Tracking "trash" in New York City.
Curbside salvage, trash-picking, junking, dumpster-diving. Whatever you call it, the process of reusing discarded objects (aka Mongo) has become such a norm in NYC, modern furniture design company BluDot is basing a marketing experiment around the act of salvage.
Blu Dot placed twenty-five of their “Real Good Chairs” in random locations throughout New York city, free for the taking, hoping to gain insight into New York’s curb-picking culture by tracking the chairs with GPS, documenting the chair’s journeys on Twitter and Flickr. I like everything about this: the chairs, the project itself, the use of social media, and the project as a marketing effort. Blu Dot plans to follow the chairs to their new homes and release a documentary about the project in December as they celebrate their SoHo showroom’s fifth anniversary.
It's Thursday once again. Take a brisk walk through the leaves with Four Design Links.
1. The Battle Over Good SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not a legitimate form of marketing. It should not be undertaken by people with brains or souls. If someone charges you for SEO, you have been conned.
That's the start of this blog post from Derek Powazek which is currently causing all manner of controversy in SEO circles. He says some things I believe many web professionals have been thinking and I can't help but agree with his conclusion: If you want people to find you make something great. Tell people about it. Do it again..
Danny Sullivan, an SEO professional, has crafted this defense of SEO, which I also like. He shares some of Powazek's concerns, but is careful to draw the important distinction between bad or spammy SEO and good/legitimate SEO.
Both posts may be worth a read if you are new to SEO or just want to brush up on best (and worst) practices before your next job or client meeting.
From clever anti-smoking campaigns to misinformation on the flu.
I've been doing a bit of research on public health-awareness advertising campaigns, and thought I'd share some highs and lows. First, the good: I came across this gallery of compelling, clever anti-smoking ads and installations:
The leaves may be changing, but Four Design Links never changes. We're here every Thursday, rain or shine.
1. Now this is how to market something
This harrowing video shows a skier wearing a helmet-cam, buried by an avalanche for several minutes and dug out by his friends. He survived the encounter because he was experienced, lucky, and had the right equipment. It was one of the most oddly compelling (if unintentional) marketing episodes I've ever witnessed.
Left: the viral video in question; Right: A Black Diamond Avalung
Before watching the video, I had no idea what an avalung was, but I do now. It's a device that helps skiers breathe easier if they get caught in an avalanche. According to the comments on the video, it probably saved the skier's life.
One wouldn't even dream of trying to stage something like this --a life or death situation-- for marketing purposes, but I can't get over how effective the whole experience was. To watch this event through this person's eyes and survive(!) was so compelling, I just had to learn more. I could see the value of the product and I was convinced even though I have no intention whatsoever of attempting such an activity. That's powerful stuff.
Four Design Links is your weekly dose of the latest design news and research.
1. iStockphoto to Sell Logos
Big news this week from iStockphoto: the site plans to offer logos for sale in the near future. Commenters on their forum seem to favor the deal, while designers are (not surprisingly) much less enthused.
To their credit, iStockphoto is trying something different with the logos they plan to sell. Logos will be unique items, only sold once apiece. In addition, they will cost much more than stock photos. Whereas a decent sized image might run $7-$10, a logo could run $100-$750.
But tell me, who is going to buy these things and who is going to supply them? Is there really such a thing as a stock logo? I think we know the answer...
It's Thursday and you know what that means: you've got an appointment with Four Design Links!
The top slot this week goes to the Webtrendmap beta. Essentially, it aggregates the top re-blogged stories from trusted sources, so you get only the cream of the crop.
I like it so far because the trusted sites seem to be weighted towards designers and, in the limited time I've spent with the site, their picks seem pretty good.
Also, the interface is unique. As I understand it, you can make your own "maps", plotting trends across two axes or even locations. I confess, I'm not sure how that part works, but it's intriguing.
This week's theme for Four Links is marketing and design humor.
1. The Cheap Ingredients Behind High Tech Products
If you remember the comics magazine Cracked from back in the day (it was similar to Mad Magazine), you may be surprised to see that Cracked.com is completely different. The internet-age incarnation now lampoons strange and unusual facts.
For instance, this recent article (NSFW) reveals that there's not much to common "high tech" products except good marketing:
Screen capture from the Head-On commercial.
HeadOn, as it turns out, is almost completely made from wax, with a small amount of extra crap--small as in parts per trillion--added in. That means it is, effectively, just wax.
2. Business Guys on Business Trips
This comic blog is a recent find for me. If you're in the marketing and design biz, you'll recognize some all-too-familiar frustrations here.
3. Things Marketing People Love
If these are some of your favorite sayings or ideas, you just might be a marketer.
Marketing People Love: Augmented Reality
4. Billboards That Don’t Belong Next To Each Other
Forgive the spammy nature of this post, but these are some pretty good juxtapositions (some NSFW). It's funny to see two strong marketing messages, oblivious of context, crash and burn together.