Digital Storytelling for Branding


I’ve started collecting instances of animated digital stories. This video from Moo.com matches their light and quirky branding. The music is bluegrass-y, the visuals march along at double-speed, and the stickers created in the video would be very familiar to their average viewer: likely a professional, artist, small business owner or professional artisan. I challenge you to show me a person who is in the market for $50 business cards who hasn’t been exposed to a small batch handmade soap or exotic coffee from Smallsville, St. Elsewhere.

A caption-less video that affords the viewer an omnipresent procedural view, assumes that the viewer already possesses a baseline understanding of the subject. The video then is not purposed as an informational piece, it is a promotional one.

The video shows the entire production process;  from when the user initiates the order, to the printing, cutting, order fulfillment and mailing then finally end-user implementation. The video presents each part of the process so quickly that the viewer quickly realizes that one must grasp the images as meaning or else miss the entire message. The video doesn’t have any captions or titles, so the speed remains constant throughout, and there is no external presence inserted. We are left to our own devices to interpret the images before us. This indicates that MOO assumes that the viewer already understands or has a baseline conceptualization  of  the product design interface, printing press and paper cutting process.

A person without such a mental schema would not understand the images presented to them.

For example, we, the omnipresent viewer, watched the user design their stickers “at home”. Next, we watched the file become a printed object. We saw the “chomp” motion of the paper-cutter, and we watched the disembodied hands of the worker gather the stack and place it into the MOO package. As the omnipresent viewer, MOO gave us a front row seat to  view of the entire process, and are thus expected to understand it, to comprehend it, to make sense of it because of the social capital we bring to he table.  Such a video assumes a baseline knowledge on our part, which indicates their audience has certain  experiences, information and professions which would need their services.

Moo presents this video on the front page of their website with the caption:

Ever wondered how we go about making our products? Well, for the very first time ever we’ve caught it all on camera.

It is advertising lay-speak : akin to the hunter laying on their belly on the forest floor, so that he or she will blend into the bushes. The hunter wants to be hidden, obscured from view.  This particular  introduction implies that MOO accidentally caught the slippery production process on tape, like a puffin just wandered into the trap of their frame, and they decided to share it with the rest of us who have no idea what the centuries old printing process looks like.

Clever. Clever indeed.Even knowing all that I do about digital storytelling and advertising, I’m still designing my MOO cards…how DO they make them anyways…. 🙂

Wall-E and Dead Prez


Dear Thinkers:

Avant garde in their divergent yet specific ways. Pixar’s Wall-E and Brooklyn rap duo Dead Prez entreat us to Be Healthy and to treat plant life with its due respect. Whereas Wall-E urges us to protect plants and appreciate all forms of  non-human life, Dead Prez tempts us away from animal-based diets with descriptions of delicious urban vegetarian meals.

Both Wall-E and Dead Prez appeal directly to their target audiences. Wall-E successfully glues their trademark animation, wit, nostalgia and US History and culture to the parallel blossoming of Robot and Human PG rated romances.

Dead Prez describes wholesome, delicious vegan meals to city-dwellers who often choose for inexpensive, energy depleting fast food. Their flow and metaphor is skillfully familiar to native New Yorkers, although it may be startling to folks from elsewhere who have differently ideas of what constitutes rough / racy or ‘improper’ language.

Wall-E is an entertaining and heart-warming love story that inadvertently forecasts diminishing human health, excess consumption, diminished sociality as the dangerous outcomes of passive acceptance of a patriarchal capitalist State (authoritiarian, government that supports business rather than citizens). Wall-E represents the essential feminine emotion within us all, the child-like wonder and attention to beauty that is necessary to balance the harsh structure of the very same patriarchal capitalist State.

The soundtrack for this YouTube video is Be Healthy by Dead Prez. It was filmed in a GreenMarket in Hamilton, Ontario. This fellow gets an “A” for courage. Hamilton, Ontario gets an “A” for allowing this particular freedom of expression and you, my dear community get ‘A’ WARNING that there is strong, urban language at the end of the song. This disclaimer means that I bear no responsibility for any issues offense taken at the language.

Portrayals of New York

Another interesting parallel between these two works are the portrayals of New York. Wall-E creates an appropriately garbage hewn New York with the Cubist high-rises he sculpted out of ‘mountains and dunes’ of compacted garbage. Dead Prez’s artfully describes (via shifts in elocution and rhythm) the cuisines of the diverse peoples living in beautiful Brooklyn, New York: Soul Food-Black American, Curry Falafel-Middle Eastern, Ital Stew, Green Callaloo – West Indian to name just a few!

Heard any good ‘nature’ stories?


My Thinking, Feeling, Friends!

Let’s discuss and decode your favorite nature oriented art, song, cinema, music or family traditions! I am archiving current ideas of nature-culture that are a part of your / our everyday life. You can honor your favorite stories, songs, movies, art or artists by contributing to our growing database of the various nature-culture oriented messages we inadvertently encounter or receive during our everyday activities.

I need your help. I am looking for current or persistent myths in our everyday life that discuss Nature / Animal / Plant:

  • Interactions with each other (in any combination)
  • Ecologically sound practice 
  • Interpersonal connections with other people or descriptions of meaningful interactions between people and nature

Would you send me links to or notes about authors, artists and bands, song, movie or book titles, family stories etc. that touch on these topics. I welcome your thoughts about items you send, though this is completely optional – some people may prefer to just send me links or the titles / stories straight away!

Welcome to Think. Feel. Grow!


Thinkers! Feelers! Friends!

Welcome to Think. Feel. Grow! For the foreseeable future, and with your help, we will think deeply about the various ways that our relationship to nature and one another is created and reinforced by the Everyday Myths of pop culture.  We will think about the messages encoded in our books, advertising, science,  music, cinema and traditions. We will discuss the way we feel about their affect on our beliefs and choices. The combination of which will help us to grow a sustainable, deeply social and aware community of environmental thinkers, ’emoters’ and doers!

By delving into  art, books, science, advertising, movies and song we will decode the messages we passively imbibe and share with our loved ones. The goal is not to mourn our misguided efforts, but to take the opportunities presented to us every day, to actively envision different ways to think about and relate to nature and one another. Through critique and discussion we will usher in the new way of being by becoming the change that we want to see in this world. Today we begin to co-create!