Foresters Insurance Challenges North Americans to Take Daily ‘Tech Timeout’

Forester's Tech Timeout Challenge

In a new year-long campaign launched February 5 ‘Tech Timeout‘, Life Insurance provider Foresters is challenging families (and I assume couples and individuals) to take a scheduled break from all electronic devices and spend time reconnecting with each other in more meaningful ways.

The campaign ad features people completely oblivious to other people and their surroundings, while distracted by their tech devices. The clips shows a man entering the wrong house, a girl runs into a light pole while texting, a wife pours steaming coffee into her husband’s lap, and a group of tennis players are oblivious to the game they are supposed to be playing.

The situations while outrageous, aren’t far from the truth. It’s behaviour that most of are either guilty of ourselves, or that we observe everyday.

In a press release to announce the campaign, George Mohacsi, Foresters’ President and CEO said, “Foresters purpose is to champion family well-being and we do that through quality life insurance, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities. We are always looking for innovative ways to help families spend time together and challenging them to ‘disconnect to reconnect’ is a simple way to turn our purpose into action.”

A recent Consumer Electronics Association study reported that the average US home has 24 different consumer media and communication devices, including multiple televisions, computers and smartphones and some believe the proliferation of these devices contributes to a sense of social isolation even when you’re in the same room with other people.

According to the Center for Digital Future, in 2008, 28 percent of people said that being wired has resulted in them spending less time with family members, a significant increase from the 11 percent reported in 2006.

In my opinion it’s like everything else, it’s about balance, and being aware that while technology can enable us to connect with like-minded people, friends and family on the other side of the world, it should not isolate ourselves from our relationships in the real world.

Whether you participate in Foresters’ challenge, do you think you could take a daily break from all technology devices?


Samsung UK Recruits 250 David Baileys to Promote NX Smart Camera

Samsung - David BaileySamsung is promoting that their NX smart cameras can turn anyone into a great photographer, maybe even as good as famed UK-photographer David Bailey.

To find out, Samsung are recruiting 250 people in the UK with the name David Bailey. They’ll be supplied with a Samsung NX smart camera, weekly assignments and special personal training from “the” David Bailey. The amateur David Baileys will capture photographs of their daily life to be used in the second phase of the campaign.

A few of the David Baileys have already begun posting examples of their photography.

The campaign was created by Cheil UK.



Tweet a Treat to Bill the Interactive Jubilee Corgi

Bill the Interactive CorgiIt’s well-known that Queen Elizabeth is a dog-lover, and her longtime breed of choice is of of course the corgi. The Queen’s father King George VI first introduced the corgi breed to the royal family in 1933, and (according to the family pets page of the official Monarchy website) today she owns three Corgis: Monty, Willow and Holly and three Dorgis (a Dachshund-Corgis mix): Candy, Cider and Vulcan.

To celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee visual effects company The Mill have created Bill the interactive corgi. They’ve created a temporary home for Bill on a digital screen installed in their windows at 40-41 Great Marlborough Street, London (if you happen to be in the neighbourhood).

You can send a ‘tweet-treat’ to Bill between May 28 and June 5 using the @themillcorgi profile and the hashtags #play #eat #chill or #party.

For every tweet sent, the Mill will donate 50p to the Battersea Dogs Home Trust (the Queen is a patron of the organization)


Swedish Armed Forces Thinks Literally ‘Inside the Box’ For Recruitment Experiment

Swedish Armed Forces - Who Cares?On social media, users have commonly expressed their support for or against causes through shares, tweets and status updates. The term Slactivism has been used to brand these low-involvement activities, and as you would expect, there is much debate on whether creating awareness through social media via status updates truly benefits the cause.

With this is mind, the Swedish Armed Forces was wondering how they could attract young people to an occupation where they would have to give up their real comforts in order to help other people. They staged a scenario to determine how far people were willing to go for one another. A volunteer was placed inside a locked box in central Stockholm, they would have to stay in the box until someone willingly replaced him. Each hour a door would open; if someone was at the door the person could leave, if not they had to stay there for however long it took for someone to arrive to replace them.

A camera inside the box streamed live video of the volunteer to a live banner on YouTube, the Swedish Armed Forces website and on digital signage in the area. During the 89 hours of the experiment, 70 people stepped forward to free someone that they had never met.

The campaign was widely discussed on social media and the website drew over 100,000 visitors in 4 days. The goal of getting 4300 applications for 1430 positions was surpassed when they received 93000 applications, more than double their original goal.

The campaign was created by DDB Stockholm.


Google Doodle Celebrates Famed French Photographer Robert Doisneau

Google Doodle April 14 Robert DoisneauThe creative folks at Google has created hundreds of their doodles over the past 14 years. The first time Google modified their logo was on August 30th, 1998 to commemorate the Burning Man festival.

Today’s Google doodle commemorate’s what would have been the 100th birthday of French photographer Robert Doisneau. Doisneau is best known for the 1950 photograph titled ‘Le baiser de l’hotel de ville‘ (Kiss by the Hotel de Ville), featuring a young couple kissing on a busy street in Paris. The photograph, which was first published in the June 12, 1950 issue of Life, came to be recognized as ‘the’ iconic image of the romance of Paris and has been featured on hundreds of posters and cards sold around the world.

The identity of the couple in the photograph remained a mystery until 1992, when Doisneau was taken to court by Jean and Denise Lavergne. Doisneau revealed that the couple were two aspiring actors, Françoise Delbart and Jacques Carteaud. He had seen the two kissing just a few moments earlier and asked them to recreate the scene at three locations; Place de la Concorde, the Rue de Rivoli and finally the Hôtel de Ville.

Françoise Delbart was given an signed and stamped original print of the photograph as part of her payment. She sold the print in 2005 for €155,000, after an unsuccessful attempt to sue Doisneau for a share of the photograph’s royalties.

The three other photographs in the Google doodle are Dog on Wheels(1977), The Tug Boat of the Champ de Mars, and Three Children(1971).

Doisneau passed away April 1, 1994 a few weeks shy of his 82nd birthday.

Peugeot Teams With YouTube Dubstep Sensation Marquese ‘Nonstop’ Scott

Let Your Body DriveInsanely talented dubstep dancer and YouTube sensation, Marquese ‘Nonstop’ Scott is featured in a new promotional video for Peugeot. It’s part of the French car company’s ‘Let Your Body Drive’ campaign, and was shot in one continuous take, with no visual effects nor re-planned choreography.

After just a few seconds you may forget it’s just a car ad and marvel Nonstop’s incredible moves and ability to simulate slow motion and quick cuts.

The video was created by INITIALS Marketing and social agency Rubber Republic.

You can check out more of Marquese’s moves on his YouTube channel.

Converse Brings Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000 Together for ‘DoYaThing’

Converse - Gorillaz, Andre 3000, James Murphy collaborate on 'DoYaThing'Back in February Converse released a Gorillaz-inspired collection of the iconic Chuck Taylor All-Stars. To celebrate the collection the sneaker-maker has brought together the Gorillaz with Andre 3000 and former LCD Soundsystem leader James Murphy to record ‘DoYaThing’ a track as part of their ‘Three Artists, One Song’ music series.

The Jamie Hewlett directed video is the best example yet of combining the animated bandmembers with real-life environments. In it we see 2D stumbling through the dilapitated house encountering a mysterious X-faced Andre 3000 (sweat collectors?) and his green-skinned bandmate Murdoc.

The free track can be downloaded now at the Converse website, or if you’d like to hear the extended 13 minute version check it out on the 107.7 TheEnd website.

The Guardian Exposes the Three Little Pigs in Open Journalism Promo

The Guardian - Open Journalism: Three Little PigsMy first exposure to the Three Little Pigs story was the Disney-ized version that was first released in 1933. In that version the wolf escapes at the end with nothing more than a scalded butt. For some reason I had never realized that in the original version has the Big bad Wolf being boiled alive after sneaking down the chimney.of the third little pig.

UK news organization The Guardian has re-imagined how the events of The Three Little Pigs fairy tale might be reported in 2012 using the concept of open journalism. From the gripping newspaper and website headline ‘Big Bad Wold Boiled Alive’, to the conversations and reactions being shared on social media sites.

The Guardian take the story beyond the ‘they lived happily ever after’ fairy tale ending into a story of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud due to the struggles of the pigs to make their mortgage payments. Then the people take to the streets…

You can read more about open journalism from The Guardian’s Editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger.

PodCamp Toronto 2012: 12 Tips and My Session Choices

A scene from Podcamp 2010, photo by EvaBlue

A scene from Podcamp 2010, photo by EvaBlue

The city of Toronto was spared an epic (10cm) snowstorm today, so weather is now officially off the list of excuses you can use for not attending Podcamp Toronto tomorrow. And staying home to figure out how to make millions using Pinterest is not going to work either. If you are heading out to Podcamp tomorrow here are a few of my tips.

My Podcamp TO Tips
1. Arrive early-ish, the registration tables open at 8:30
2. Plan your day in advance using the session schedule posted at the PodCamp Toronto site
3. Know the official hashtag, it’s #pcto2012
4. Why not leave the laptop at home? Unless you’re presenting, I really don’t need to see you playing Solitaire during a session
5. Do write your twitter name in large letters on your badge. Add flare or glitter is you have it. Seriously; go ahead and pimp that name tag out
6. Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself to your Twitter and Facebook friends in person. Capture the moment with an awkward photo
7. Make your lunch plans in advance – nothing sucks more than spending two thirds of your lunch break standing in line somewhere. Also, friends don’t let friends eat alone
8. Don’t friggin’ talk through the sessions. If you are not getting something out of the session you are in, use the ‘Law of Two Feet’, leave and find something else that interests you. Or create your own session (see next point)
9. Don’t complain that there are no sessions suited to your interests. Create your own session; find some folks, grab some floor and start a discussion (and invite me)
10. Make sure you thank your hard-working Podcamp Toronto organizers in person, this is what they look like.
11. Spruce up your social media profiles with an awesome picture taken by @photojunkie
12. Come out to the Saturday night social at The Ram. The conversation will get lively as the social juices get flowing.

Here is a list of the sessions I am most looking forward to. What sessions are you looking forward to?



1st Choice: Jumpstarting Digital from Inside the Belly of a Traditional Publisher: Andre Gaulin
2nd Choice: 6.5 million stories: how Canada’s largest museum is moving online: Mark Farmer


1st Choice: Multiple Channel Disorder: Brooke Robinson, Sarah Long
2nd Choice: The Bout to Knock the Other One Out: Search vs. Social: Steve Taylor, Danny Brown, Laurie Dillon-Schalk, David Jones, Daryl Peddle, Hessie Jones


1st Choice: Social Psychology of Social Media: Brian Cugelman
2nd Choice: Content may be KING… but without Context no one will pay attention: Josh Muirhead


1st Choice: How to Talk to Journalists: Pixels, airtime and ink: Saleem Khan
2nd Choice: The Evolution of Democracy: Richard Pietro


1st Choice: Sincerity is Everything: Kathy Buckworth, Adria MacKenzie, Theresa Albert, Sharon Vinderine, Eden Spodek
2nd Choice: The Great Canadian Latency: Julie Tyios, Hessie Jones


1st Choice: Track, Measure and Reward Social Sharing: The Gamechanger for the next 10 years: Jon Cogan
2nd Choice: Facebook’s Open Graph: The Semantic Wallet: Jonathan Laba


1st Choice: Getting the Insiders Onside: Working with Bloggers and Influencers: Dave Fleet
2nd Choice: A Live #SMmeasure Chat: Sheldon Levine, Rob Clark



1st Choice: Marketing in the Flow: Content Marketing and the Attention Economy: Leona Hobbs
2nd Choice: Social Media ROI: The Kirk Gambit vs the WOPR Maneuver?: Rob Clark


1st Choice: The Technological Singularity: Rapture of the Nerds or the Next Step in Evolution: Nikola Danaylov
2nd Choice: Transmedia, Fandom, and Housewives: Renee Mitson, Veronica Heringer

Cheers, and see you around the hallways.

Is It Real or Is It Fotoshop by Adobé?

Fotoshop by AdobeThroughout the early 1990s I worked as a graphic designer at a Toronto studio. We had several accounts, but the two that kept me busiest were a popular makeup brand and a packaged meat company. You can draw your own obvious parallels between the two.

The main tasks involved making the models and meat look beautiful and delicious enough for you to open your wallet. The primary weapon in our arsenal was Adobe Photoshop, and we would use it to (as the video shows) make fuller lips, change eye color, make whiter teeth, remove blemishes or unsightly veins, change skin color or in extreme cased literally create a frankenimage form various photos in the session. If her elbow looked funny, we’d grab an arm from another photo and blend it in.

Northern California filmmaker Jesse Rosten was inspired to create the video after watching a beauty product infomercial. To his eye the before and after portraits of the model looked like they had been photoshopped.

It’s been nearly six years since Dove posted the infamous ‘Evolution‘ video, so the use of Photoshop in advertising shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Read more about my adventures with Photoshop retouching in Beauty is Pixel Deep on YummyMummyClub.