Advertising Week 2013

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Advertising Week 2013
World’s premier annual gathering of marketing and communications leaders each year in New York City.

Advertising today is like the air we breathe; it’s everywhere! But, what is advertising, after all? Well, for sure it’s something profitable… and enjoyable! More than this, advertising goes together well with consumerism. Today, consumerism is an essential part of the way economy functions; moreover, it is a fundamental part of our everyday lives. Advertising came to strengthen and further promote these new realities that constitute a large part of our modern lives. You might know what they say: the best minds of our generation are working on advertising! It might sound like an exaggeration, but it certainly holds some truth; it can easily be proven after all if one decides to spend some time in front of his or her TV and catch up with some of the latest ads. Nowadays, some of them even look like short movies.

Maybe you have heard of Mad Men, one of the most discussed about TV-series of the last years. It tells the story of the pioneers of advertising back in the sixties. The whole world was changing at that time and a bunch of (m) ad men in New York were there to grasp it! Watch it if you want to have an insight on the fabulous world of advertising, as I’m sure that most of the participants of Advertising Week 2013 have already done so!

The 10th annual Advertising Week took place in New York and gathered no less than 90.000 (!) people. Almost 200 scheduled sessions were held in what it is to be considered a unique event throughout the whole year for all of those mad men out there! The main issue to be explored in these types of events is usually the same and it goes like this: what is the future of advertising? For sure, there is no one that can predict the future, but, on the other hand, everyone has his or her own ideas to share and this is what it is all about, after all.

With so many presentations and panels (the total number of speakers was 798!) it is easy to assume that a wide variety of issues were discussed. The small presence of women in the top ranks of the industry was one issue that drew much attention and in my opinion for a good reason. Speaking for myself, living in the year 2013, I would have expected that we would have managed much more in terms of equality between genders.

Moreover, CBS informed us that they are willing to focus more on video on demand services. CBS will offer 21 series on video demand this year, 8 more than the previous year. Given the fact that audiences tend to enjoy watching their favorite shows when they want and not when they’re supposed to, CBS’s particular plans make perfect sense.

The extent of the constant changing landscape of advertising was also thoroughly explored. Nowadays, to choose on which platform to run an ad can be a very much complicated decision: it led one panelist to express his nostalgia for the days when he only had to run a print ad and a radio spot!

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Mascots of all our favorite products parade to Madison Avenue.
Advertising Week 10 in New York, September 23, 2013

A fun event that accompanied the festival for yet one more year was the parade to Madison Avenue of brand characters. Sitting comfortably on their mini coopers (check on a mini cooper review to see why this is the case if you don’t believe the mascots!), familiar mascots of all our favorite products reminded us that advertising can be fun and creative. What is more, the results for the members of the Madison Avenue Walk of Fame (where consumers vote for their all time favorite brand characters and slogans) gave us the following results: StubHub Ticket Oak and the Most Interesting Man in the World along with the Nike’s famous slogan “Just Do it” and PlayStation’s “Live in your World, Play in Ours” are now officially people’s favorites!

Overall, it would take many thousands of words to summarize what has been discussed about at this prestigious event. The point is that the sky is the limit! (as always with advertising!). Since technology brings changes, many ads are now being redirected towards the vast landscape of the World Wide Web. In the given context, entrepreneurship must become the second nature for every person that wants to make it big in the world of advertising. On the other hand, remembering again the Mad Men, this must have always been the case.

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MINI’s Vision Is Not so… Mini!

To have a vision means to look towards the future and picture it in a way that others cannot imagine. The future is always unwritten, but that doesn’t mean that it will stop some people from trying to imagine it, to capture it in the grasp of their imagination and to try to make it a better place for all of us. Martin Luther King had a vision, for instance. His words are legendary: “I have a dream!”. Unfortunately, he didn’t live enough to witness his dreams and visions coming true. Leaders of the world ought to have a vision as well; especially in these times of uncertainty we live in since the dawn of the economic crisis. Do they really have? Well, that is certainly a matter of debate!

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Having a Vision involves being optimistic & creative.

Having a vision also involves being optimistic and creative, opposite to envisioning dystopias and disaster. The easiest thing to “predict” for the future is potential ecological disasters or other terrible things about the world we live in. And unfortunately, many people are often tempted by apocalyptic prophecies and gloomy images of an uncertain future. Just take a look on how many movies about the end of the world have been made in the last years! Too many for my taste, might I add!

The hard thing is to envision a future that will make our lives better, as it would also involve much more input of energy and good will into building it and making it happen. And just like some great historical figures managed to envision positive changes, whether these changes happened or not, there are also some others that struggle hard to make our lives better in a more modest, still important, way. Take the designers of the MINI for example; their MINI Vision that was recently presented to the world brings an image of an enjoyable and playful future to us.

Personalization is the key. The MINI Vision will offer the Driving Experience Control which will turn your MINI into a personal object of desire. The driver will have the chance to change the colors and the atmosphere of the car by simply pressing a button! Don’t tell me that you don’t remember that there was a time when we dreamt of these to happen! Pressing a button and turning everything the way you like it… Well, apparently this time has finally come and today you can simply make it happen!

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The MINI Vision

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If you can’t wait till MINI introduces its vision of the future of cars, there is always a MINI Cooper for sale now that will satisfy your needs and desires as you will keep an eye open towards the very near future. The future is almost here and now: a car’s interior to change at a press of a button! In the MINI Vision in particular, colors can be changed immediately depending on your mood and only. A special feature would be the “MINI Disco” floor, by the use of which you will be able to change the colors, light and forms around you. What is more, you will have the option to “play” with the car’s central display: you can choose between the classic analogue style and a futuristic 3D look. However, something tells me that most of us would have gone for the latter option, after all! Is there anyone actually that isn’t looking forward towards a 3D future? Just think of the movies; there is no going back from the revolution of the 3D, right!?

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The presentation of the MINI Vision was in the form of a virtual 3D hologramme, enhancing in this way the expectations of a MINI that incorporates 3D technology. The MINI vision is certainly stands for a new identity for the car: a more and more personalized car, as a prolongation of your own self. Individuality matters not only on the way we decorate our houses and choose to dress ourselves. It matters on anything we wish to own and more or less anything we feel attached to or connected with. Till now it was quite easy to choose the color of our car; these days will be over soon, as the new generation of cars such as the MINI Vision might take us, at last, to a reality where our own cars will be that place with a disco floor and a kaleidoscope of colors, in the shades or our own dreams.

In other words, prepare yourself for the drive of your life! Each mile will bring you joy!

Keep Calm and Hit the East Coast!

Summer Pleasures

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The summer is here at last. What matters for most us during these hot days is to find ourselves somewhere close to the sea – any sea! – or to look towards the ocean and to let ourselves free of all worries and concerns… even if it is only for a little while. Let’s face it: we are all so similar in our aim and target of being by the sea or by the ocean! Summer holidays may mean different things for each one of us, as for some summer holidays might be more important or significant than for others.

So many of us think of summer holidays in terms of lying peacefully under the hot sun, taking a dive once in a while, and also enjoying the refreshing drinks under the umbrellas! We like to swim a little bit, stare at all those beauties that are fully exposed around us – whether it is women in bikinis or the natural picturesque landscape. Others like to hit the beach bar that offers tequila shots and house music… loud music! Some like to read by the beach and others tend to become little children again by building little sandy castles on the shore along with their children.

But then again, are we all of us only relaxing and relaxed only when we go holidaying by the sea or the ocean? Well, maybe not all of us like to have it lazy and there might be some among us – summer fans – who cannot simply stop being dynamic and like to have fun in a more sporty manner. That’s why we have water sports! And by water sports I don’t necessarily mean only two racquets or one ball. By water sports I mean a number of totally different things: Jet Ski, water ski, sea biking, kitesurfing and of course, what else? Surfing itself!

To surf is to…

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… to be and to become! As it concerns “to be”, surfing is certainly a way of life, it is one might actually call lifestyle. And ‘to become’ means that one needs to make it as a surfer, which is not the easiest thing to do! To surf is to balance on the waves, to find your way to deal with the sea and its sometimes unpredictable ways… It takes a certain amount of energy, as you constantly have to try to do your best! I admit, I’m not the best man for the job, but some claim that this shouldn’t stop me – or you, or anyone else from trying! Surfing is cool, one might say… as it is all about keeping yourself cool and in good balance under the hot waves of sunshine.

Channel Islands 2013 East Coast Tour

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A fascinating event for surfers and all the fans of this sport takes place as we speak in the U.S.. Channel Islands, a prestigious surf boards manufacturer, organizes a tour along the West and East Coast of the U.S. where surfers can gather and together celebrate their passion for the sea and the sport. MINI is a proud sponsor of the East Coast Tour 2013 but this is does not come at all as a surprise. MINI has engaged itself into sport events over the years; it has a partnership with Burton snowboards and had been sponsoring all of their important events.

During the East Coast Tour MINI will also present its brand new MINIVan which is a MINI… still, it is a bit larger than usual. The MINI ClubVan is designed primarily for the commercial sector trying to bring some style in running the businesses, aiming to make a difference by simply adding on that cool and urban attitude that so many of us identify with. Instead of a car with no character, MINI invented the Van with the strong urban character to stand for the spirit that some of us might identify with. A cool thing to do, one might argue!

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Moreover, during the surfing festivities, MINI will try to convince the surfers on how useful the car can be for their purposes as well. The cars will be equipped with a surfboard roof rack for everyone who wishes to make an impressive entry to the beach along with his MINI and his/her favorite surf board of course! The East Coast Tour 2013 started at the 1st of June in Deerfield Beach, Florida and it will take place in seventeen different locations across the coast up until mid August.

So… the question remains: “to surf or not to surf”!? My answer would be “to surf” and not forget about the most important detail: to stay cool and have fun. Keep calm and surf on! In the end, it’s all about the balance and the attitude! Enjoy!

The MINI Life Ball Series

Life Ball, Vienna

What is it that matters most of all things in our lives? This is actually a question with as many answers as courageous people daring to take it as a challenge.  That because what makes the difference in our lives is doing things, is making things happen, acting for a good cause or in a positive direction. We spend our lives doing – or at least trying to do – what’s best for us and for all those persons who matter the most in our lives , such as family, friends etc. This is only natural and fair enough, one might argue.  However, it is precisely when we do something about and act in the direction of helping other peer humans – people we have never met personally and whose names we do not know, but who find themselves in deep trouble – that we, humans can be proud of our actions. This is the reason why charity matters; charity is about empathy and about making a point about the fact that we are not alone in this world.

Vienna’s Life Ball AIDS charity

The Life Ball is the biggest annual charity event in Europe in support of people with HIV or AIDS and it is also one of the world’s biggest charity events in general. It takes place in Vienna since 1993 and it is organized by the nonprofit organization AIDS LIFE, which was founded a year earlier. It is a big event that attracts much attention also due to the fact that many celebrities usually attend this charity event. Personalities such as Liza Minnelli, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Sharon Stone, and Heidi Klum among others have been attending this event over the years.  This year, notable people like the former President of the U.S. Bill Clinton, Sir Elton John, the Hollywood actors Hilary Swank and Melanie Griffith, Fergie and Barbara Eden among others showed up at the Life Ball.

Naomi Campbell, Life Ball Vienna

Linda Evangelista – Life Ball

Elton John, Life Ball Vienna

The event opens each time with a big concert and includes a variety of fashion shows and fancy events that aim to also raise funds (aside from awareness) for an issue of public importance such as the fight against HIV and AIDS. It might be true that we have managed to decrease sufficiently the victims of this horrible disease in the West, even without discovering the cure for AIDS, but elsewhere, such as in Africa, AIDS continues to be a huge threat. The number of HIV deaths in the developing world is totally disheartening. I personally hope that things will only get better in the near future…

One of Life Ball’s most prestigious shows is the fashion show, which is organized each year by a different acclaimed fashion designer. This year, it was Roberto Cavalli’s turn to present to the world his talent and part of his responsibilities was to recreate a MINI, as it happens each year. MINI has long been an official sponsor of the Life Ball charity event and this year it presented a unique MINI Paceman as Cavalli himself envisioned it! The result was… a piece of gold! Cavalli decorated the MINI with gold elements inside and out in what came to be a shining and extravagant MINI Paceman… your MINI Paceman might not end up being decorated with gold but still, it is quite hard to resist to its charms and qualities…

Life Ball 2013, MINI Paceman

Roberto und Eva Cavalli

There are thirteen special edition MINI models that have been created so far and this contributed with more than half a million Euros for funding the fight against the terrible disease.  As a matter of fact, Roberto Cavalli’s golden version of the MINI Paceman broke all records: it was auctioned for 150.000 Euros, which will, of course, be donated to support the fight against AIDS. During the previous years, designers such as Donatella Versace, Gianfranco Ferre, Testino, Franca Sozzani, the creative team of DSQUARED and Agent Provocateur (among others) have tried their best in presenting a unique and highly imaginative MINI car.

Mini designed by Katy Perry

My personal favorite is still the 2009 MINI Cabrio created by The Blonds, one of Hollywood’s fashion favorites. The design was inspired by Kate Perry herself, according to the creative team. I guess that any fashionista that respects herself/himself , but also the rather bitter issues concerning the world around us, would have been proud of such a MINI.  I wonder what next year’s edition will bring!

Weird Themed Hotels around the World

You might find them either high on the creative vibe or just slightly weird. However, these are just a few memorable hotel rooms that you might find yourself lodged in when going all around the world. Enjoy!

Theoretically speaking, when you decide to travel and you search for accommodation, you are basically searching for a room which will cover your basic needs: a bed, a television set, a mini-bar, air-conditioning, a private bathroom, some free Wi-Fi and maybe a small balcony with a view towards something that it is not too depressing – and I mention this as once, when traveling to Transylvania, I got a room with a view precisely towards a cemetery! I am not sure if the view was part of a themed room intention, but anyway … The aforementioned are usually the essentials. When traveling for business and not for leisure, it might come only natural not to care about the color of the sheets or what kind of paintings are hanging on the wall.  Ok… sometimes the view is vital, as I explained before. And if you visit Venice, you simply need and want to admire the floating city of such a noble and long-standing history. Or, if you find yourself in a tiny Greek island, you might feel the urge to stare at the Aegean Sea every afternoon for hours!

However, how many of us can tell a story about them staying in a… chocolate room or in a room that is filled in with… mathematical equations!? Well, I personally don’t know anyone who stayed in such an extravagant hotel room but, nevertheless, there are many options for those who wish to stay in a place that they will remember for long… Here are a few thematic hotel rooms around the world that I hope will manage to dazzle you, not to mention to tempt you!

Godiva Chocolate Room

I mentioned chocolate earlier, didn’t I? Well, in New York – that marvelous city that never sleeps and where anything can take place – chocolate is in its right proper place, as there is the Godiva Chocolate Suite awaiting. Chocolate walls and paintings await for those lucky ones who will have a great chance to see their choco-dreams come true. Chocolate walls forever! Mind your … bites in order for the next visitors to find something left there as well!

Ice Hotel

Most people like it hot, but what about those who might crave for something freezing cold? Obviously, they are heading to the Swedish town of Jukkasjarvi, where an ice hotel a

waits the ones eager for unusual, frozen experiences.

MIT@Hotel

The knowledge seekers, geeks and nerds will definitely feel comfortable at the Hotel@MIT. This is a technology themed hotel with walls that reveal the secrets of science and bedspreads that are simply full of mathematical equations. Recommended for aspiring PhD students! They won’t waste any minute on useless bookings and they will gain a whole lot of knowledge in their travels!

MINI Cooper Hotel

If you decide to travel by car instead of catching a plane, then I have an ideal stop for you. In Helsinki, the capital of Finland, you can spend the night in a hotel inspired by the European youth’s favorite car: MINI. The room is filled with MINI merchandise in a way that it might as well inspire you to search for a MINI Cooper for sale now instead of later … in case you didn’t drive to Helsinki with your MINI that is!

The Beatles Hotel

For music and pop culture lovers there is nothing that beats the Hard Day’s Night Hotel in Liverpool, which pays tribute to no other than The Beatles! I have to warn you that you might find yourself facing a tough dilemma after you’ll walk in the hotel’s lobby: would you choose the Lennon Suite or the McCartney one? I personally love both!

Mirror-cube Tree Hotel

Do you love nature? I bet you do. Then how about spending a night in a “sanctuary among the trees”? It is called the “Mirrorcube” and it is a transparent cube “planted” among trees deep inside in Scandinavian forests. Ecological and fancy, this is an option for design lovers and fans of alternative eco solutions as well.

MINI KAPOOOW!

When creativity meets fun

Art makes our lives better. Ask a psychiatrist or your friend, ask an academic or the guy from the supermarket; all of them will give you the same answer: art treats the soul! One doesn’t need to be an expert to appreciate or appropriate art. Art is being perceived as a harmonious creation by intuition, instinct, and by heart. However, it wouldn’t really hurt to open a book and learn more about the history of art. It would actually increase the amount of satisfaction and pleasure  derived from the encounter with the story and development of art and its influence on human history.

As for contemporary art in particular, I do understand that it occasionally makes people … anxious. It seems  at times to be far too complex or pretentious for many… Even if I can recognize the fact that an argument like this holds a certain amount of truth, as I have found myself staring awkwardly at the walls of several galleries sometimes trying to make sense of what had been pompously displayed. However, I strongly believe that contemporary art can also generate genuine excitement. In order to convince you, I will invite you to take a look at an event that took place only last week in Milan, Italy. Even if the event was not an art exhibition per se, but rather a fiesta of cutting edge design, it does look quite interesting and very arty.

Salone del Mobile 2013 – Milano

MINI at the Salone del Mobile 2013

It was there, in the Salone del Mobile2013 (a prestigious international exhibition of design)  that the most original MINI ever created was displayed for the public eye to gaze upon, explore, admire and be stunned! The MINI KAPOOOW! This most original MINI has been created by the MINI Design Team led by Anders Warming. Its impressive design brought a new insight on how a MINI can possibly look like. The installation invites the visitor to take a thorough look at a multidimensional MINI Paceman – the famous brand’s latest model. Before you start searching for new car deals from MINI, craving badly for the MINI Paceman, let’s see together why this particular installation will make you thrilled, awaking your senses and the crave for driving a brand new urban car.

First of all, the MINI KAPOOOW is as pop as it gets, as even the name suggests. To be more precise, the whole idea of its concept brings in mind both a pop concept along with the aesthetics of graphic novels narrating the tales of super heroes.

The general idea behind the concept was that MINI cars generate emotions. In other words, that MINI is a product with a character of its own, a car able to break the norms. As its advertising campaign puts it, MINI is NOT NORMAL.

The creators of the installation presented a MINI of two worlds. In the first side of the displayed installation, you see the back side of the car with its components seemingly flying away from or gravitating around the vehicle, as a mere symbol of the car’s metamorphosis, which takes place on the other side of the wall that separates the hybrid Mini. At the same time, the car is “connected” with the people pictured on a wall – and they all seem so enthusiastic about it! No wonder!

MINI Paceman

In the second part of the installation, the MINI Paceman is completely transformed. By passing through a wall, it seems that MINI acquires a totally different character. Most of its surface area is covered by paper and colored tabs which are indicating the prototype of every creative process.  Furthermore, iconic MINI models ,as well as famous personalities of the art world are mentioned on these tabs, creating a ‘wall of fame’ for everyone to admire and enjoy!

The installation brings in mind nothing of the extravaganza of contemporary art, despite being perfectly integrated in this realm. This MINI installation is simply creative design at its best!  And, if it is to think of a brand that invites creative design like no other, then that certainly is the mini cooper. Worshiped back in the 1960s, MINI is still considered the epitome of cool for many young drivers across the globe.  Even though the MINI I presented earlier is not exactly… drivable, it certainly adds something to the myth… and it certainly inflicts the urge for driving!