The Compulsory Best of 2011 List


Co.Create’s best ads (and we really should call them ads) of 2011, featuring a snowboarding movie, a cardboard package and an initiative to get you to buy less stuff.

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Punchdrunk Messes With Your Head, Now Your Life


If you’ve seen Sleep No More, you are familiar with Punchdrunk’s brand of interactive theater, which mixes elements of installation art, dance, cinema and gaming. I spoke with Punchdrunk’s artistic director Felix Barrett about the company’s expanding creative mandate and projects, including Punchdrunk Travel, that will further meld theater and real life. Read more here.
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Behind Danny MacAskill’s “Industrial Revolutions”

What makes street trials rider Danny MacAskill’s videos so gasp-inducing is, of course, Danny MacAskill. But there are some tricks behind the camera, too. Stu Thomson, an old friend of “Mad Skills” and a rider himself directed the latest showcase of velo virtuosity, “Industrial Revolutions.” Thomson shared with me some of what goes into making the videos, including the small fact that MacAskill tries some of the tricks up to 100 times, while some of the most belief-beggaring sequences he finds “easy.” Read more here.

Chris Milk at CAT London

Chris Milk is the talented director behind the Johnny Cash Project and the Arcade Fire interactive video, The Wilderness Downtown. He worked on both projects with Google’s Aaron Koblin and a cast of other digital talents. Milk appeared at CAT (Creativity and Technology), an event that I program that takes place in New York and London. His talk, done in fireside chat format, was one of the highlights of the conference.

I loved his comments about how nothing compares to music and smells when it comes to evoking emotion, and how he tried to bring the emotional power of music to the music video form (which, in my opinion, he succeeded in doing with Wilderness).  He also had some interesting things to say about his next transmedia project, among many other things. Ignore my tics and listen to him.

TED recognizes Ads Worth Spreading

The people behind the TED conferences and TED Talks launched a new initiative this year, Ads Worth Spreading, designed to recognize excellence in brand creativity and (I think) to get the brand world more involved in the TED discussion.

I was lucky enough to be asked to judge the first Ads Worth Spreading contest and to attend TED – a first for me. I wrote about the Ads Worth Spreading winners on Creativity.

As for the TED event itself, needless to say it was fairly inspiring. About 90 percent of the speakers that I saw were jaw-droppingly good. Leaving aside the content of the talks for now (I’ll post some of my favorite TED talks when they’re live), as someone who programs events, I’m amazed at just how good everyone was at the presenting part. I know it’s part of the TED cache but to see it firsthand is quite something. It’s hard to find people who are truly interesting and accomplished and harder still to find people who are interesting and accomplished and can convey some of their genius to a large, demanding audience. Excellence in curation, briefing, training and perhaps scaring any nonsense out of speakers beforehand.

Creativity’s Agency of the year

Unbelievably, Creativity and Ad Age have never picked the same shop for our respective Agency of the Year honors. Until 2010. Wieden + Kennedy Portland made (a kind of) history with the dual nod.

Read my Agency of the year piece on Creativity. While you’re there, read up on the other honorees, Droga5, Dare London, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, TBWA\Chiat\Day L.A., RKCR/Y&R London, Agencytwofifteen, Forsman & Bodenfors Sweden, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Pereira & O’Dell, Mother New York, Johannes Leonardo and Y&R New York.