Bitcoin Glyph Redesign




In the headlong rush to develop crypto the meaning behind Bitcoin has largely been an afterthought.

A Bitcoin glyph must live alongside the Yen, the Euro, Pound Sterling and the dollar with its own unique identity.

Before the Unicode Consortium assign the current Bitcoin glyph to us forever, perhaps we should consider its meaning.

The current double-stroke is either (a) Spanish in origin (symbolic representation of Pillars of Hercules), or (b) a combination of "U" and "S". Both are nation-specific and run counter to the ideas of Bitcoin/crypto.

Using the Thai baht "฿" creates confusion and leaves Bitcoin undifferentiated.

A single stroke "฿" has primary visual equivalency to the US dollar mark (among others)––imperfect for a universal currency.

"Ƀ" has been proposed as a substitute, but has no wider meaning.

In sum, a new currency needs a new glyph, not one borrowed from history.





Propose combining "B" with the triple bar "≡" meaning "logical equivalence." Also "congruence"–– agreement or harmony; compatibility.


(Creative Commons usage. Permission is granted to copy and distribute this document).












iPad 1 Was Panned

Picture 7

“Nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks” - Bloomberg.

Picture 8
“Consumers seem genuinely baffled by why they might need it” - Businessweek.

Picture 4

“Insanely great it is not” - Marketwatch.

Picture 5
“My god, am I underwhelmed” - Gizmodo.

All this they said about iPad 1, the fastest-selling gadget in the history of electronics.

Say hello to iPad 2.

Yup, never trust an expert.



















What's Your Creativity Number?



I'm currently working on a design project for a large multinational communications agency. This system for judging creative work is posted on the wall.

01 - DAMAGING : This work is worse than a waste of time. It is damaging to the client and us. You'd be better off staying at home.

02 - WASTEFUL : This work is a waste of time. People will actively avoid it. You have wasted both the client's time and your own resources.

03 - BORING : Both the idea and the execution are ordinary. The customer will tune out before it's finished.

04 - PREDICTABLE : This is soundly executed but bland. People have seen it all before and will get to the end of the message before you do.

05 - COMPETENT : This idea is told in an interesting way or it is well executed. People will give you the time to complete the message.

06 - REWARDING : This work will get noticed. People will feel rewarded having spent time with it. Its impact will linger longer than the duration of the message.

07 - INNOVATIVE : This is innovative work and the best example of this category in the network. It's refreshing message and execution will ensure that people will want to see it again.

08 - MARKET LEADING : This is the best work in this category in the world. It leads the market and people will take the time to rethink their perception of the brand and the category.

09 - WORLD CLASS : This competes with the very best ideas in the world of communications. It is an entirely new idea that is highly involving. The audience will spend time exploring and playing with the idea.

10 - WORLD BEATING : This sets a new standard in the world of communications. It is an entirely new idea that is highly involving. The audience will spend time exploring and playing with the idea. It is being talked about worldwide.


It's a great lens through which to view your ideas.

The only question you have to ask yourself is: Do I have the balls to live by it?


Catch 18


Heller's seminal novel with his original title. Leon Uris had recently published Mila 18 hence the renumbering.

Good job. Eighteen's just not quite so, well, catchy, is it?

(Footnote: Fitzgerald originally penned the Great Gatsby as The Death of the Red, White, and Blue.)

Bubblewrapped Street




Somerville Road in Worcester, England, has the dubious distinction of being statistically the most accident-prone street in the country.

For an advertising campaign,, a car insurance comparison website, decided to wrap 'Accident Avenue' in 1,500sq meters of bubble wrap.

The stunt took eight men more than 12 hours to complete with cars, gates, trash cans, lamp posts and even garden gnomes all wrapped up to highlight the dangers of driving in Winter.

Lee Clow Selected Tweets


Some selected words of wisdom from the Twitter page of Lee Clow, Creative Director of Chiat Day LA.

Always assume no one wants to hear what your ad has to say, then give them a reason to.

A logo is not a mandatory. Being on strategy, speaking in the brand's voice and intriguing consumers are mandatories.

A brand doesn't need a unique position in the market as much as a unique position in consumers' minds.

If your copy requires italics, your copy requires rewriting.   

"What are we trying to say with this ad" should be asked before writing the brief. Not two minutes before showing the client.

Most people don't have enough time to interact with their kids, let alone your brand. Respect that.

In our hunt for novelty, we forget that great advertising is so rarely seen that consumers already consider it novel.

You should always focus group creative, assuming your goal is creative that satisfies 30 people.

When judging an ad internally, react like a consumer first and analyze it to death later. Like after it runs.

Few things guarantee failure faster than the "safe" option.

The better the work, the shorter the presentation.

Copy & design create an ad's internal rhythm. Even if they can't describe it, consumers know when the beat is off.
I love clients who know the difference between input and a mandate.

Just because everyone (ad folks) is doing it doesn't mean anyone (consumers) actually likes it.

The biggest waste of time & money in most agencies is the inability to make a decision. Lead yourselves. Lead your clients.

An ad discussing negative things does not a negative ad make. E.g., every problem-solution ad ever run.

Sometimes the best visual solution is a well-written line.
It's not that consumers have short attention spans. It's that we give them so little of interest to look at.

No one remembers an ad they never see.

Consumers never complain about ads being too smart.

"But some people won't get this" is one of the first signs your ad might actually work.
"Did you consider trying this?" No, we're good enough to reject it without wasting time trying it. Your CFO will thank us.

Don't confuse a simple execution with a simple message. The former is optional; the latter, mandatory.

Nothing kills a bad product faster than great advertising.

Hope you like that straw dog because the client just approved it.

The consumer will never hear that two-hour campaign rationale you gave to the client. Work lives or dies on on its own merits.

Clients are consumers, too. They just need to be reminded.

Always read your copy out loud to ensure it sounds like the brand and not the brand manager.

Your ad begins as an interruption. Make paying attention to it feel like a reward.

A technique or look is no substitute for substance.

Few things break my heart like seeing a brilliant idea poorly executed. Always sweat the details.

Most products don't actually have a USP. That's why *we* exist.

Body copy gets read when headlines do their job.

TV spots are short. If you can't hold folks' attention for 20 secs before revealing the brand, find another line of work.

Every Purchase Is An Emotional Purchase*

(*To a greater or lesser degree.)

You're not just baking cupcakes for your kids, you're creating food memories. (There is no greater emotional purchase than food: it says just how much you love yourself.)

Consumers increasingly seek comfort and connection from brands. Emphasis has moved from what the product does––the golden age of the unique selling proposition (USP) and product demonstrations––to how the brand makes you feel. The soft sell.

Bob Lutz GM's former head of design:

“These days when everything mechanically in a car is great, design becomes a huge differentiation. The interior assumes a bigger role because it's where the customer lives. A thoughtful interior will provide huge long-term owner satisfaction. Cars and trucks are marginally about moving people from A to B. A $2000 used Cavalier will do that. Vehicles have become expressions of our identities. If you don't meet people's psychological needs you're dead.”

Marketing To Directors Of Marketing


Thought I'd share with you some insights gained from CMO's on how best to approach them for new business.

From the Director of Marketing for a major liquor brand:

"I'd prefer a referral through a friend or former colleague. I always respond to those. I toss mail out. Rarely return unsolicited calls, and if they catch me live I usually politely decline and say we are covered. That's the truth. No time for meetings at this job!"

So, forget cold calling and mailers. It's all about your network of contacts. And if you're the incumbent agency you have one hell of an advantage, so try really hard not to drop the ball.

And this from a Brand Manager for a global Fortune 500 company:

"Maybe if you want to change the game think about how you approach clients differently. I get probably 50-60 calls, emails, direct mails, etc. PER DAY from agencies and creatives, EVERY ONE OF THEM telling me they are the best, they are different, they are unique and every one of them coming across as very much the same.

Start looking at ways to differentiate yourselves EARLIER in the process. If you all approach us in the same way, with the same pitch and the same sales lines then maybe we'll stop treating you as commodities."

The key line: differentiate yourselves earlier in the process.

104 Agencies Pitch Zappos

[click to enlarge]

Generally we try to avoid Adland topics––we are 'the advertising cleanse' after all!--but the tale of the Zappos pitch is unusual in that the RFP was posted on Adweek, the industry trade journal.

Zappos originally invited 16 agencies (which guarantees 15 losers) to participate in their agency review.

A couple of weeks later, AdWeek posted the story along with a link to their RFP.

The response was wild: over 170 agencies contacted them requesting to participate. From those 170, 104 ended up submitting
presentations (which guarantees 103 losers). Essentially, investing time and money––giving their best ideas away for free.

QOTD : Is the agency review process in need of a review?

Leo Burnett Group : Predictions 2009


Let's check back at the end of the year to see how right they are:

New Realism

Economic conditions will profoundly affect our cultural context moving forward. As our creative content becomes more tangible and honest in reflection, we will be forced to be more realistic about everything over the coming years. The human story will be one of value reflection and reassessment, as both our priorities and purchases are examined in light of what is truly meaningful to us. As the language of hopes and dreams is replaced by one of pragmatism and prudence, new value systems will emerge. We will be more open to expressions that are confident, secure, uplifting, connected, honest and progressive.

Hyper Reality

Major developments are now happening at lightning speed and changing status quos are revealed in real time with very real consequences. Governments will be judged by how they manage change and, ironically, by how much they bring about change itself has become the mantra of modern politics. Businesses will face major challenges to keep up with and evolve to meet peoples rapidly changing needs. As economies, societies and cultures are recast, the need to know whats next has never been greater.

The Trust Economy

Trust is set to become a critical success factor for brands in 2009. Where we place our trust is changing dramatically. In turbulent times we look to organisations that share our concerns, manage anxiety and take the lead. With the trust spectrum up for grabs, organisations that show they are going the extra mile for people will prosper. Supermarkets in particular have positioned themselves as consumer champions for some time and look set to benefit in this new era.

Eco Austerity

Being green was once costly, time consuming and a matter of conscience. A major juncture is about to be reached in the future of the planet as austerity turns the environmental case into an economic one. Energy efficiency saves money as well as the planet, and the uptake of this critical message is about to define our future development. The recession will hijack the green argument, turning it from a moral argument to an economic one.

While no media has ever replaced another, TV has been trapped in a corner for some time. In 2009 we will reach the tipping point for broadcast quality Internet Television. Yes, people have been watching TV online for some time, but watching TV on YouTube is not the most satisfying experience a bit like watching YouTube clips on TV. This year such painful experiences will become a thing of the past as media neutral TV finally goes mainstream.

Thread Marketing

In the future content will need to be free from central control and tradable in the new networks - tomorrows Facebook or Bebo. The aim will be not to drive people to a home page but to scatter diverse pieces of content in multiple contexts and thread them back to the brand. In this emerging era unifying ideas, brand logos or simple short codes will form the threads that link content together. As many adverts already carry URLs, in the future we will see bus ads linking to desktop widgets, on-pack promos leading to corporate-led films, and so on ad infinitum.

Generation Game

Video games used to be the preserve of disenchanted adolescents, but as gaming becomes a truly mass pursuit, soon we will all be part of Generation Game. With economic pressures set to encourage us homewards, the cultural clout of gaming will be further accelerated. The future of the medium is unlimited as the educational potential and social networking possibilities of games platforms are further explored. Gaming will be a fulcrum for future innovation across multiple areas.

The End of Fact

Perceived wisdom now changes on a daily basis and we should expect more contradictory opinions and diverse solutions being presented as definitive. Fact checking is becoming a thing of the past as online opinions blur the line between truth and hearsay. Authority will increasingly become a key communication metric and for media organisations editorial oversight will be a key differentiator. In a time when truth is more contested than ever, objectivity and impartiality will become rarefied and more in demand.

Brands as Vehicles

Brands are landing points; we follow our needs and invariably end up at a brand. This is all set to change. The brands of the future will be vehicles and not just destinations. The success stories of the last decade were built on this principle; Google and YouTube being the two most prominent human gateways. Our journey does not finish with Google and YouTube, thats where it starts. The days of the static brand are increasingly numbered, as they become a means and not an end. This is not just a new economy dynamic; all brands must take heed of this.

2009 Predictions

When Smoking Was Good For You


Really quite stunning to think that tobacco companies--with the collusion of ad agencies--were running these ads when they knew the harmful effects of smoking.

'For 30 days test Camels'...and get hooked.


Would love to have been the wall–fly at the client/agency meeting when this concept was pitched.