Every so often, we like to bring you news from our clients… so, here’s a fun promotion that started this week at InterContinental Milwaukee. The hotel is celebrating Jersey Boys coming to town with a special music series and themed food and drinks from now until Aug 14, 2011.

Doo-Wop Music Series
Each Thursday night for the duration the Jersey Boys is playing, InterContinental Milwaukee will host a Doo-Wop-style band from 9:30-11pm. Guests leaving the Marcus Center show can pop over to the hotel to extend their evening with great music, a late-night bite and delicious drinks. Following is the schedule of performances.

July 28 Jerry Stephani
Aug 4 Milwaukee Rat Pack
Aug 11 Four Guyz in Dinner Jackets

Jersey Boys-Inspired Food & Beverage Menu
CLEAR Bar and Lounge, located on the lobby level of InterContinental Milwaukee, will be serving up a special Jersey Boys menu featuring specialties from the East Coast like Disco Fries, Jersey “Bean Crock” and Sausage Hoagies.

InterContinental’s Jersey Boys-inspired drinks include The Four Seasons, made with Pomegranate White Ginger Tea and Veev Acai Berry liquor; Sherry, made with Van Gogh Acai-Blueberry Vodka and rosemary syrup and December, 1963, made with Van Gogh Pineapple Vodka, basil syrup and homemade litchi puree. Additionally, the bar has just expanded its selection of craft beers, adding 11 new choices.

If you’re a Jersey Boys fan—or just a fan of good music, food and drinks—swing by InterContinental and check it out!

July 22, 2011 · Posted by in event  

Hammer Time!

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You may have seen this tweet come through last week and wondered (as you often do) what the heck we were talking about…

The video is still in progress, but since we’ve got some of the shooting done, I thought I should share some of the stills we have so far.

Hammer

Hammer

Hammer

Now that you’ve seen the hammer (and the arm that’s swinging it) along with a tiny piece of glass, you’ll probably assume we’re smashing tiny pieces of glass with a hammer.

Well, you’re half correct. I’d tell you more, but I really don’t want to give away the ending yet. :)

July 21, 2011 · Posted by in video  

Hate is a strong word. I bet it seems especially strong if you’re a PR manager for a company considered one of the “most hated.”

Business Insider recently published its list of the most hated companies in America, based on findings from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which rates companies based on thousands of customer satisfaction surveys. Here’s the top 10.

1. Pepco (Potomac Electric)
2. Delta
3. Time Warner Cable
4. Comcast
5. Charter Communications
6. US Airways
7. United Airlines
8. American Airlines
9. MySpace
10. Facebook

As you can see, there are some common themes here. Multiple airlines, utilities and cable companies all top the list, which isn’t too terribly surprising. (At least they know they are on the same level as their competitors.) With the hyper-popularity of Facebook, though, I’m a little shocked it made the list. Must be a love/hate thing going on there.

So, how would companies go about getting off lists like these? Probably a significant investment in strategy, time and money.

View the full list.

July 15, 2011 · Posted by in pr  

I’ve mentioned the Makerbot before, which could be called an affordable 3D printer. It’s also a desktop printer, which I think is important, because in the old days of our industry, printers were very large, and very expensive, and when “desktop publishing” came along, we saw printers get smaller and cheaper, to the point where you could buy one and put it right on your desk.

So while not everyone is ready for a 3D printer (it comes in a kit you have to assemble, and costs over $1,200) there are some other interesting desktop tools out there that just a few years ago, didn’t really exist.

Silhouette

The Silhouette looks like a printer, but it’s a desktop cutting tool. These are used by scrapbookers and crafters, but for designers who want to mock-up a die-cut business card, cut their own vinyl, or do short-runs of things that you couldn’t justify doing with an outside vendor, it’s an affordable solution. It can even be used to etch glass! You can get one today for less than $300.

ShapeOko

Since we’re taking about machines that cut, there’s another machine that caught my interest recently. The ShapeOko is best described as a “CNC Mill” which is a device that can cut away at materials (typically wood or plastic) to create various things like signs, art, templates, etc. If you’ve ever used a router, think of this as a similar device, but controlled with a computer, much like your printer.

One of the interesting things about this project (and it is a project not a product yet) is that the person behind it is attempting to raise funding to complete the project using Kickstarter, which is a web site that helps people with ideas get funding for them, directly from people who like the ideas.

ShapeOko has already raised 5 times what they had hoped for, which tells you that people are definitely interested in a small, affordable CNC mill. Once the project is complete, anyone will be able to download all the plans and build their own, or even start a business selling them. Right now the best-guess is that it would cost you about $300 to build the ShapeOko, and you’d be able to use free/open source software to run it.

Lasersaur

CNC mills are neat, but if you want the epitome of cool, you’ll want a laser cutter. These machines can cut through a variety of materials, including paper, fabric, wood, plastic, and in some cases, metal. Laser cutters are not yet to the point where they’ll fit comfortably on your desk, and they are not cheap! Commercial laser cutters probably start in the range of $10,000 or more. People have built their own, but you really need to know what you’re doing, and yes, it is dangerous. (If you’ve got a laser that can cut through wood, imaging what it can do to your skin.)

Laser cutters aren’t just for cutting, and can also be used to engrave things. If you’ve ever used a drill or a saw or a hand-held engraving tool, imagine the precision of a laser controlled by a computer. They can do some pretty amazing things.

Just like the ShapeOko, there’s a project called Lasersaur which hopes to create a “cheap, safe, and highly-capable machine” for all your laser cutting needs.

So should you starting clearing some space on your desk? The Silhouette is something a normal person can buy and start using today. As far as having a CNC mill or a laser cutter on your desk, we’re not quite there, but we’re getting closer. Seeing these tools coming down in cost (and size!) and being made available to everyone is an exciting thing for creative folks.

July 14, 2011 · Posted by in art, design, misc  

360 degree panorama

We’ve been doing some 360° panoramic photography lately. It involves using a panoramic head, shooting a lot of photos at a lot of angles, and using specialized software to stitch it all together and create an immersive experience.

360 degree panorama

The two images above are samples of photos stitched together but not put into the viewer software. I think they look pretty cool as is, since it gives you a view of a space you can’t actually get by just looking at it. It’s similar to how HDR imaging provides you a view of the world that exists, but you can’t really see.

July 13, 2011 · Posted by in art, photo  

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