Archive for June, 2007

Sneak Preview

25 Jun 2007

It’s been a bit quiet lately on this blog, I know, but there were so many things to be done. So many things have happened and I was working late so much that I never got around to blogging anymore. I was too tired or too busy. I’ll give you one of the reasons why: I’ve been part of a great team around Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, the world’s premier student technology competition. The Imagine Cup is one way Microsoft is encouraging young people to apply their imagination, their passion and their creativity to technology innovations that can make a difference in the world – today. Now in its fifth year, the Imagine Cup has grown to be a truly global competition focused on finding solutions to real world issues. I’ve been assigned the very cool role to launch the Imagine Cup into Second Life, the virtual world.

The island I’ve used is the one of I terra-shaped it and together with the guys of 3D agency Nazooka, it’s been turned into a little paradise. Before you start nagging about Microsoft buying its way into Second Life: no we didn’t. One of the most precious things I’ve looked out for is that we didn’t hire a super deluxe building agency that would design everything custom from the plants you see to the chairs you sit on. Being part of this community for over a year now, I thought it would be very not-done to build just another island without contributing to the community. So every tree you see, every piece of furniture… we bought it all at in-world merchants and stores so we’d support them. For our launch event, I booked Natalie Moody, one of SL’s most precious live singers, for three performances. The concerts will be accessible to all citizens, obviously free of charge. Afterwards, if all goes well, live DJ’s will take the stage and party with those who’re there until deep into the night. The launch event will run from 8.30 PM the 28th until evening the 29th, to cover most of the timezones.

The walkthrough is pretty simple, the island is shaped up like a clock. Every zone hosts 2 teams and in every zone you get some information about which team is being featured and you can see a clip about their project on the video players. There’s a pebble path between the trees that goes around the entire island and if you follow that you visit each zone. But because we’re dealing with a ‘younger’ audience, we’ve put a skydive drop zone in every section as well, and a launch pad in the middle of the island. This way you can explore the things differently and pick random zones to experience the project.

Nazooka scripted a lot of things for us, they did some cool building as well and I’m glad we opted for them as a partner. We’ll get a lot of stats and things will run pretty smooth too. When the campaign is over, I’ll share some stats as soon as I get them.

The Xbox team if offering 3 consoles and 30 games as prizes, and on the island is a note about how you can sign up to try and win one. If everything goes right, the Visual Studio team will be hiding some easter eggs too, but I’m not so well informed about this part of the campaign, so I can’t really say much more about it. I had a great time setting this up, and to me it was a very cool experience. If you want to visit the island too, look for it in the search under ‘places’ with ‘on10′ as a keyword. Until the official launch, we won’t brand it Imagine Cup yet.

Here are some snapshots of the location:

Imagine Cup Island 1

Imagine Cup Island 2

Imagine Cup Island 3

Imagine Cup Island 4

Imagine Cup Island 5

Imagine Cup Island 6

Imagine Cup Island 7

Imagine Cup Island 8

Imagine Cup Island 9

Imagine Cup Island 10

So, right now I’m off to Barcelona for an offsite and on the way home I have to stop in Paris to help out on the launch event the 28th. Don’t know if I can make it to blog, but I’ll try.


Posted in Campaigns


Nokia N95

24 Jun 2007

I promised a review for the Nokia N95, a device I’ve received through the TheseDays agency a while ago which I could keep for three weeks to test it and experience its options. I must say the mini-pc looks very cool and is very ok to take it with you everywhere you go. It weighs only 120 grams, which is not at all that much. I mostly used it as a camera to take pictures while I was in Las Vegas, and with its 5 MegaPixels it rendered 2592 x 1944 pixel images that really stood out to any pictures I’ve ever taken with my mobiles. The Carl Zeiss optics and autofocus made it possible to photograph items really sharp, even though they were hundreds of meters away.

The videos you shoot with it are of good quality and the sound of the things you record is too. With 30fps, it’s a nice experience to play back your adventures. I didn’t use the secondary CIF videocall camera because I didn’t quite know who to call :-)

Scanning for wireless networks, connecting to them and uploading goes very fast. I have nothing to say about that. Holding on to the network has proven to be a little more difficult, I had to reconnect at least once every 10 minutes when I was uploading pictures to Flickr. Once the connection is there, it’s almost as fast as broadband. I like this feature the most. It is, however, VERY battery-consuming.

A few downsides to the device though:

Even though it has up to 220 hours of stand-by time and up to 6.5 hours of calling time, I ran out of power quite a lot when I used the wi-fi feature to upload images to Flickr or to browse sites or make videos. I realize that for regular use this power supply is really good, but if you deliver a mobile multimedia pc and show off with its features, I think there needs to be some more power to it to cover all the fun. If you play some movies you’ve put on the little 1 Gigabyte memory card, you can see the battery power bar shrink almost in real time. That’s a bummer.

The mobile GPS works fine when you’re on foot and you could download maps for free from the website to cover more than 100 countries. The service becomes paid as soon as you want voice guidance added to the road descriptions of your travel route. Here’s something I don’t understand either. It takes a really long time to locate the 5 needed satellites when you’re in the middle of the city. You need to find an open spot to get a signal (took quite some time) and from then on it’s pretty smooth, but it’s only good when you’re on foot. I tried it on a bike and that was about as fast as the thing could go. For usage in a car, it simply is too inaccurate and sometimes it loses contact with the satellites, leaving you stranded and waiting for a signal to continue the quest. Then comes my question: why would you need voice guidance? If you go slow enough to read the map I don’t see a need/market for it, unless the receiver becomes stronger and the service improves.

I’m very satisfied about the speed of the browser and the fact it has RSS built in. It’s also remarkable that it’s not an ordinary WAP browser, but a full browser ‘as is’. It’s the same sort of browser you’d use on your regular pc. That’s pretty cool.

Nokia N95

What I don’t like, or rather, what I miss, is the touch-screen functionality. I’ve been using the HTC TyTN (and still do) and it’s really a super thing that you can navigate with touch. Switching back to a device that needs confirmation keys and has keys that require multiple touch for a character or action is very challenging. I kept pressing the screen, expecting something to happen out of habbit. Sending text messages or answering email is far more time-consuming compared to when you have a sliding keyboard.

If Nokia was keen enough to have a slider in two ways, it would even be so much more cooler if there was a three-way slider or if the regular phone keyboard could be replaced with a small keyboard similar to the one you use on a pc. If they aim to be the leading mobile multimedia device, they need to let go of the old mobile phone functionality and approach pc users with an environment they are more familiar with.

Closing remarks are the items I already mentioned in my first review:

  • Have the phone remember the location of the images, it saves about 4 clicks I think, per image (+ moving the cursor to the right link every time). The images are stored on a micro SD card, so navigating to that time and again… that’s just way too hard.
  • Need more battery power, for real
  • Have the phone remember password settings in the browser. If you have a strong password like $TR0ngPaSSw0rd!, typing it again and again every time your wireless connection drops… Awch
  • Need more battery power, for real

Useful links:

* Full phone specs
* Nseries product site


Polar Foundation

24 Jun 2007

The Air Agency (from Belgium) launched a campaign to create awareness around an initiative from the Belgian polar station on the South Pole. Princess Elisabeth, the base, and the scientific research that will be conducted there need some extra funding. The research should contribute to a better understanding of the climate changes which should lead to some guidance rules to combat the greenhouse effect our planet is experiencing.The ‘Zéro Emission’ base camp, which will use “clean” energy, will become an important symbol for this Belgian initiative. The campaign to promote this used “Boomerang Cards” as a medium. These are free postal cards that are being distributed in cafes, restaurants and places where people meet or go out. The cards are put in displays and this free service is quite a success amongst students and teens.

Polar 1

Polar 2

Polar 3

Polar 4

Copy: “Total Sales, End Of Season, -30%”
(the back of the postcard is explained in the text above)

Agency: Air
Account: Tom Van De Putte
Creative Directors: Eric Hollander, Michel Van Dyck
Copy: Pierre Coddens
Art Director: Lionel Becker
Photographer: Alain Hubert
Media: Boomerang


La Soupe

13 Jun 2007

Antwerp Agency ‘10′ came up with a few funny visuals for their client ‘La Soupe’. Althought the one with the onion soup isn’t all that clear (took me a little longer to see the tears), the one with the fish soup is just plain brilliant, and yes if you look at the tomato soup, you’ll see it comes close to things that have been done before… but I like these. And those little bubbles in the fish soup are simply cute.

LaSoupe - Tomato

LaSoupe - Onion

LaSoupe - Fish

Client: La Soupe
Agency: 10 advertising
Creation: Heidi Van Damme, Sébastien Van Reet
Photographer: Heikke Verdurme
Retouching: The Living Room
Media: POS


The Cialis Pitch

08 Jun 2007

Of all the spam email and spam comments I’ve received so far, I have to say Cialis is one of the most frequent products I can get for a serious discount and with 100% certain results. Obviously, the spam is going straight to the recycle bin, and I’m apparently not the only one who recycles these announcements. National Banana, for example, a creative studio and new online comedy network, came up with the one thing this product has never had. An online commercial that applauds the benefits of this wonder drug. Starring Cuba Gooding Jr., a must see.

:) video link


Pop Rocks

04 Jun 2007

OMG. Really. This is ummm… waaaaay beyond whatever an agency would propose for a brand. But it’s out there. And it’s ummm way beyond what you would think is acceptable. This is just passed the border of “hell yeah let’s launch this”. The creative director that approved this must have been on drugs (or porn) OR when it’s consumer generated, congrats for the cast. Really. I’m speechless. What was it again? Sex sells? Yeah that must be it. => NSFW !

Video link


Boondoggie Style

03 Jun 2007

A year and a half ago, in January, I started working for an ad agency in Belgium. Not just any agency, but one of the best there was. At that time, and still today, i-merge was a prestigeous house of advertising. The logos where pinkish and the people were kind and ambitious. I had great fun there. I learned a lot. I met so many nice people and made a quite a few friends. With a little tear in the eye I left the adland for Microsoft in December, after almost a year of jolly good fun. It was a bit weird when I found an email in my mailbox that said that i-merge has changed his name. It’s not so common for an ad agency to change names. But here they are, totally rebranded and ready to kick ass. The Boondoggle way.

I think my former colleague Tom De Bruyne, who has moved to Amsterdam to open up the new and 4th agency satellite, has been walking around in the red light district a little too much. It might be me, but I mistyped the name twice already and turned it into “Boobdoggle”. Tom… do something with it. Freud is your friend.

The i-wisdom blog, i-merge’s blahblah zone, has been rebranded too and shall be called “Boonbloggle

< begin promotional rant >
For your advertising goodies in Ireland, China, Belgium or The Netherlands, contact the wicked minds of Boondoggle!
< /end promotional rant >


CoughCough Teuheuh

01 Jun 2007

Are you one of those people who’s been thinking about quitting smoking tomorrow or the after for the past 5 years? Here’s a pretty cool way to do so, by sending your typical smoker’s death rattle to some of your friends. This distuingished DIY website lets you create your favorite way of coughing, adds an official “I’m off the hook, this time it’s for real” note to it, and makes you look ridiculous with your friends should you fail again. Who’s up for a challenge? Oh, by the way, non-smokers can send it to their smoking friends too. The site is in Dutch, but here’s a quick run-through, after all, a cough says more than a 1000 emails and it’s pretty universal.

Follow the link, go to the site, select left if you are a smoker, right if you’re not. Create your dirty little rattle, and send it to some friends. (lowest button below the sliders).

As for the send to friend page:

First line: your name + your email
Second line: friend’s name + friend’s email
Text box: your blabla :)


Check out the site
Agency: Ogilvy (Belgium)