in search of [gonzo]

“some people will say that words like “scum” and “rotten” are wrong for Objective Journalism — which is true, but they miss the point.”

So wrote Hunter S. Thompson, when writing those words for Richard Nixon’s Obit in Rolling Stone Magazine. And Thompson spoke truth there. Never mind the infantile tantrums, the alcohol and 47 types of drugs he was on at one point or the other, or his movement to legalize drugs – those were all wrong. What was write though, was his passion about wanting to tell stories – stories that made you want to change how the system was – to reject the deal (The American Dream, in his case) offered by those who came before.A critic of his work once said that his reportage was the least factual, but still the most accurate description of how things were. He wrote history with lightning – sometimes making it up as he went along – truth or lies weren’t the point – change was, principles were.One might suggest / argue that he resorted to the drugs and alcohol as a protection-mechanism, but unlike your average junkie, he never degenerated to pure rejectionism.I don’t have much to go by on Thompson. I’ve read the books and the articles, I’ve seen the movie.We have plenty of loud-mouthed, opinionated journalists, and where there’s a dearth of loud-mouthed, opinionated journalists, there’s always Ms. Roy.What we are missing is people passionate about causes, with the intelligence to understand the wider ripples that emanate from the public and political spheres – and people passionate enough to want to make a difference.We’ve had two elections this year – I voted in both, and admittedly have done little to follow-up with elected representatives in actually [doing]. Perhaps it’s because I don’t know what it is that needs to be done – because I so far don’t have the golden braid of an idea that can actually make a difference.If you know, though, or are actively doing something in this space, I would love to hear more about it. Drop a comment here, or drop me an email.

[awesomeness] is believing

Microsoft released Halo 3 a couple of years ago; making it the largest ever opening for any “entertainment” product – topping Spiderman 3’s 3-day opening weekend and Harry Potter 7’s initial (including pre-order) sales, too.The campaign won the Integrated Grand Prix at Cannes in 2008, and the Jay Chiat Planning awards this year. It’s brilliant.It does what a good campaign should do – make you buy into the idea – make you BELIEVE. Watch the case study below:[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poTWxC73Tf8&w=500&h=394]They even had Neill Blomkamp, who would later direct the 2009 movie District 9 produce a set of three short films (below) called Halo 3: Landfall.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKGhoJ1mgQY&w=500&h=300]But one campaign doesn’t make a great idea, or a great brand. Microsoft’s follow-up to the Halo franchise is a prequel – Halo 3 ODST – the game deals with the days leading up to Halo 3. The Covenant discovers the location of Earth and launches an attack on New Mombasa in Africa.This time, instead of playing the human supersoldier Master Chief, you play Rookie, one of the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODST) . While there are many gameplay trailers, the one I’m putting up here is the official trailer to the game.How do you follow-up Halo 3 / BELIEVE? With Halo 3 / Drop into Hell.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRMUYpH7bQk&w=500&h=300]And you have here below the making of the trailer. Attention to detail. Brilliant.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65TSEiK5sqU&w=500&h=300]

[awesomeness] is understanding who you are

one brand, two very different routes.BMW used to be The Ultimate Driving Machine. Then someone decided that was not good enough. So BMW have decided to be all about Sheer Driving Pleasure.A bit of a mistake, perhaps.BMW has always had a distinctive edge because of the idea of ‘the ultimate driving machine’. The cars, feats of engineering, have always had a stance exuding presence to the point of arrogance.That has been an underlying narrative in past initiatives like The Hire series of films (one linked below here), or any of the other commercials like the M5-ThrustIISEC ad or the Balance ads for the 5 Series.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYJhQDw1jKg&w=500&h=300]The creative translation of Sheer Driving Pleasure is ‘Jump for joy’. Nice idea, if you are Volkswagen or Mini or Smart; but brand suicide if you’re BMW.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf3-oEUdWac&w=500&h=303]BMWs have always been the car with a point. They’re performance machines. They’re fast. They growl. They push you to be more. If you look up brandtags, you will find the most prominent tag for BMW happens to be a**hole. For a very good reason.Past communications understood and built on this, but ‘Jump for joy’ is almost an apology and a promise of rehabilitation to quieter pastures for the brand. I’m curious to know where the brand will go next – I hope it’s someplace closer to The Ultimate Driving Machine again. We know that BMW’s had to do a bit of defending against Audi, but this campaign cedes ground that it took BMW many years to make its very own.Change is good when it makes sense, but I don’t know if Marketing @ BMW did a reality check before they decided to proceed with this exercise. It’s like Churchill deciding to deliver his “we shall fight them to the beaches” in limerick. Schade, as they might say in Germany.As a side note, Mercedes put out a new ad for its updated E-Class, a little more hard-edged that you would expect from the three-point-star.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rafjwASCloQ&w=500&h=300]Watch this space, it’s going to get interesting in 2010.

[awesomeness] is a mindset

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God is in the details.The Devil is in the details.A duality?It’s a matter of outlook, I think, a matter of approach.One looks to the heavens, for it sees no line on the horizon, but a canvas to paint its destiny on. The other cowers in fear, always fearing mistakes, never seeing the beauty of the horizon, or the canvas of providence in the heavens above.It is not that one or the other precludes success, but rather defines how you get to it; and what you feel when you get there. Whether you feel this is just the beginning – a platform amidst the stars to soar to even greater heights; or whether you feel relief from having reached the end.A subtle chain of countless rings,the next unto the farthest brings.