The thing i love the most on Facebook is … Online Advertising.

Really. In fact,  i’m not a big fan of Facebook, but the way they manage their display advertising won me over.

Facebook Ads

They are one of the few publishers who offer a solution to rate ad quality, adjusting the relevance of ads according of to the vote of consumers, and not only on some obscure bidding system.

Lately i’ve seen a few articles on how advertising is intrusive and sometimes annoying (non activated sound on display advertising kills me …), with users building more banner blindness or solving the annoyances with browser extensions like AdBlock.

ad junk

Please excuse while I bust the ad junk above.

Believe it or not, most of these problems are the fault of advertisers. By not increasing the online display advertising budgets, advertisers leave publishers with online ad inventory that is filled by blind ad networks, an easy target for low quality ads and low bidding advertisers. From casino bets to value added mobile services, we’ve got fed up with all this ad junk.

Considering the ROI of online advertising, we still have a lot to fight for digital’s  larger slice of the advertising budget. When that happens, supply and demand laws kicks in: the “bad” advertising has no economic stimulus (low CPC/CPM) to invest in blank slots (if any still remain) and creative ads get the spotlight.

bannerblog

If you miss a good old (non-intrusive) banner, visit BannerBlog.

When Yahoo homepage had their inventory bought in advance for a year, most of the advertising was not intrusive, with interesting display ads served from time to time. On these conditions, as with offline advertising, the way for advertisers to break the clutter was through creativity and relevance, so no wonder the ads were good.

But then we have Google Ads, that unlike Facebook, doesn’t allow a easy feedback regarding their display advertising , disregarding the experience of the user, in what might be a long term shot in the feet. And they don’t make it easier for publishers filtering the ads.

With users getting used to online reviews, rating and social recommendation, it’s time for online advertising to change their minds and let consumers have the same level of interaction regarding their ads. Advertisers will have the chance to know what consumers think of their ads and publishers have a better chance of increasing their CPC and revenue.

So, quoting a user:

Mr. Webmaster, if you own a website, and there is a sonorous ad, please remove it. IÂ’m willing to see your advertising, but please respect me.

During this month, some of the most established names in web design and development have been publishing a daily article at 24ways.org, keeping the tradition of previous years.

24ways

From Jeffrey Zeldman to Drew McLellan (not to be mistaken with Drew from Marketing Minute), the 24 articles are one of the best web design resources created this year, with solid tips from beginner to advanced for web professionals or just to impress your friends.

Highlights to the articles by Jason Santa Maria on Making Modular Layouts and a art direction beginner class by Mark Boulton. A edgeofmyseat.com production, it was edited by Drew McLellan and Brian Suda, with design by Made by Elephant.

Merry  Christmas!

This is my geeky way of wishing a Merry Christmas to you all !

Here we go again with one more year end list. After 2006 and 2007, this one will be shorter as i’ve bought less albums, using Last.fm and Hype Machine to feed my music habits. Just in time for that last minute Christmas Gift, ladies and gentleman, meet the top 10 albums of 2008:

As an extra,  the best Portuguese album in 2008 for Deolinda – Canção ao Lado.

The criteria is totally subjective, based on my listening habits, both online and offline. If you have your own list of best albums of 2008, feel free to share them in the comments.

If you wonder what’s a album list doing in this blog, consider yourself warned: music is a source of inspiration.

OFFF, The International Festival For the Post Digital Creation Culture will have their 2009 edition in Portugal (7, 8, 9 May), with the new venue at Fundação de Oeiras, with lots of artists and speakers already confirmed. If you haven’t noticed, the tickets have been on sale for a while, but you can still get early bird prices until the end of this week. offf09

Kyle Cooper, UVA (United Visual Artists), Multitouch Barcelona, Stefan Sagmeister, Paula Scher (Pentagram), Renascent, James Paterson (Presstube), Digital Kitchen, Joshua Davis, Karsten Schmidt (Toxi & PostSpectacular), Universal Everything, Aaron Koblin, Hillman Curtis, Si Scott Studio, Chris Milk, Kozyndan, Jason Bruges Studio, Ivan Franco, Neubau Berlin, This Is Pacifica, Alva, R2, Musa Worklab, Robert L. Peters, Suprb and Eva Vermandel are lined up for Roots with more to come the next few months.

The new venue is really close to the beach and will offer better conditions, with lots of space for artists who want to show their work at the catalogue. The Swedish digital media school, Hyperisland will be around (though not as part of their World Tour) for a special workshop and a 2 hours lecture.

Personally, it will be the chance to finally meet the men who inspired me to work in interactive, Mr. Hillman “MTIV (Making the Invisible Visible)” Curtis. Almost 10 years since his first Shockwave Flash animation for Macromedia, it will be a great year to discuss the state of digital creativity with him and the other great speakers.

Post digital Photo by sushi-sunday under a CC license

Starting next January, i’ll be posting profiles on the artists and projects, with a few selected interviews so you can get a feel of what to expect at the festival and help you to choose which talks to attend.

Grab your tickets before they’re gone and visit Portugal next year. Besides the great weather and delicious food, we’ll also have a wicked digital culture festival.

The year was 2006, and the trend formerly know as Web 2.0 was in full steam. A group of brilliant folks decided to organize the first edition of Shift Conference in Portugal. I managed to find some free time and attended one of the workshops, on the theme of “Creativity” with Dannie Jost and Henriette Weber Andersen. Two years later, Henriette has really pushed the envelope further, both professionally and personally, with her latest achievement in the form of a free eBook: Why every company should be a rockband.

rockband

While working for companies with start ups and online marketing and PR, she also helped bring passion to the communities she’s involved, and continued her involvement with Shift as a Super Duper Advisor :).

Henriette Weber Photo by redsoda747, all rights reserved

Unfortunately, i wasn’t able to attend the talk where Henriette presented the ideas on the book, but as a big fan of her personal rockband, i’ve asked her a few questions she kindly accepted to answer.

Henriette, Toothless Tiger, avant garde social business expert: who are you really ? Who am I really ? I am a lady from the north hunting integrity, authenticity, remarkability, creativity, and trustworthiness in business all over the world. I am a first mover within tech and business and how to implement the ways and ideas of the internet in organizations. Heck some people even call me a guru =)

At Shift, we had a first glimpse on “why every company should be a rockband”, that has now been self published as a book. Sounds like there’s a story here, and i’d love you to share how this book was born and the main ideas discussed on it. Well the book was born because my own book deal in Denmark got canceled. it’s not that I cry myself to sleep every night over it, it just shows that when you’re battling in places where i am battling – the publishing industry does not understand. I have felt it on my own body that publishing houses wants to make everything mainstream. I think mainstream is so incredibly boring and without attitude. It makes everything become normal. meh. Anyway I decided to make my own publishing house (called Toothless Tiger Press), where nothing had to be mainstream – it could be as quirky and strange and wonderful excentric, and all the power over the works had to be in the hands of the author. To make Toothless Tiger Press I needed to have an ebook. People at shift really loved the talk so I decided to work a bit longer on the slides and turn them into an ebook. It collided with my blog post on the 7th of December on 24ways.org – it was a blast and now it’s out there and people are sending me mails to say thank you – it rocks =).

The main idea in the ebook is that the world has changed and it doesn’t look a bit like “business as usual”. Still we conduct business as usual. s. It heavily related on some blogposts I have done on toothlesstiger.com for the past year arguing that “the business of business needs to be more than business”. and that’s the main idea. It’s a way of changing the world. which is also why I hope that everybody will read this ebook and react on it, and spread the ebook like wildfire – in some way – making something more.

Bands have groupies. Companies have … groupies too and fans. Groupies are the hardcore people surrounding your company and who can’t live without it. Fans are more moderate. You need to work on getting people who purchase your products to first become customers, then to become fans, and if you’re lucky they will become groupies as well.

We’re both very interested in creativity. Bands have it, the web as lots of it, but companies are usually stifling it. Are companies behaving like the music industry instead of focusing in being rock bands? I think that the creativity is lacking in companies because of control. In some companies it’s extremely hard and I think that some companies are acting as the music industry. let it go man. You can’t control the chaos of the web. it should not be managed – it should be lead. so let go of the command and control mentality, it doesn’t really belong in a rockband (or in the music industry – but I guess they are waking up to see that)

Game time. Match each one of the brands / companies below with a rock band. (I haven’t given these much consideration so I hope I won’t be held responsible that much) Nokia : R.E.M Motorola: Lordi

Nike: MGMT Adidas: Daft Punk

Ford: Sisters of Mercy Honda: Nightwish

PriceWaterhouse: The Pogues Accenture: The Corrs

McDonalds: Hanson Ben&Jerry’s: spice girls

Pepsi: The Doors Coke: Janis Joplin

Amazon: Coldplay Google: Red Hot Chili Peppers

H&M: Abba Zara: Manu Chao

Head on to Toothlesstigerpress.com and get your piece of a rockband for your company today.

Update: Added links to the original concept and the talk’s slideshow.

Rare Exports Inc, from the land of the original Father Christmas

A long, long time ago Father Christmases roamed free in Lapland. At some point in time, native people found out that these creatures could be caught, and trained to become well-mannered servants. In 1793, a group of native Laplanders set up a small company to export extremely rare Original Finnish Father Christmas ® all over the World. Today, Rare Exports Inc. is one of the most successful companies in Finland trading with nearly 150 countries.

Rare Exports Inc, directed by Jalmari Helander and produced by Woodpecker Film (http://www.woodpeckerfilm.fi) shows the process of transforming a wild Father Christmas into a finished product, all the way from tracking and hunting in the wilderness, to the intensive training period and finishing touches made to the ready-to-be-shipped item.

The past few weeks, sites and blogs have been pushing their trendsetting articles. I haven’t decided yet if it’s worth publishing one myself,  specially after reading Nicholas Taleb’s Black Swan, and realizing that trying to predict these sort of things is mostly an exercise in futility.

Nonetheless, as some of these “trends” do carry a reasonable amount strategic thought, a few highlights about trends:

Consumer

The obvious place to start is Trendwatching’s Half Dozen Trends for 2009. trendwatching On a recent discussion at work, it was interesting to realize that i guessed half of them right, before the report was published. Key trends: NicheTributes, Luxyoury, MapMania

Marketing and Media

Mark, Wendy, Dale, Eric and Ben at Talking Digital have been publishing their trends since October, with a plenty of creative juice to drink from. Key trends: Digital Growth, newspaper recession, Ad market competition, Privacy. On this latest trend, do check out also a interesting article by Pedro Rocha at Will It Brand, on the larger trend of Protection.

Design

The classic Pantone color forecast has to be mentioned. Key trends: Fuchsia Red, Salmon Rose, Lucite Green, Lavender. fcrspring2009

Technology

I’m picking the recent Gartner study, Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2009, with a lot of focus going, of course, to cloud computing and virtualization.

Gaming Trends

Jerome, at Advertising Pawn, as a compact presentation on games. For someone who doesn’t have the time to spend their time on the Xbox, the Wii or PS3, it’s a great shortut to connect to gaming culture. Key trends: Connectivity and participation.

Video Gaming Trends

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: marketing advertising)

Lifestyle

As I’m finishing this post on my lunch hour, it seems suitable that i’ll end with Epicurious Top 10 Food Trends for 2009. trends2009-epicurious Illustration © Epicurious.com. Key trends: Top-Rated, Value, Rustic.

On a post about trends, a closing reminder on the latest Google Zeitgeist, an annual report on the hottest worldwide search trends, where you can find the usual suspects (sarah palin, obama). And if you’re really trend freak, there’s always live services like Google Trends or Twitter trends.

Photos and video are two of the largest forms of online content. And most of the times, they come in pretty regular formats: 4:3, 16:9, 320×240, 640×480, 3:2 (photos mostly).

Golden Ratio Photo by Ryan Tow, under a CC License

And although they are not exactly Golden ratio or Fibonnaci compliant, they offer pleasing formats for the human eye.

And how about online ad formats?

You can find it hard to believe, but the only single decent proportion is a 120×90 button that seldom gets noticed. Most of these formats were adopted for historical reasons (big publishers already using them) but it puzzles me how there wasn’t an aesthetic consideration in choosing a large format in golden ratio proportions. Is it the need to not mistake editorial content with advertising ? In print ads, that’s not something they have to worry about. Is it the need to adjust to common layouts? Usually it’s the opposite, with web design layouts adjusting to fit ad units.

If a 4:3 or 3:2 large format was adopted, besides the aesthetic opportunities, there will be also a gain in production efficiency, as many offline campaigns fit in those ratios.

So, do you think we need a new online ad format that fits the golden ratio?

Tired of not knowing the faces and stories of those of you who spend precious time reading this blog, and having realized that Google has turned public their Friend Connect service, i’ve placed the gadget on the sidebar (and a review/rate on single pages).

It’s right above my tweets, one of the best places i could get, as readers are the main reason that push me to find fresh inspirations. So, again, thanks for all your attention and let’s connect.