Points of Interest #17

May 20th, 2016 

Points of Interest is a recap of ideas and innovations we are following at Plannerzone.


Caxton showing the first specimen of his printing to king edward iv ait the almonry

‘Do you wish to send this as a DM, m’Lord?.’ Maclise, Daniel (1909) “Caxton Showing the First Specimen of His Printing to King Edward IV at the Almonry, Westminster” (Wikimedia)

Last week the Plannerzone team got to share in some innovative ideas and new perspectives at PSFK 2016. The conference has become an annual ritual for us, and a great time to find inspiration for our consumer insights work.

At PSFK 2016 I was very impressed by T-Brand Studio, the brand marketing unit of the New York Times. For the past several years I’ve been hearing that content marketing is the most important trend in the advertising industry. I think this is largely true, but I worry that the overuse of the term risks turning into another lukewarm buzzword. That is to say, the next ‘snackable big data on transmedia.’ I was inspired, and pleasantly surprised, by the projects coming out of T-Brand Studio. You can read more about their work, and what it means for the paper’s business model, in this article.

For those of that like baseball and not-too-big data, I recommend this week’s episode of the “What’s The Point.” It follows the writer Ben Lindbergh as he became a general manager of an independent baseball team, the Sonoma Stompers. (Cause they’ll stomp ya like grapes, get it?) Lindbergh applied data analytics to the team’s playing and strategy, with mostly successful results. His experience holds valuable for lessons for anyone who has to tell a story with data. Have a listen: The Stompers Get Stats.

REI’s #OptOutside Campaign was recognized at the One Show for asking customers to reject the shopping mania of Black Friday

As a coffee fan (read: addict) I’m not sure that serious connoisseurs add cream to their coffee. That being said, this web video from Organic Valley put a funny spin on the third-wave coffee trend:



The first casualty of war are office supplies. Havas and Omnicom Health Group entered into an epic Post-It war.


Wiki of the week: List of buzzwords

Speaking of snackable big data (is it lunchtime yet?) this Wikipedia article will arm you with all of the second rate buzzwords you need for your next slide deck.


Interview: Paul Auster and His Writing

April 17th, 2013 

Author Paul Auster talks about his childhood infatuation with cinema (along with his repressed desire to direct films):


As a major fan of Auster—Invention of Solitude remains one of my all-time favorite books—I definitely notice a cinematic bent in some of his writing, even if he denies it in this interview.

Man in the Dark comes to mind as a story that takes shape through cut scenes and fantasy sequences, not to mention the allusions to Auster’s own theories about film.

I’m currently pretending to read another book by Paul Auster mentioned in this interview, The Brooklyn Follies; I’m mostly just carrying it around the house.


A black and white photo of five identical men at a round table

The cover from Paul Auster’s book, Invention of Solitude; via summer of Auster

Bonus round: Follow this link to watch Paul Auster discuss translations of literature.

Martin Scorcese watching his own films

February 14th, 2013 

This video series shows Martin Scorcese performing the unenviable task of reflecting on clips of his own work.

Where Do Ideas Come From?

January 1st, 2013 

A little wisdom on craft and creativity from Rod Serling.

Rod Serling from Twilight Zone sits next to  a camera. B/W photo.

Fishing for Ideas

December 4th, 2012 

Fishing is one of those activities that is almost as useful to think about as it is to actually do.

Two Dead Fish

image via 331fish

So think about this: When you catch a fish that you don’t want and you throw it back, you have to take out the hook, or else you’ll keep reeling in the same fish.

(Profound, I know.)

It’s no wonder that we often leave the hook in. After enduring all the hard work of reeling in a fish we’re reluctant to toss it back.

In practice this could mean repeating the same mistake or hitting the same bullseye, but it rarely leads to a novel or provocative idea.

Andy Warhol used to write about how most people learn a single way to fail, and a single way to succeed at problem solving. Most spend their lives repeating a single recipe for success, or failure, in different settings and circumstances.

(Don’t let this get you down, many brands do this, too.)

For what it’s worth, I’ve found in my own experience that people with high aptitude for creativity usually have a wide variety of ways to both succeed and fail.

When we’re engaged in a creative pursuit and complain that we aren’t getting the results we expect, we are, in fact, blaming our fish.