Monday, 27 July 2009

Green Idealogy given a boost

The slightly better news for Mother Nature is that desire and virtue are no longer at odds in our minds. That said, the bandwagon effect of ethical consumerism on marketers is plain to be seen. It's obvious that ethics is affecting our culture - showing we care has become highly appealing as well as fashionable and brands ignore this at their peril. The problem is that not all embrace it fully. The resulting effect is higher prices, too much ethical noise and little substance to support it. This means that consumers get bored, feel patronised, stop listening and eventually stop buying. This is bad news for Mother Nature.

Along came New Earth, who not only have a very grown up and contemporary view of all things ethical, but also have managed to join profit and principles at the hip. Eco warrior Bill Riddle and investment guru Mark Scobie have invented a completely unique business model and radical brand architecture to go with it. Where have you seen waste treatment through composting (New Earth Solutions), the recovery of energy from waste (New Earth Energy) and an investment fund wrapped up by one brand?

These very clever boys have a very powerful proposition - so simple it hurts. Revenue stream 1: Local authorities pay to have waste biodegraded through very smart composting chemistry and technology. Revenue stream 2: the bi-product happens to be a really good fossil fuel substitute, but there's a problem; to enable the conversion of waste-derived fuel into renewable energy you need a power plant in the first place!...and these plants are capital intensive a pop so Bill and Mark have set up an investment fund so they can do just that – build their own - and they've already predicted a return of 12%-16% on the investment.

Don't you just wish you'd thought of that!

As brand consultants on the Investment side, we are very privileged to be advising on and producing collateral for the launch of the Eclipse and Premier funds. This is a great addition to our green credentials, already strong with Biottle, a bio-degradable and crushable 500ml water bottle, already attracting interest from some very big and scary brands. Right on.

Posted by James Surridge

Monday, 20 July 2009

This time it's personal

Flash is great. It's come a long way since it was first released as piece of vector animation software over 10 years ago. It's still great FOR animation - probably the best, but now developers are using it to build whole applications for on-line use.

When The National Skills Academy asked Idealogy to develop a way of NSA website users being able to customise and save personalised versions of their 'Smiles-Of-Britain' campaign logo then we knew Flash would be the right tool for the job.

A mini Photoshop would have been near impossible for on-line use only a couple of years ago - but not now - we could be prototyping the functionality within a couple of days - the hardest part was deciding what functionality we needed; what was logical and what was feasible for the application to run efficiently as a web application.

We decided upon giving the users the ability to choose from a selection of 'Smiles' logos to which they could draw on with a pencil tool. They would be able to choose from a range of colours and change the stroke width of the pencil too. We added an eraser and an undo function as well as having the ability to completely clear the canvas and start again.

So it was all very well being able to scribble away, but to give the option for greater personalisation we decided to include an upload facility, enabling the user to upload a picture of their own into the application - they could then scale, skew, rotate and re-position it to their hearts content and to cap it all off they could enter a line of text to the logo which could also be positioned where they pleased.

So there were three parts to this application in reality: the User Interface - Flash took care of that, the functionality and interactivity - Flash took care of that too and the storage of a users brand new logo creation - after all, it would be no good creating a logo if you couldn't use it! So every logo created would need to be saved as a JPEG in a database of users, that way you could always load your logo back into the application and change or update at a later date.

So there you have it, a neat little application that would have been pretty unfeasible a few years ago made very real today.


Posted by Paul Skinner