Sights and Sounds of the Whistler World Ski and Snowboard Festival 2008

It’s my day 3 technically at TWSSF and I’ve been truly overwhelmed by the stuff that’s going on here. We’re here to showcase the Overlay.TV technology and build awareness for our brand. Filmmaker Showdown is where we will show our commercial but Fashion Exposed tonight is where we will really prove out this new video experience. We will be working with the event staff to film the entire show and overlay 19 brand segments consisting of clothing/skis/logos for each participating brand. This will be our proof of concept for clickable product placement. See our teaser video on the TWSSF site.

It’s not all work and I’m definitely trying to do a bit of R&R and enjoy the stuff around me. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I was a skier. Go figure… I’m going to one of the most illustrious events of its kind and I don’t have the “Canadian” gumption to engage in its national sport. I do skate if that’s any consolation but it does not help me here in Whistler. So I’ve chosen to après all day every day and take in the concert series, the food, the shopping and the amazing shows.

At 2:30 every afternoon, the skiers come of the slopes directly onto the main stage where they’re met with some of the coolest music from Julian Marley (pics below) The Trews, Ill Scarlet, Blackalicious, L’il Jazz among the many. This plaza is absolutely dead in the mornings as everyone typically takes to the slopes but by mid-afternoon when the sun’s shining and everybody’s ready for a brew and some downtime, this kind of entertainment is just the ticket.

The Filmmaker Showdown was as awesome as I remembered it. The attendance was standing room only…at least 3,000 people here to watch the finalists who had been up for 72 hours creating a 4 minute film masterpiece. The submissions were awesome. The winner, ‘Arbitrarily Pear’ provided this quirky plot about the alternative to stairs….because “stairs are for jerks”….quite funny. The Pro Photographer’s Showdown totally blew me away as it showcased some of the best at their craft showcasing some of the best snowboarding, ski and landscape photos I’ve ever seen. The incredible shots were taken in places that required ability to get to some of the most remote and highest elevation points.

So tonight, Fashion Exposed, tomorrow an Executive Breakfast and back to TO.

Adding value to video

Ok. so I’m all about music lately. This one is my favourite of all time: Pachelbel’s Canon. The video on its own is really compelling but what I did was create a story about the video itself. I wanted to provide some information about the artist behind the music, the number of viewers who were just as inspired as I was with this performance, and lengths the media took to find out who this guy was. Hypervideo can be really powerful if there is perceived value incremental to the content that already exists. I think I’ve done that in this example. Enjoy!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

August Rush

I was fortunate enough to see this movie on my flight out to Vancouver today. It gave me a profound appreciation for the craft and true admiration for those that have the gift to really understand its magic. For someone who doesn’t have an innate ability nor a natural ear for music I have attempted to give it a try after failing miserably in my youth. Now I play the cello and I have a renewed strength and passion for an art that doesn’t come so easily to me. Initially it was a mid-life crisis approach to add some meaning and purpose in my life. And now it has given me a need to start feeling, not only hearing, the sounds as they interplay with the rhythms and strokes of the bow. I turn to it as a necessity and a retreat when nothing else provides this outlet for release. I’ve been taught to listen to the note and correct it as I play as opposed to playing the note and assume the position on the string has made it correct. The attached youtube video encapsulates this awe I’ve felt just watching it….now for probably the 20th time. For years I’ve never really understood nor really appreciated the composition of a rhapsody or sonata, the myriad and dance of each instrument as it weaves itself among the rest, faithfully fulling its role in the song. For the first time I’ve closed my eyes and opened my ears when I play and for me this has made all the difference.

Who says you can’t monetize social networks

You kinda wonder why social networks came to exist in the first place. These were havens/escapes for users who were tired of being bombarded by advertisers who held them handcuffed to the content in exchange for viewing their beacons of intrusive ads and even occasionally clicking on them (please oh please!) to get them to come to their site. Does anybody remember when the internet first emerged and advertising was a no-no. Eventually as with everything else, advertisers went where the masses were congregating and advertising became a necessary evil in order for users to access to the much-needed content.

Now social networks is the new norm, yet another opportunity for marketers –> but somehow the rules have changed. In this space, it’s about influence. it’s not about banner clicks. Playing in this space as an advertiser means you have to tread cautiously. I’ve talked about the “establishment” in previous posts and it’s clearly about learning to adjust in an arena that is dictated by its inhabitants. Big brands can damage their reputations if they fail to be authentic or try to sell themselves in a space where selling is not allowed. It’s also about attempting to and genuinely wanting to create relationships with the users in this space and willing to be open to discussion and criticism in order to grow the brand.

It’ll be interesting to see how the MySpace Plus 3 Major Music lables deal pans out. It almost defeats the purpose for the existence of social networks. And yet it is providing an avenue for labels to make money at a time where CD sales are declining , illegal downloading and file sharing is rampant and the music business is desparately finding ways to stay afloat. On the flip side, the advantage for many of the independent artists who currently have MySpace pages is enormous if they could benefit as well.

But again, will the million of users on MySpace perceive this as yet another imposition by big brands trying to infringe on their time? These users need to be the forefront of this. Strength in numbers dictate that users can change the way they are being marketed to ie creating demand for products they care about as opposed to having that demand pushed on them by advertisers.

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