Stuff I’ve done

“THE ROOM” HONEST MOVIE POSTER

A while back someone told me about a movie so bad it had its own cult following of fans. Fans who would descend on a small cinema in London’s Leicester Square once a month with plastic spoons in their hands.

“The Room” by Tommy WiseauI is a work of art. So terrible it drops off the lowest point of the rating spectrum and comes back round the other side. Here’s a little taste if you haven’t heard of it before:

To put it another way, the film is so bad James Franco directed, produced and stared in a movie about The Room called The Disaster Artist. Which screened at SXSW this year:

So back to the plastic spoons…

Once a month the cinema in Leicester Square, The Prince Charles, hosts a screening of the film. Fans fill nearly every seat in the theatre, and scattered on the floor near their feet, lie hundreds of plastic spoons. The first time I saw the movie there I had no idea what the hell they were for, but you can read more about that here – “The Room  Audience Guide to Participation

When I heard about this rather odd event taking place just down the road from my office in London, I had an idea.

I thought…wouldn’t it be hilarious if someone created a spoof of all those movie posters you see in the Underground. You know, ones like these:

“A knock-out”…yes, very clever.

My idea was simple – use real quotes, reviews and add a few one stars in there for effect. That idea stayed with me for about a year. Until I finally realised that the only thing stopping me from doing it…was the money. And what’s money when you have an idea so exciting you can’t get it out of your head 😉

I contacted a guy called Paul at the cinema to ask for permission, and before I knew it, the director approved the idea, the media agency sent me a quote and I managed to finish the design of the poster just before heading on holiday.

All that was left, was waiting for the poster to go live in Liverpool Street station.

And then it did…

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And here’s a pic of the man Tommy himself…20170209_230019

#TILEART

I’m a massive geek. I love all things gaming, tech and comic related.

So when it came time to start customising the wallpapers and backgrounds on my phone, I gravitated towards artists like Frank Miller who used negative space and colour in interesting ways. I used his artwork and an app that allowed you to pin photos to your home screen to create a mosaic tile effect, like I did here on my first Windows Phone:

When I joined Nokia, and later Microsoft, in 2103 I wanted to bring this idea of “mosaic art” into our marketing. All our Nokia Lumia and Windows Phone ads looked pretty much like the one’s below. Cluttered and a bit plain.

I knew that we weren’t going to compete with Samsung and iPhone on apps. So instead of trying to convince people that we had the things everyone else did, why not focus on something none of them had. A beautiful UI with a lot of creative potential.

I took the idea to my boss at the time, but because of my insistence that the work be focused on art & comics, the idea was shot-down for being “too geeky”. So, I decided that if they wouldn’t let me do it at work, I’d do it myself from home and prove it worked.

That’s when @TileArtGuy was born…

I created a pseudonym using a stuffed Kuala bear and began mocking-up home screens…



In the first 2 weeks of starting the blog I hit 50,000 views. Things got a lot more exciting from there when I spotted this post on Reddit from a Windows Phone user who had found a way to use PNG images to customise his home screen. Might not sound like much, but his work laid the foundation for something awesome, the parallax effect…

Now that the home screens were looking cooler and more people were sending requests, I got an email from someone at Microsoft. Asking me (@TileArtGuy) if I’d be up for contributing to a blog post and maybe doing an interview. The contact from Microsoft was actually a guy running the Lumia blog who I worked with on a daily basis. At the office he told me about an interview he had lined up with this “Tile Art Guy” and that I’d love what he was doing 🙂

I really did enjoy what I was doing.

The site was getting steady traffic. The post on the Lumia blog was one of their most shared and commented-on articles that year and requests for home screens were coming in from all over the place.

That’s when I decided to mock-up the wireframe for an app. An app that would make it easier for everyone to customise home screens the way I had been doing it, only in half the time and without the need for Photoshop.

I took the wire-frame and a plan of action to the office and revealed my identity to the team. My boss still had her doubts, but luckily the Director of Social was there and loved the idea. I got the budget and the app officially went live in the Windows Store 2 months later.
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The real victory was seeing the brand team at Microsoft using the #TileArt app to design beautiful home screens that were used in TV ads and branded content.

FOURSQUARE ENABLED VENDING MACHINE

Back when Foursquare was still a thing, we saw a YouTube video of a billboard in Germany that dispensed dog food whenever people checked-in. It just so happened that we were supporting Nokia’s sponsorship of Social Media Week in Glasgow, and after seeing the German dog food video, we came up with the idea to build one of the world’s first Foursquare-enabled vending machines. The machine dispensed gifts whenever a Social Media Week attendee checked-in using Foursquare. Gifts ranged from Finnish sweets to brand new phones.

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LIGHTSABER PAINTING

This didn’t get a lot of coverage, but it was easily one of my favourite pieces of work at Nokia. A few days before May the 4th we decided to try create “Lightsaber” painting photos using the long-exposure feature on the Nokia Lumia 1020. We went to the park with our agency Cohn + Wolfe and a legend of the light painting scene, Ian Hobson. Long story short, we created some epic photos, I got to dress up in a robe and we got locked in the park at around 1am and had to scale a fence to get out. It was a great experience 🙂 Story here. P.S I’m the idiot in the robe in the top two pics.

 

MEASUREMENT FRAMEWORK

Not the most creative piece of work, but when I first joined Nokia I created the below measurement framework to help us track the success of our digital marketing campaigns. It was used for around 2 years while I was there and “Share” became the digital marketing teams key KPI.

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LAMP

I’m extremely fascinated by lighting. So in November 2016 I decided to attend an “Upcycle a Lamp” course through the Goodlife Centre in London. The only thing I had kicking around my house I could convert was this Dragan wooden box from Ikea. I decided to try create a lamp that could work as a normal light source as well as a night light using plenty of tiny holes drilled in the side.

 

HISTORY IN THE MAKING

First, if you haven’t seen the Internet Explorer “Child of the 90’s” video I highly recommend you check that out below. I always loved that video, and when our boss asked us to come up with an idea to celebrate the merger of Nokia + Microsoft the first thing I did was dig out who the agency was responsible for that IE ad. Column Five, they were a US-based agency and what I loved most about working with them was their confidence to push back on us as the client. I briefed them on the merger and this awesome Rube Goldberg video was the end result…

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SAMSUNG GALAXY HEATHROW STUNT

While at Microsft a good friend and colleague saw that Samsung had taken over Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 and re-branded it as Samsung Galaxy Heathrow Terminal S5. We all thought it was a bit over the top, so 5 of us put our heads together to think of ways we could hijack their takeover and get a little coverage for Microsoft Lumia in the process.

So, another colleague and I met with 2 bloggers at Heathrow airport one sunny Saturday morning with a photographer. We dressed up in astronaut suits and walked into the airport where we took the below photo and posted it to Twitter. Security weren’t very happy and actually came to confiscate our SD card just as we were leaving the airport. Our photographer was sneaky and suspected something of the sort might happen, so secretly handed the real SD card to one of the bloggers who made his escape before they reached us. Fun times 🙂

 

SPEAKING



Ricc Webb, Social Media Experience Manager for Nokia, Einstein & The Lumberjack Masterclass at Social Media Week in New York February 21, 2014. INSIDER IMAGES/Keith Bedford(UNITED STATES)

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