Monthly Archives: January 2009

HBO’s “Web of Secrets” clever but not original

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Web of Secrets is HBO’s new site to promote “Big Love,” the critically acclaimed series about a polygamous family. The site is quite clever and allows visitors to read anonymous people’s secrets by clicking on linking words in each quote.

For example, you might stumble upon the secret “I dropped out of college 2 years ago but I still get financial aid.” If you then click on “I” you might find this secret morsel… “I’m going to marry someone I hate because it’s convenient.”

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Anyone can submit their own secret by clicking the link at the bottom of the page. They have even set up a Twitter feed for those who want to get real-time updates on submitted secrets. The concept is both interesting and interactive, but it’s also strangely reminiscent of two other websites: PostSecret and We Feel Fine. According to AgencySpy, the agency for HBO approached PostSecret creator Frank Warren about using some of his postcards for the site. Warren said no and HBO proceeded with the idea anyway.

PostSecret

PostSecret

We Feel Fine

We Feel Fine

Web of Secrets is certainly not a new idea, but as a promotional concept, it’s a shinier and more polished version of things that already exist. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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White House 2.0

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President Obama is ushering in plenty of change with his new administration, and much of his promise for transparency centers around technology. He successfully leveraged technology early on the campaign trail by soliciting donations and dispatching information via cell phones and online campaigns, and he has continued to embrace new media since being elected. In addition to making whitehouse.gov a user-friendly, informative site for information about legislation, the administration’s agenda and newsworthy events, Obama’s team has also launched a dedicated channel on vimeo with press events, the President’s weekly address, and even space for viewer comments.

A colorful way to get news

If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of text on a page of Google News, check out Newsmap. It’s a colorful visual representation of Google news that sorts tops stories by popularity, category and recency. For example, all technology stories are green, with the most popular stories in the biggest green boxes and the most recent stories in the brightest green. Rolling over the boxes will show an overview of the article ans well as a link to related articles. News isn’t limited to just the U.S. – Newsmap includes table for 10 other countries, including Canada, Italy, India and Austria.

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adidas knows how to party

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How do you get a show-stopping ensemble of pop culture icons to star in your ads? Throw a house party. To promote the 60th anniversary of the brand’s triple stripe icon, adidas launched a global marketing campaign featuring TV and print work from the adidas Originals House Party. Party guests included over a dozen artists and athletes including Missy Elliot, David Beckham, Russell Simmons, Katy Perry, and The Ting Tings. More elements of the campaign are expected throughout the year.

Last night, adidas brought the ad concept to life with a real house party in Berlin. Hosted at the adidas No. 74 concept store, the space was transformed to mimic an actual house party featuring a living room and kitchen with self-serve drinks, pizza delivery throughout the night, and plenty of music. The Berlin house party was more than just a venue to celebrate. adidas was also offering shoes for 19.49 Euros (about $25), which had a continuous line of fans waiting outside for most of the day.

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Microsoft Songsmith

By now you’ve probably at least heard of Microsoft Songsmith, the software that creates music when you sing into your computer. The products was introduced to the world earlier this month via a four-minute video that shows how a jingle-writing dad and his clever daughter are both able to benefit from the software.

The video is getting panned in the media and around the web. Even the New York Times has taken notice. In an article published last week, NYT writer Randall Stross references Sunsan Sontag’s 1964 essay Notes on Camp that identifies a “category of art that isn’t campy, just ‘bad to the point of being laughable, but not bad to the point of being enjoyable.’ The Songsmith video is exactly that.”

Microsoft was apparently not kidding about this product, but thousands of other people are. Thanks to YouTube, there are already dozens of paradoies online, including several gems of remastered classis like “Wonderwall” by Oasis, “Roxanne” by The Police, and “White Wedding” by Billy Idol, all made using the Songsmith program.