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The future of AKQA?

20 Sep


There is something to be said for being independent. Oh to be free from holding companies and the fattening of their pockets. This has always been one of the main reasons why I’ve admired AKQA. They became an incredibly successful agency without being anyone’s bitch.

Then General Atlantic took a majority stake several years ago and everyone wondered what would happen to them. AKQA proved to everyone they could keep their cool and hold their own. And the work got even better.

Now word on the street is that there are interested buyers again. But this time it’s financial giant, Morgan Stanley as well as Dentsu.

If they sell now, will their soul be lost forever? Or will they prove once again that they are a major force to be reckoned with? Only time will tell. Although, I have a pretty good feeling that nothing can stop them or their passion for creating breakthrough creative–not even a financial giant.

AKQA creates Augmented Reality with an actual purpose

15 Jun
Augmented Reality by AKQA in DC

Augmented Reality project by AKQA in DC

Nowadays, augmented reality is picking up steam. As more companies delve into augmented reality, we’re starting to see lots of cool tricks. But AKQA’s Washington, DC office decided to do something different with augmented reality for their client, the US Postal Service.

Augmented Reality Project by AKQA in DC

Augmented Reality project by AKQA in DC

Have you ever wanted to ship something and you’re not exactly sure what size box to pack it in or how much it will cost? Thanks to AKQA’s smart augmented reality solution, you no longer have to wonder. And for users who aren’t familiar with augmented reality, they’ve created a short video that shows you how to create a virtual shipping box in 3 easy steps.

Imagine that. Augmented reality with an actual purpose.

Augmented Reality project by AKQA in DC

Augmented Reality project by AKQA in DC

Augmented Reality project by AKQA in DC

Augmented Reality project by AKQA in DC

Watch AKQA’s augmented reality video:

Asian Heritage Month: Rei Inamoto

15 May

As part of Asian Heritage Month, I would like to celebrate Asians/Asian-Americans in advertising. There are so few of us and I would like to acknowledge those who have broken through glass ceilings and are successful in advertising. I hope you find their point of view refreshing and inspiring.


It is a challenge to keep up with the change, but I’d rather deal with the change then become complacent. -Rei Inamoto



AKQA's Rei Inamoto

AKQA's Rei Inamoto

Rei Inamoto is a Global Creative Director at AKQA. Yes, there is an Asian in one of the highest posts in all the land. 

Read one of Rei Inamoto’s interview with Portfolio Center.

Read about Rei Inamoto’s Undiscovered Letter.

James Jarvis’ “Onward” for Nike

5 May

If you’ve got 5 minutes to kill, check out this sweet animation done by AKQA. It makes me want to run. And that’s saying something.

Interact 2008 September 29-30 Washington DC

6 Oct

I attended Interact 2008. They had a ton of speakers from shops like AKQA, Sapient, Razorfish, Adobe, R/GA, Google, Cisco, etc.

Taking it all in–and boy was there a lot to take in–here are the conclusions I came to.

Traditional advertising is a one-way dialogue.

Print: “Read me.”
Radio: “Listen to me.”
TV: “Watch me.”

We dictate what people should know, think, feel. We don’t care what they have to say. And we don’t want to know. Traditional advertising is completely about the client. I’m talking to you. But I’m not listening to you.

Interactive advertising is a two-way dialogue.

Mobile/Web: “Interact with me.”

We want to know what’s on users’ minds. The good, the bad and the ugly. You are talking to consumers. And they are talking back. They are expressing themselves. You are building an experience so they interact.

Everyone’s creative. Creatives. Account folks. Brand planners. Studio peeps. Administration. Even consumers. Involve consumers. Let them be a part of the conversation, the experience.

Why do we depend on media to advertise our projects? (i.e. banners to promote a new site, emails to promote a new benefit.) How come we never ask users or involve users in spreading the word? Bloggers? Gamers?

Interact 2008

23 Jun

Finally the Big Guns are coming to town. Interact 2008 is happening in Washington, D.C. on September 29th and 30th. Everyone from AKQA, R/GA, Google, Threespot Media, Avenue A/ Razofish, etc. will be there. They’re expecting 1000 people to attend.

Rarely do we get these kinds of events in this area, so I really hope my boss lets me go.

AKQA’s Lars Bastholm has something to say

4 Jun

Every person who works in advertising should watch this.

It’s long and it was filmed a year ago. But it’s a fantastic interview.

Now that people are spending more time online, how come agencies don’t allocate their budgets more to interactive? Who do agencies spend $1,000,000 producing a television commercial and just $100,000 on a microsite? And the best part is the art card at the end of the spot; it tells viewers to go online to book. If the commercial is supposed to drive traffic online, shouldn’t the budget be distributed better?

Some ad people embrace interactive. Others, not so much. It’s these others that concern me. Back in the day, the ideas agencies created shaped our culture. Today, users are shaping our culture and affecting what we do as advertisers. Users are smart, creative, friendly, interesting, funny, talkative, and powerful. To not embrace the medium is to turn your back on users. And when you do that, you might as well call it a day.

This is a great example of telling a story to drive people to the web.