In a reference to an Indian restaurant chain, Bombay Bicycle Club is a moody, melodic, guitar-driven indie rock band. Three University College School students—all of which 15 years old or younger— formed the Canals in North London in 2005, but then later adopted a fourth member and changed the name of their band. My favorite album is 2011’s A Different Kind of Fix, with highlights How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep, Lights Out, Words Gone, and Shuffle, the latter being my favorite. If you’re in the mood for bouncy, Brit rock, check out this awesome band with a deep catalog.
Slow, contemplative, and stunning, S. Carey is a percussive genius whose main gig is the drummer and pianist for Bon Iver but who also releases solo albums during tour breaks. His songs would play nicely with roadtrips across Iceland or boating during sunset. Try his newest album, Range of Light, for truly beautiful songs Glass/Film and Alpenglow.
With a little twang, reverb, and Bob Dylan-esque vocals, Philadelphia’s The War on Drugs is a great end-of-summer band that makes you feel as if the work day is over. I’m not a huge classic rock fan, but their newest album, Lost in the Dream, is decidedly modern and really good. Try out my favorite songs on the album: Under the Pressure, Red Eyes, and Disappearing.
So what do you think? Any other great new artists or songs that I should hear? Send ’em my way on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.
Some people create a bucket list filled with items that must be completed before they “kick the bucket,” which to me sounds a little too far in the future and also a little macabre.
There are others such as my friend, Danny Dover, who set a specific deadline that is much sooner. Why wait until the end of our lives to create new memories?
Since I didn’t quite finish my 30 Before 30 bucket list—I only gave myself about two years to get it all done—I decided to roll over the few remaining eight items into my 40 Before 40 bucket list. And here it goes.
Since I have ten years until I turn 40, I have until August 6, 2024, to accomplish these. And I only have one rule: the list cannot be modified after my 31st birthday.
As a marketing professional, I probably notice good (and bad) advertising more easily than others. I guess that could be considered a curse to some, but I personally appreciate a well-constructed ad with a clear message and a strong focus on its target audience.
What are the criteria that make a good ad? There are plenty of professional opinions, of course, but in my mind there are just a few:
Make a strong tie to the brand.
Appeal to a target audience.
This past year had some awesome commercials, marketing campaigns, and digital executions. In my opinion, these are the 10 best ads of 2013, although feel free to debate with me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Something set these apart and made them special to me.
10. Honda — “Hands”
It starts with Garrison Keillor making an alluring statement: “Let’s see what curiosity can do.” And then through technical trickery we’re taken on a jaunt through Honda’s many business arms as someone constructs each invention in their hands. I think this ad is brilliant at showing the breadth of invention that Honda has managed to produce over the years. We think of their engineers as tinkerers, thinkers, dreamers, and creators, and this persona is then subconsciously applied to their cars, motorcycles, and engines.
9. Kmart — “Ship My Pants”
With a clever play on words, Kmart managed to make everyone feel a little guilty for watching this in a public setting when others mistakenly heard another word besides “ship.” But because of the cheeky play, this ad was shared everywhere, driving up brand impressions for Kmart. In fact, the ad was so popular that they issued a follow-up, Big Gas Savings. You might also enjoy the wildly popular “Show Your Joe” ad for Joe Boxer.
Agency: Draftfcb, Chicago
Director: Zach Math, Bob Industries
8. Chipotle — “The Scarecrow”
Paired perfectly with a Fiona Apple cover of “Pure Imagination” from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” this Chipotle ad features a computer animated scarecrow discovering the seedy underbelly of mass food manufacturing. The good news: there is a healthier way to feed people, and Chipotle is working hard to be that alternative.
Agency: CAA Marketing, Los Angeles
Animation: Moonbot Studios
7. Guinness — “Wheelchair Basketball”
Many a man has brashly brushed an embarrassed tear from his face after watching the twist at the end of this ad for Guinness beer. And I was most certainly not one of them. Really, I wasn’t…
Agency: BBDO, New York
Director: Noam Murro, Biscuit Filmworks
6. Nike — “Just Do It: Possibilities”
This ad is so perfectly Nike: quick, witty, challenging, and smashmouth. If you can do this, then try something harder. Don’t settle.
With absolutely stunning cinematography shot entirely in Ireland, I think this ad for Tullamore D.E.W. paints a picture that most men will remember as they enjoy a good whiskey with friends.
4. LEGO — “Let’s Build”
Appealing to both the desire to build within children and the inner child within young parents, LEGO nailed the feeling of camaraderie of mutual accomplishment through shared creation. Plus, who doesn’t like children with British accents?
3. Dove — “Real Beauty Sketches”
What hasn’t already been said about this heartwarming ad from Dove? The message resonates with women from any generation: you are more beautiful than you think.
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Brazil
Director: John X. Carey, Paranoid US
2. Apple — “Misunderstood”
My friends know how far-reaching my love for Apple extends, but how can anyone question this? Most people portray teenagers as selfish technology-addicted me-machines, but as a past youth leader I’ve seen them as more than that.
1. Ram Trucks — “Farmer”
I remember watching the Super Bowl with friends and the entire room coming to complete silence when this ad for Ram Trucks started. The unique combination of poetry and silence is haunting. And the tone of the ad is truly American, which is perfect for the intended audience of truck owners. This ad is groundbreaking.
Agency: The Richards Group, Dallas
Other Great Ads from 2013
KitchenAid — “So Much More”
OK, I guess I may be biased. (Full disclosure: I am an employee of Whirlpool Corporation, which owns KitchenAid as part of its family of appliance brands.) But I find our new “So Much More to Make” campaign so ingenious and fun. In each ad is featured “the maker” who delightfully challenges herself (or himself) to new recipes.
Maytag — “Maytag Man: Laundry”
Maytag is also a brand owned and operated by Whirlpool Corporation, but I just can’t help myself because I’m very proud of my colleagues for this new campaign. The Maytag Man is a relaunch of an iconic character which many people easily identify with the brand. And this time, his dry wit and strong demeanor are a perfect fit to carry Maytag into the future. Well done.
For our first tour stop we’ll be checking out The Livery in Benton Harbor, Michigan. In true type A fashion, I created rating sheets for participants (although I mistakenly wrote “Michigan Beer Tour”). You can even hold a tour of your own. Just download and print copies of the Michigan Brewery Tour rating sheet, call some friends, and head out. Don’t forget to designate a driver before the drinking starts!
If you’re truly curious about the amount of good beer in Michigan, check out the newly-released Michigan Beer Film, featuring my hometown favorite, Greenbush! The same folks also made a custom Michigan bottle opener, too.
Lately, I’ve been finding some terrific new music through friends, Twitter, radio, and retreats. If you’ve been pining for new workout tunes or road trip jams, then look no further.
“Mind Games” by Leagues — My good friend, Daniel Deitrich, recently introduced me to Leagues, and I’m sure glad he did! They sound like a mashup up of Kings of Leon, Under the Influence of Giants, and MuteMath. But really, they’re a sound that I just can’t quite pinpoint. Yay for originality!
“Tessellate” by Alt-J — This band is already getting a lot of attention from music critics, and for good reason. They’re a cross between Radiohead and Massive Attack with just a little bit of British flair thrown in. Filled with bizarre melodies and instrumentals, you should probably just listen to this entire album.
“Praise Him” by The Royal Royal — For my Christian worship friends, you might check out this band. They’re pretty interesting musically, but I wish the lyrics were a little more advanced. Promising.
Inspired by Danny Dover and with some prodding by my own restlessness, I’ve been toying with a list of 30 things I want to accomplish before I turn 30 years old which I’m calling my 30 Before 30 bucket list. There is something to say about publicly posting these—maybe it will hold me more accountable?
I would call this my first draft since I’d like to get feedback before it’s final. But I’ve had a few of these on my list for over a year, so I don’t feel like I’m cheating by marking them as complete.
Over the past few years I’ve developed a taste for summer driving during sunset with the windows down. Sometimes I’ll just take off into the countryside without a destination. Rolling hills, fireflies, and nebulous clouds receive bonus points.
The best nights are those where my music accents my mood. I’ve found these recently-released songs bring me the greatest amount of sunset-summer-driving joy.
With the recent addition of Reeder to the Mac App Store, which in its own right deserves much rejoicing, I noticed that my blog reading has substantially increased lately. Some have proposed that Twitter could be slowly killing extended-length written posts on blogs. And while that may be true, there is no shortage of great writers online who carefully cultivate online readerships with wonderful writing and targeted topics.
If you’ve been away from the blog scene for awhile or are simply looking for new material to digest, here are some of my favorite blogs as of late.
Oat and About Chicago
Written by an anonymous and prolific amateur food critic, I have never seen so much attention paid to lowly oats. And the posts are chock-full of hilarious one-liners to boot.
Here you will find anything related to classic drinking culture including snarky comments on fancy establishments and expletive-laden attacks on marketing gimmicks. Cheers!
Expertly researched, cross-referenced, proofed, and linked, this Apple-slanted blog boasts one of the highest readerships online—and for good reason. John Gruber is a pro at finding newsworthy snippets before anyone else. And goodness gracious, his analysis of the inner workings of Apple are usually spot-on.
This blog will be especially interesting to those grid-based-design nerds. Written by Khoi Vinh, a former New York Times Design Director, you should always expect a precisely written post on current technology and its design choices.
I hope you like some of these sweet blogs. Feel free to send me some of your own in the comments or on Twitter @RyanRicketts. I’d especially like to see some good blogs on hiking…