27 Green branding thoughts

“Paper or plastic?” you get asked when finishing up at the grocery store. It’s a question that gets asked because people are attempting to stay environmentally conscious in today’s fast paced style of living. In 2006, when Al Gore began his ecological campaign and created An Inconvenient Truth, he opened the eyes of many Americans to a land with fewer gold paved roads than there were in the 20th century. However, companies around the world are cognitive of that and are attempting to rectify it. Effectively, Al Gore turned “going green” into an epidemic.

This movement consists of emotional attachment to brands (names, products, philosophies, strategies etc.) and their connection to this finite world that we live in. Social interaction between everyone on this earth plays a huge impact on the life of “green.” People love to talk about what they know; it’s human nature. Also, diverse cultures around the world influence people in a different way that often opens new doors leading to more “green” ideas. There are many things that keep the sustainability train chugging along; these are three that have a pretty big influence.

Emotional attachment is everything in the world of brands. People like name brands. Preferring Nike to any other athletic line of clothing is natural because they are the masters of the sports world. Nike took their company to the next level time and time again by creating different branches: Nike Golf, Nike Soccer, and Nike Basketball to name a few. As an international powerhouse, Nike deemed themselves responsible to keep sports alive for the future. They created Nike BetterWorld, a branch of Nike that focuses on sustainability through sports*. People at Nike thought, “making shoes for athletes across the world is a big undertaking, how can we reduce needless weight, bulk and waste? Use only what is necessary?” A good question for a company trying to make an impression on the world. As the company grew, Nike gained experience in the realm of all sports. They began focusing on supply chains that can deliver their products to consumers more responsibly, energy consumption in the manufacturing of shoes and clothes, and ways to recycle materials. With all of this experience, Nike realized that they were demanding a lot from the globe’s natural resources. It made them consider the impact they had on the world, communities and athletes. When attention is paid to matters like these in companies, people begin to notice. It builds up a level of trust for the consumer and opens up the consumer’s mind to what a company has to offer.

For any company, reaching this point of sincerity with consumers creates a whole new world of advertising, and it’s free. Communication is what makes human beings unique. Nike has built a literal world of communication. Everyone knows the brand name Nike, and they love to talk about it. When Nike comes out with a new product, a new line, or a new department, the world knows about it. That is because of the promise that Nike made to themselves and the rest of us to remain responsible for protecting the future of sports. And when a company has billions of people talking about it, it’s free advertising. So the lesson to learn from companies like Nike BetterWorld is holding yourself responsible for what you do will attract attention.

Doing business internationally requires a different set of skills. What companies like Nike have working for it is that sport is a universal language. But for other companies like The Zollverein School of Management and Design in Essen, Germany, innovative green thinking is their forte. For instance, they recently issued a $200,000 grant to two brothers in Germany to build a 2,045 square foot house made entirely out of paper. This sort of thinking is the kind that will keep the world healthy. Obviously, there are impracticalities to a house built entirely out of paper. But the idea behind it, the brainpower behind it, is what grabs the attention of the world. And with green strategies like this being implemented, companies begin to attract followers for a lifetime.

When companies, agencies, or just two brothers from Germany begin to think about the emotional effect their ideas have on the world, the world begins to listen. And with all of the bad advertising there exists, ideas and strategies like these are a breath of fresh air, so take notes.

*Search “Nike BetterWorld – History featuring Phil Knight” on YouTube for additional insight.



26 Back at it

Ducks given the third degree for smoking pot/rain in Eugene during the SPRING TIME. What else is new?

The article came out yesterday on ESPN.com and blew up my news feed like Michael Bay blows up…well, everything. Everyone I had talked to yesterday read the article. When something–anything–becomes public news regarding the Nike Ducks (Oregon Ducks), a special bond is formed on campus among the student body in Eugene.

When role model (not to me, but let’s be honest, he made plays) Cliff Harris is feeding students with golden ammunition by saying things like, “We smoked it all,” it gets people talking–better yet, reminiscing. Despite his bonehead actions off of the field, Harris will always be remembered here for two things:

Punt returns and pick 6’s (respectively).

Among many former Ducks featured in this article was first-team All-Pac10 running back Reuben Droughns. Droughns (ranking sixth on Oregon’s all-time rushing list with 2,058 yards) was quoted in the article saying, “It’s the weed capital of the world. Long dreads. Girls with hairy armpits. Where there’s hippies, there’s weed.” He noticed this same phenomenon back in 1998-1999 when he was fully submersed in the Eugene lifestyle.

It’s a combination of things really that keep this illegal tradition alive. The geographic location, the demographics, the fact that it rains more than half of the year, the college town atmosphere and the history of the city all create the perfect storm for that kid choosing to get high in his family room in front of his TV. Or anyone for that matter.

The article ends with a quote from an anonymous player on the team saying, “Some of us smoke,” he says, “and then we [go] out and [win] the Rose Bowl,” proving the point that all the players mentioned in this article are trying to make.

Go Ducks.

25 my first professional dot

“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” -Steve Jobs, Palo Alto, CA, 2005

Without further ado, my website:



24 Best of: Commercial advertisements

I was shocked when I first saw this commercial on television. I thought it was so funny I remember searching for it right after I first saw it. Adweek posted a list of the 10 Funniest Commercials of All Time. TBWA/Chiat/Day came up with this spot and absolutely nailed it. Jack Ferver absolutely killed his performance as the berries-and-cream loving lad.

In a post done by Eric Page at the University of Iowa, he quotes another source on ads:

“Ads are a reflection of our culture,” says Dave Collins, who specializes in marketing. “The process of developing an ad is taking a marketing idea and encoding it with symbols that fit into the context of that culture.”

I think that is so true of advertisements nowadays. What our culture deems funny and “odd” will make it in advertising. The term “oddvertising” has often been interchanged with advertising. Although I couldn’t get one specific definition of the word, it seems to be used in today’s commercial advertising world quite often. In the same post by Eric Page, this image was at the top:

which I think sums up “oddvertising” quite well (designed by John Paul Schafer). People like weird.

23 my creative toolbox

Here is a list of the first 10 tools that I use in one way or another every day for my creativity game:







































pause for the greatest basketball player of all time

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan

And for one of the greatest photographers of all time.

22 Visualizing Data

My next Gateway project is a data visualization infographic, due on SOJC Sunday (a term I’ve recently coined). Mark Blaine said something about watching the first few minutes of this video, but we ended up watching all 18. I was extremely happy we did though because it provided me with inspiration for a future project in the class, which I haven’t had lately. David Mccandless has a peculiar knack for visualizing data.

For my project, I’m thinking of breaking down how much it costs for a student who comes from the great state of California (I know it’s a lot). But how much does it cost me to miss an hour of class? How much does it cost if I sleep in too late for my human phys. class at 8AM and show up two minutes late? We’ll soon find out.

The final product:


21 Jobs speaks at Stanford

Steve Jobs tells the 2005 graduating class at Stanford three stories.

1 “So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma…whatever, because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you down the well worn path, and that will make all the difference.”

2 “The heaviness of being successful was being replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods in my life.”

*Long story short, he started Pixar after he left Apple. And he got married. Then went back to Apple.

3 “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work, is to love what you do.”

4 “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I have ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything, all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure-these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking that you have something to lose.”

5 “Death is very likely the single most important invention of Life.”

The best part about all of this is coming back from the bathroom at 3:26AM and seeing that low glow of the white apple on the back of my screen. Rest in Paradise, Steve.

20 best of: funny people

I’ve always said laughter is the best medicine. It can brighten any moment at any point in time. These are some guys that have always made me laugh throughout my life.

Tracy Wong came and talked to our class last week and I was fully engaged in his presentation. He shared with us his 6 secrets to succeeding in the world of advertising. His slideshow presentation was filled with epic quotes and phrases that left me feeling inspired. I think there is something to be said for massive Helvetica typeface on a huge screen. The 6 secrets he shared were:

The biggest hurdle to being creative is your big, fat ego

2  99% of any great idea is strategy

3  Ears are your greatest creative weapon

4  The secret to success in advertising is to embrace compromise

5  Engaging in democracy garners the best work

6  Love your client like you love your dog

I have never had much of an ego, so that being number one on the list got me pretty excited. I never heard of ears as weapons either, and I have one that is bigger than the other, so that could potentially help me out down the road. But really, listening is a tool that everyone needs to refine throughout life, because we learn so much from what we hear. And America is run by a democracy, so…ya.

Tracy went through his presentation and showed us some of his earliest work. One that stood out to me was an advertisement he designed with his partner for K2 skiing. In two slides, he went from describing how he started the idea from a picture of a yellow piece of lined paper torn out from a notepad with maybe five words on it. The next slide displayed this:

So cool to see this transformation. Tracy, you provided me with inspiration, laughter and motivation to make work. You, along with those hilarious comedians, provide laughter in people’s lives. So important.