movement. Then the more people catch on, the bigger it gets and finally when you are engulfed in it chances are typing it into google will get you to the very core (in my case the contents of the book).
This can work very well for communicators.
What also stands out however is that, just like a tidal wave, once it retracts it is gone and all memory of it vanishes. Buzz is quick and impressive online, its aftermath is depressingly empty.


Fave song of the week

YouTube makes music

This guy, aka Kutiman, picks up stuff off youtube and mixes it to sound like this. It sounds amazing!
info courtesy of wired



For some time now I have been writing strategy editorials for and promising to translate them for the blog. Obviously, I have not had the time so I am simply posting them here with links so you know what I have been thinking about.
1. Bucharest makes us pay a heavy toll, in that it puts us in a mindset where we seem to think that only what happens here is relevant
2. The crisis has been sucking the very creativity out of communications and somehow we are missing out on the opportunity to tell stories.
3. How online may be more effective in doing some things, but it will never beat TV in doing others.
4. Measuring efficiency online and how we need to go beyond CTR and clicks and become involved with engagement and affinity measurements
5. How new planners have to switch quickly from a "boom" frame of mind to a "moderate" frame of mind.


Smart way to deal with change

"Service: Bank of America
BofA turned the common consumer behavior of saving change in a jar at home into an innovative savings account service called “Keep the Change.” Consumers who use their debit cards to make purchases can now choose to have the total rounded up to the nearest dollar and the difference deposited in their savings accounts. The success of the program lay in the instinctive desire for people to put money aside in a painless way and the program’s natural integration with existing consumer behavior."
via PSFK from Media Arts

Interesting blog at roblogfest

One blog that stuck with me after roblogfest was one called Joy Tricks. You can find it here. It features some really neat handmade toys. My favorite ones below (photos from the blog here, here and here)


Agent Orange

Cloud for Sale

Saying no to recession

PSFK has a great article on how some smarter companies deal with the financial crisis, including some examples like this one

"Hyundai: Assurance: Instead of simply discounting its already economical line of vehicles, Hyundai is addressing consumer fears with an innovative return policy: Hyundai Assurance. Those who finance or lease a new Hyundai can return the car for no additional charge if they lose their job within a year of purchase. The incentive has helped Hyundai distance itself from America’s Big Three automakers and increase sales 14%, nearly doubling its Instead of simply discounting its already economical line of vehicles, Hyundai is addressing consumer fears."

Download all the report here. I am considering some ideas of my own and would like to ask if anyone was interested in thinking up some stuff like the solution above. If you are e-mail me and maybe we can come up with a small document to share with the industry ...


Why (do) I think Harper's Bazaar in Romania is pointless

There's two questions in this title. One refers to the targetless-ness of HB Romania and the other to my own inability to understand this targetless-ness.

1. Targetless magazine: I buy it and feel like throwing it out from the first leaf; it's filled with this phrase "price on demand" which drives me insane. It means that the item is SOOOO outrageously expensive, the seller would rather not print the price and perform some sweet talking in store to get it sold.
Three things cross my mind: this is a rather thick magazine, and although it looks like most of what it prints is materials from other foreign editions - so they don't really have production costs other than print material - I fail to see the monetizing and distribution strategy. You find it in on the street newspaper stands. ????? While I think there is a good number of women who may afford these outfits that HB prints, I doubt they drive up to a newsstand to buy HB. So why even have it there? Just mail it directly to their houses. Two, even though I can understand how upper mainstream brands like Mango or Musette might want to pinch a bit of the Prada-hungry home market, I still think that, for HB, this is peanuts advertising money compared to what you need to pay to print the mag and distribute it. Thirdly, why advertise Chanel in the magazine? To my knowledge there is no place in Bucharest - no public place that is - where Chanel is available. You get Chanel from little, by-invitation-only boutiques run by someone's bored wife and her entrepreneurial sister. So WTF?

2. It annoys me that I cannot simply enjoy the seeing of haute couture in action. My newly found affection of capitalism drives me to want to acquire everything I see and like, so leafing through HB annoys me because I will not be able to afford those things. Maybe the entire concept of haute couture, of fashion which is not truly wearable, but an experiment in fabric and color management, is lost on Romanians, or simply on me, forced out by the need to own a lot, as opposed to before when you could own nothing. I have not learned to go to a store without needing to buy something. Some people will tell you that is not the point of going to a store. But leafing through HB Romania makes it a thinkable option: you could never buy or wear those things so they must be just for watching.



Apple, are you ***ing kidding me!!??

Look at what they have done now? I mean, can you possibly NOT love these people. New iPod shuffle is crazy...just crazy. and yeah, it also speaks...whatever


Hot stripper takes on Dodge

I just have one question (because the answer to "are Headz insane?" is obviously yes :)): how many amongst you all have the luck to have a client who is ready to sign off on something like this?

Good job, people at Dodge.

Learn digital

You can by attending this seminar which is taught and promoted by one of the good people in the industry. I have had a quick run through the topics and the presentation and I can tell you that it answers some basic questions - without wich you cannot live online - but also goes into some of the more advanced issues in order to not only clarify but inspire.

The description below:
"situatia pietei de advertising online in Romania, mecanismele acesteia si tendintele pentru urmatorii ani
- tipuri de campanii, tipuri de formate de publicitate online si exemple concrete de sincronizare a acestora
- tehnici de mediaplanning online (optimizari pre, in timpul si post campanie)
- tehnici avansate de analiza si optimizare (cum sa cresti rata de click fara a schimba bannerul etc)
- introducere in tehnologiile de adserving, prezentare, utilizarea eficienta a facilitatilor pentru optimizarea campaniilor
- folosirea corecta a microsite-urilor, proiectelor Beyond-the-Banner, a publicitatii contextuale, a marketingului viral, a campaniilor cross-media etc"

The ultimate Mini review

Obviously I know nothing about cars - I bought my own based on how special it looked and how people felt about it - but one thing I can tell you after driving a Mini: those people at BMW sure can build engines. I mean, I started off thinking this was going to be a girlie girl experience because the car is cute and cuddly and people stop and look at you from other cars and smile (of course unless they are young women who hate you instantly). The truth is that one day later the cuteness was lost on me because of the sheer power of the engine in a car so small. It runs like the devil and you can do, if you do not fear the police, exactly what those people were doing in the Italian Job. The start-off is instantaneous and it literrally explodes out onto the road before evening reaching 3k RPM. The sound of the engine is ridiculous [as in wonderful] for a car so small and pretty, and let me tell you, one things is fore sure: this is not a car for girlies. I loved my experience with the Mini these days so thanks RoBlogFest for making this happen and thanks BMW too...

[no, no, my lovely C30, I still love you tooo....]


Immediately after RoBlogfest

Full list of winners here
and all my congratulations to Metromind for their Artmark campaigns. Thought they were well done and voted for them as a juror (yes, I can say that now).
Will come back tomorrow with full details


First day with MINI

Just a quick observation about driving a Mini (cream colored BTW): it is an all round girlie car (soooo, different from the C30) which makes you want to buy new, very pretty shoes AND it has the horse power and thrust of a man's race car. So basically first drive with Mini I went to the mall and bought 4 (!!!!!!!) new pairs of shoes and then proudly pushed on the gas pedal to her the engine roar (I think this is what they say). First experience: not bad.



This year I had the privilege to be a judge for the communication category at RoblogFest which has also given me the opportunity to add a few good blogs to my reader. The experience proved exciting not only because there are so many blogs out there which you never get to read because they are not within your range of interests, but also because something like this really opens your eyes to what uses blogs can have and how best to manage them.

I suggest you all browse through the categories and I am sure you will find some gems. I was especially thrilled to see that some companies are making really smart use of the blogging phenomenon but also saw that a lot of people have mistakenly used blogs for presentation or e-commerce purposes. I think that once the winners are announced I will post some links to my favourite ones. If you were among the candidates, Microsoft and Roblogfest have a surprise for you: you can have a peak at your position by doing this

Meanwhile, on Thursday - if you can still find some place - you can join the winners at Fabrica for the party and hang out with me too. Thanks to the lovely people at BMW I should be also able to give people a ride in a neat Mini Cooper which all judges were allowed to test drive for a day. Hurrayyy for Minis and blogging :-)

More of me on TV

This time I was sitting so you cannot see my posture but, boy, do I talk a LOT!


A generation in crisis?

I drove home last night with a cab driver who was outspokenly horrified by TV shows these days. Despite his avowed disgust he could tell me in detail what all of them were about. And I could admit I knew what he was talking about.
I got the excerpt below from a piece in The Guardian here. It says a lot about the kind of TV we make in Romania and also about the kind of newspaper writing we do, because, when, if ever, have you read a newspaper piece which started from a trivial story and ended with a reflection on the makings of modern broadcasting - going though Mailer, Roth and back?

"Mailer, writing in the 1970s, regarded TV as a modern contaminant, as toxic to his system as "the faces of digital watches, ... the touch of polyester shirts, the wet wax-paper of McDonald's hamburgers, the air of summer when traffic jams, and shrieks of stereo as the volume is mislaid, the little nausea that plastic highball glasses will give to the resonance of booze". The title of his essay "Of a Small and Modest Malignancy, Wicked and Bristling with Dots" encapsulated his attitude to television and all he felt it had come to represent."

And reading this, I wondered what kind of people we are turning into.

Great things to do on a weekend

As things has quieted down a bit on the job front, this weekend I had the luxury of rediscovering some things I love and had forgotten.

1) afternoon naps in a big bed: the wonderful feeling of having had lunch and not really having any emergencies so you can just slide back into bed, watch a soap and then slowly doze off
2) DC comic movies in an almost empty cinema house: I love the cinema going experience, the darkness just before the opening credits, the feeling that you are in a different world, the close up of actors faces and the cheesy scores. Yes, this means I saw Watchmen ...wohooo
3) newspapers and Italian chocolate served with loads of whipped cream: before the age of wifi I used to go to a cafe (I still do go to the same one) and buy a stack of newspapers and eat croissants and omlette and leaf through every one of them. This Saturday I tried it again and let me tell you, it never gets old, the feeling of holding a newspaper, the smell of ink, the inability to jump links and the eventual sense that you have accumulated some knowledge

This weekend was good. Some things are still the same. Good.

Where is that video of me???!!

A while back there was a storm of a conversation about unfair dealings by self-nominated no.1 online publisher - Realitatea. Manac was trying to prove they were spamming and link building and tagging incorrectly. It eventually died down. What I understood was that you could create loads of fake pages and fake links to get more google hits.
I don't know if that's the case but recently I was on TV (I know, there is not an obvious sequitur in that sentence, but bear with me) and wanted to see myself after the show (mostly because I am vain, but also because Zoso's recent postings of myself speaking show I have a horrible hunch). I searched the website of the TV channel - yes, it was the Money Channel - for an archive of the show. There was one. For every single show aired or NOT aired. But the funny thing is that if you click on any of the show air times you get a blank page. Actually the exact same page only with changed dates. Even for the shows which have not been produced yet.
So I tried more. I clicked on archive to see if you could get to the shows via that. Naturally the archive is only available IF you register so no luck there either.
Eventually I had to rely on my mom's mildly excited retelling of the show - apparently I did not hunch too much. Bu the question remains: why have all that long list of clickable links to blank pages when you could simply have said "to watch archive footage of this show you need to register"?


Design that changes places/people

There's a story in Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point", I think, which tells about an experiment in the NY metro. For a period of time all metro cars which had been "vandalized" with graffiti and private messages were regularly cleaned and made too look nice. The results showed a 10-30% decrease in crime rate in the stations and cars which were made part of this experiment [if I identify the book wrongly, please correct me].
The experiment speaks to the power of a different environment on behaviour and maybe is a precursor to the idea of design which improves society.
I have a friend who is involved with design and looking to conduct a similar experiment. We thought about re-designing a public environment and monitoring the change in behaviour of the people in that environment. The current candidates are a railway station waiting room and the library of a school.

I would like to ask if anyone has any other ideas and also if they know of a place that would willingly become involved in something like this.

The image here is of an Ingo Maurer lamp [ I think it has something to do with the post, design, and changing the way one feels about stuff :-)]