Thursday, August 27th
Fascinating and useful information from real experts.
Brandchannel describes itself as the worlds only online exchange about branding. Ive subscribed to their weekly update since October 2001. Its only an e-newsletter in the sense that its a regularly e-mailed communication containing news. The news in this case is represented by single sentences describing topics, accompanied by links to them on brandchannel.com. So Brandchannels weekly update doesnt really constitute a stand-alone newsletter that you can read in your inbox. Nevertheless, Im bending the rules calling today's post an e-newsletter recommendation because the content to which it links is almost always really informative and interesting, and brandchannel.com is a beautifully designed website.
Brandchannel.com is run by Interbrand, the internationally operating branding consultancy that has created some of the word's best-known brand identities. Interbrand is itself part of the giant Omnicom Group, which includes ad agencies BBDO, DDB and TBWA along with many specialized communications, PR and media firms. Their Dutch office used to be around the corner from us in the centre of Amsterdam on the Herengracht, but they moved out to Amstelveen a couple of years ago. Interbrand are also well known for the annual survey of the worlds top 100 brands they produce with Business Week. The 2009 - and 10th anniversary - edition will be published on September 21st, and full reports for the last nine years can be found on the Interbrand website.
As the child of a big name consultancy, you might imagine that Brandchannel would just be a vehicle to promote its parent. My experience has been that it more than lives up to its claim to editorial independence, providing an exceptionally useful, authoritative and objective resource and forum for anyone interested in branding. Content includes weekly feature articles on a wide variety of branding topics, interactive debates on controversial branding issues, profiles of unique brands, book reviews and white papers. Most topic areas are fully archived on the site and most sections are updated weekly.
To subscribe to Brandchannels weekly update, go to their website and click on the pulsating go register button. I think youll find the couple of minutes it will take you will have been very well invested.
Friday, August 21st
The beer part I can get. Why a sextet should call themselves a trio eludes me. Im sure theres a story behind it, but none of that matters now, because...
Trio Bier Rides Again!
Its been around 15 years since this legendary Dutch band released their debut, Verspilde Tranen (Wasted Tears, or perhaps Tears Down the Drain). In between there have been a number of others, together with a collection of farewell and comeback concerts to keep us on our toes.
As my relatively free translation of their own bio goes: A band that sings in Dutch, who perhaps began too soon, or just as likely stopped too early: Trio Bier! Theyve certainly been called the best kept secret of the Netherlands. Their farewell concerts yes, there have been a few have drawn fans from Limburg to the north of Noord Holland, and were played in sold-out venues from the Paradiso to the Kleine Komedie.
But blood will out and breeding will tell the wild young guns have been working on a big comeback! After years of uncertainty and some great Heintje Davids (a famous Dutch revue singer, just as famous for his own comebacks), the time has come for the resurrection of Trio Bier!"
Recorded after the same fashion as the basement tapes, the new CD De Droom Voorbij (The Dream is Over) could perhaps be subtitled the attic tapes, as it was recorded in an improvised studio under the roof of band member (and genuinely nice bloke) Rini Dobbelaars Amsterdam home. The twelve new songs which you can preview here have a wonderful rough-hewn quality. Singer Jan Eilander tells us that theyve not yet been mastered, but I hope once they are that they retain this quality. You can hear them live and judge for yourselves on Thursday 3rd September, upstairs at the Paradiso in Amsterdam. Highly recommended.
Friday, August 14th
Putting social networks to work: online animation collaboration
Aniboom, set up four years ago by Uri Shinar, the former president of a leading commercial broadcaster in Israel, is a website offering a collection of short animations, tools and competitions. Users submit animated movies, which are categorized on the site according to type and are evaluated by their peers. The animations can be e-mailed to a friend, posted to a blog or social network site.
Last month they partnered with the History Channel to give amateur and professional filmmakers the opportunity to have their animated take on a historical speech shown on television. They recruited a number of Hollywood actors to read some famous US speeches and writings, mostly promoting the US take on free speech and democracy. Between July 15th and September 2nd, competition entrants can download these recordings, together with pre-prepared background music tracks, and then create an animated short around them.
Five finalists will be chosen by a professional jury and announced in mid-September, and they will then have until November 4th to complete their final cut. The winner will receive a cash prize, a development deal, and have their entry screened on The History Channel, forming part of a two-hour special airing in December called The People Speak. Its aim is to inspire audiences to think about the importance of speaking out and participating in the democratic process.
The People Speak follows on from last years Live Music project, for which Aniboom created a fan page application for an outfit called Mass Animation on social networking site Facebook. Live Music is a five-minute animated short created by 52 people in 17 countries who collaborated to create it using the application. With backing from Sony Pictures and Intel, Mass Animation invited animation enthusiasts to compete and collaborate to create individual shots for the short.
Mass Animation provided Maya software, the story, soundtrack, and rendered the first scene to set the style and look. The Romeo and Juliet-inspired storyline centres on the star-crossed love between an electric guitar and a violin. The collaboration phase began in mid-November last year, and the animators had about two months to submit work that was voted on by the Facebook community. Live Music will have its theatrical premiere this coming November, when it will be shown along with TriStar Pictures' animated feature, Planet 51.