Monthly Archives: February 2013

Pixel Piranhas

Fish with razors. Sounds like a B-rate aquarium horror. Though in a dry digital sphere, razorfish are great. They’re a school of technologists, marketing strategists, and creatives who are “inventing the digital future,” as they put it. Ironically, their office still reminds me of an aquarium.Image

A couple of years ago I met someone who worked at Razorfish- Austin. That was the first time I had heard of the company and I was surprised to discover their other branches in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, SF, and Seattle. It’s also funny to think about how much success the pixel trouts (sharks?) have had since that day. In 2008, Razorfish won over 75 creative awards, including 10 Webby’s. In 2010 they were placed #4 on AdeAge’s A-list.

I’ve been digging through much of Razorfish’s work to place a few samples here. In that process I found something called an Outlook Report:

“We compiled Volume 10 of the Razorfish Outlook Report to help brands navigate the growing diversity of media solutions and technology platforms – and ultimately build their businesses by harnessing the power of the convergence of creativity, media, and technology.”

The Outlook Report is an entirely separate site page with sixteen noteworthy essays on digital marketing. The essays are written by one, sometimes two or three, brilliant Razorfish employees that use their personal insights an actual data to express useful marketing theses.

The essays have simple, thoughtful info-graphs…


and somewhat common sense, but positive insights.


What’s neat to me is that all of this information is free for public consumption. I’m using some of the insights of Jonathan Hull, Razorfish VP of Emerging Experiences, for a digital management presentation next week. Sure, this Outlook Report is a great method of self-promotion. But it’s also honest information that can help anyone, not just Razorfish clients, adjust in the speedy realm of digital.


poison darts and movement makers

StrawberryFrog is a New York agency, originated in 1999, and dedicated to the concept of “movement marketing”. Like their rainforest mascot, these guys move to move others in less traditional fashion. My intrigue with their name led to an intrigue in their work. Below is a few informational ribbits about these trendy tree frogs.

Wiki says*- “Adweek described StrawberryFrog as part of a trend toward independent agencies where .big global clients don’t need big global agencies any more’. This trend is reflected by the growth of non-traditional agencies in other markets such as Canadian business TAXI and SMART in Australia and has been referred to as ‘a revolution in the ad world’ … (BUT) … In early 2012 APCO Worldwide acquired majority control of StrawberryFrog. As of February 2012 StrawberryFrog continues to operate independently without a change in management.”

Their list of clients is extensively exciting-

Bold art direction and unique perspectives roughly define their design; here’s a few I liked:

a glace at their treehouse**:


Strawberry Frog employees “Olé Pedersen, Patricia De Luca and Heather LeFevre presented at at Cannes on June 21, 2011. The workshop was one of 20, selected from hundreds of entries as part of the festival conference.” Buried in the ninety-three slides are a bushels of great thought and helpful advertising tactics. Apparently these poisonous tree dwellers also like to share their secrets.

Principles from the Cannes presentation

  1. Start with your brand truth and identify an idea on the rise. Why does your brand exist today? What is going in consumer culture that makes your brand more or less culturally relevant? What role does it or could it play in culture? What idea in culture could it champion?
  2. Catalyze this into a shared cultural goal or ethos. Ex: “to bond parents, teachers and children through character-building creativity” Ex:  “To make Americans rethink dumb, mindless consumption”
  3. Activate the brand idea, not just broadcast it. (They’re marketers, not just advertisers) Movements are more than messages. What assets can you create that: – allow your community to participate in this idea? – demonstrate that your brand is doing something not just talking about it?
  4. Use broadcast as a megaphone for your movement. (well, yeah.)
  5. Provoke/ignite a sense of community and cause. How can you create or leverage existing communities? What powerful symbols and iconography can you create to catalyze your efforts and make people feel part of the community? How can these member see their tangible action in the movement?
  6. Ensure your movement is always on. Foster co-creation.

My internet research also revealed some disconcerting articles about Strawberry Frog. Like many others in the industry they were impacted recession, allegedly laying off loads of their frog workers in 2011. Additionally, some inter-employee drama arose in the form of a 2 million dollar lawsuit around the same time. The CEO was said to be “running the agency into the ground”*** … a statement I believe to be emotionally compromised. But who knows?

Here’s a few notable worries to check out – –

Strawberry Frog has a fall internship for student ad-crazies like myself. Despite some negative PR, I’m intrigued. New York just got a little less stingy.