Kids have boundless imaginations. No matter how poor, colorless and toyless their environment, they’ll find a way to play. They will play with stones, twigs, grass and water, and they will play with each other. They’ll think up ways of turning mundane items into creations that have all the life of the latest computer game.
But only if they are lucky enough to have the free time to play, are not too hungry to move about, or have water to play with.
In this light, what our urban kids have available to them, is excessively abundant. They have daycare and play spaces, parks, playgrounds, even yards. Yet, when we look at the basic play environments in our communities, there’s no denying that they are sadly short of what they could be. With some color, imagination, labor and resources, they could all be so much better.
There are wonderful examples of this, such as the recent “accidental” kids’ park at Madison Square Park in New York. It is an art installation by artist Jessica Stockholder, commissioned by the Madison Square Park Conservancy.
The installation includes a multicolored triangular platform, a sandbox of bright-blue rubber mulch, multicolored bleachers and painted pavement. It was not intended originally as a children’s play space, but kids have taken to it like crazy, surprising both the artist and the Conservancy. The lesson we can learn from this is that if we point our resources in the right direction, the result can be infinitely fun and rewarding for everyone involved.
We spend millions annually on "adult playgrounds" — stadiums, concert halls, bars, restaurants. We spend billions advertising and promoting them. Why is it that we do not seem to want to dedicate the necessary resources to give our children the best we can offer?
Every dedicated kids’ arts organization will be able to point you to reams of research reports that show that early access to arts and arts education aids children in all aspects of their lives later on.
They will build self-confidence; discover their abilities, skills and talents; and in the best of circumstances, they will grow to be fantastic contributors in their communities. Yet another reason to make sure our kids live and play in environments that are rich in creativity, arts and inspiration.
If this generation of children is going to be responsible for solving the problems of a world where children are still too hungry to play at all, then we should be paying closer attention. We should be giving our kids — regardless of their resources — all the support and inspiration we can.
Anyone with creative ideas, energy, staff and money, can give to kids in his or her neighborhood. Who knows what could happen, if we as individuals, companies and cities paid as much attention to our kids’ play environments as we do to our own? - Tuija Seipell
Developers, city councils wanting to see ideas and concepts in how to design super cool educational environments and playgrounds effectively, contact our marketing agency, ACCESS AGENCY.
The game of marketing has changed fundamentally. Taking out uninspiring, run-of-the-mill print and TV ads doesn’t fly any more. Marketing a brand effectively requires exceptional ideas and concepts that are entertaining and unusual enough to capture the imaginations of today’s cynical, ad-wary consumers. Our advice is to go beyond the traditional media to capture your audience in other platforms as well – offline brand experiences that DEMAND consumer attention.
Brave, new, exciting, entertaining offline experiences are talked about, blogged about and spread through social media. This is viral marketing at its best and most effective. If the idea is good, nothing can stop its spread. We spend all of our waking hours evaluating and creating such ideas. We see more innovation and ideas and concepts each day than we ever thought possible and the ideas we’ve created have achieved incredible attention. We have access to a global roster of creative talent of all disciplines whom we can tap for our projects. For more info contact our marketing agency ACCESS. Bill Tikos
Creating compelling and unique brand experiences is what our new marketing agency ACCESS does best. The incredible interest that media, brands and readers have shown in our postings of just some of our ideas -- McFancy McDonald’s, Puma Spinstar, Mini Car wraps and Transformers Skate Park -- shows clearly why brands are so keen on creating these kinds of experiences.
These are experiences that are talked about, blogged about and written about. Just Google McFancy McDonald’s and you will get over 10 pages and over 6 million views. Not one of these concepts even exists yet, (with the exception of Mini) but the media interest, online buzz and brands approaching us to experience our way of thinking offers rock-solid proof that they are an effective way to create brand awareness.
Our agency ACCESS taps into our global creative community to offer brands exceptional ideas and execution. If a brand is unable to register an image, product or service in the public’s mind with impact, it has little hope of being relevant. Traditional methods of creating visual impact and effective recall are no longer enough. Today’s consumers demand much more. It takes much more to register under their radar. Imaginative and impactful marketing is now more than ever a core function of a successful consumer-facing business. And to be successful in today’s increasingly competitive environment, companies must learn to stage experiences that engage and speak directly and personally to each of their customer segments. Exciting, unusual, cool brand experiences -- both on and offline -- are capturing the imagination of today's consumer. If it is not memorable, then it is just wallpaper.
Our latest project is for Moët - a champagne & chandeliers event showcasing over 100 chandeliers, made from crystal, glass, neon, plastic, paper in a space that can be adapted to suit any environment, from a digital-style marquee at the races to a smaller venue.
Here’s a glimpse at what we are working on.
Transformers 3 Media launch - pop up skate ramp
With fuzzed out guitar swells, biscuit tin snare drums, drowsy, shuffling vocals, and a Google-defeating band name, Portland’s 1,2,3 have everything a day-dreaming indie rock romantic could hope for. Already courting both blogs and indie radio waves, this duo will be on repeat for the rest of the year without question.
With just one track to their name - the epic synths and vocoder frenzy named Futuretapes - it’s probably too early to proclaim Philadelphia based collective CSLSX the best new act we’ve heard in 2010. But screw it, we’re going to say it anyway. Because what we’ve heard so far is bordering so close on perfect that it’d be scary if we weren’t too busy dancing.
Hailing from a seriously chilled hideaway in Australia’s Queensland, Flight Facilities are two young dudes causing a big stir with their smoothed-out house tracks. Already grabbing the attention of heavies like Aeroplane and the Bang Gang, these guys are making sax solos in dance tracks cool again. And that can’t be a bad thing.
The next heiress to the pop princess crown, Florrie has been making all the right moves towards chart domination, including star hook-ups with bonafide hit-makers like Fred Falke and Xenomania, the same team that made Girls Aloud and Sugababes so inescapable. That’s a very tight pedigree, but of course it always comes down to the tunes, and so far it’s looking as though has a knack for hooky, delirious pop tunes. Expect big things.
With every rapper with a mic rallying to be a part of the next crop, 2010’s break out star seems to unanimously be North Carolina’s J. Cole. Having already impressed hip hop big guns like Wale, No I.D. and Jay-Z (who signed the 25 year old to his Roc Nation label) and a debut album (Cole World) due to drop in a matter of months you can expect be hearing a lot from him at every turn.
With a knowing nod to ‘80s smoothies like Toto and Hall & Oates, Sydney tunesmith Matt Van Schie has brought the pop back to synth-pop with his Balmy Nights EP from earlier this year. He’s got another run of tunes due before he settles back into his fulltime band Van She, so lovers of seriously smooth music should get their fill while they can.
Mixing pounding tribal drums with glowing neon synths for some twisted ‘calypso-electro’ sounds kind of terrible on paper, but one listen to New York production team Tanlines and their infectious tracks and we promise you’ll be converted to the gospel. - Dave Ruby Howe and Oli Queen
People have always wanted to climb higher and see farther. We’ve built towers and turrets, spires and steeples, lookouts and skyscrapers to see and to be seen. The achievement of height makes us proud and somehow secure. We can see all enemies from here. Our church is visible from everywhere. Our building is the tallest in the world.
There’s power and prestige in being high up but there’s also exhilaration. People want to go up, maybe even to be a bit scared, and they want to see far and wide.
A week doesn’t go by without us seeing at least one new observation deck, luxury tower, ski lift or lookout structure that meets those needs. The Stockholm Globe Arena, known as the Ericsson Globe, apparently the world’s largest round building, is not a new project, but we’ve grown fond of its brand-new addition: the cute little glass orbs that climb up the rounded skin of the structure. The pair of classic-looking orbs, called unimaginatively SkyView, carry 16 passengers each as they scale the Globe on rails operating based on ski-lift technology. The trip up takes three minutes and a round-trip visit takes 20 minutes.
The multi-use complex of the Globe includes a 16,000-seat arena that will host Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston and Rod Stewart among others this spring. Tuija Seipell
And just opened this week in Singapore is Marina Bay Sands.
Loft Hamburg, located in a restored building in Winterhude district of Hamburg, is a private 118 square-meter residence designed by Graft. The focal point of the high-ceilinged and otherwise white space is a large pod paneled with walnut. The pod contains the residence’s kitchen and bathroom, hides its central heating, cooling and plumbing, and even provides some cupboards and bookshelves. The owner was looking to use a wide variety of materials, and the walnut pod contrasts beautifully with the soft fabrics, leather and natural stone used elsewhere in the loft.
Graft is an architecture, urban planning and design company established in 1998 in Los Angeles by German architects (,) Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz, Thomas Willemeit and Gregor Hoheisel, all now in their early forties.
Their Berlin office opened in 2001, and Beijing office in 2004. Alejandra Lillo joined Graft as the fifth partner in Los Angeles in 2007. - Tuija Seipell.
Time to have some offline fun with The Cool Hunter! Once again, we are aiming to create some buzz all over the world, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Sydney, Paris, Barcelona, Singapore, Sao Paulo, Rome, Tokyo, Toronto.
People who may not have heard about TCH yet, will find themselves Coolhunted. We will place cards at art galleries and events with inspiring visuals. We’ll slide bookmarks in certain business books in bookstores.
We’ll put stickers on magazines on magazine stands. We’ll stick them on cars that need an upgrade and on cars that already have a sense of style. Bikes, vespas and cool helmets will not be safe either.
And the most talked-about version of this stunt: In clubs, at parties, fashion week, and other events, people will find stickers on the backs of their friends -- or on their own back -- that say “OOWWWAA, aren’t you a hottie! You have been Coolhunted.”
Whenever we have done this kind of offline campaign, we see huge numbers of people find us for the first time. They talk about it on Twitter and Facebook and we love all that talk! Welcome to all those who’ve already been Coolhunted.
When it happens to you, we want to know about it! Have you discovered TCh via our stickers?
The headline implies that there is a “body” whose anatomy you can analyze. The whole point of cool is that it does not have a body available for analysis. It’s like a ghost instead of a corpse. That’s why it is cool.
Just like all comments on cool, our analysis is completely individual and ever-changing. Cool is whatever you like and want. Cool is subjective. It is an opinion. But that does not mean that we — as individuals, brands, media — are not interested in or influenced by others’ views of what cool is.
In this sense cool is a bit like fashion. You decide and choose for yourself what you feel is fashionable within your peer group, your culture, your age group, at your financial level. But someone somewhere has given you the initial clue. Marketers and media have brought out the type of sneaker, the kind of jeans, the brand of handbag that you now like and want. In addition, someone you admire is most likely also wearing it. You follow fashion.
But cool is also definitely NOT like fashion. Cool is more about what the norm is NOT. Cool is elusive, indefinable, covetable. It is original, desirable, and not accessible to everybody. If everyone has it, if the brand becomes saturated, it stops being cool.
Occasionally, a brand manages to remain cool and covetable, and becomes a classic. Of the world-wide brands, examples of this include Apple, Absolut and Mini. Many niche brands have also achieved classic status in their relatively small circle. The defining characteristic of these cool classics is that they keep innovating constantly.
Visual & instant
Cool is visual and instant. When you see it, you like it instantly. If it takes a lot of work to figure out, it is not cool. This does not mean that only simple or simplified things or ideas can be cool. What it does mean is that you need to be able to see it.
This is one reason why cool and coolhunting and trend forecasting became so important to marketers as soon as the internet gave everyone instant access to images. Magazines, TV or advertisers could no longer control what cool looked like. Marketers who were used to being the ones who decided what the next trend or the next fashion was going to be, suddenly had to face this uncontrollable deluge of messages, opinions and information that consumers were passing on to each other. Viral marketing, as opposed to just word-of-mouth, emerged, and it scared traditional marketers.
Today’s consumers are sick of mass marketing and the sameness of brands. They want to be delighted, surprised and wowed by something that is authentic, different and off the mainstream. One of the reasons www.thecoolhunter.net has become so popular and influential is that we do not sell, market or create cool. We just give it an audience.
We process an enormous amount of information and identify what’s hot, exceptional, interesting, covetable. It must have an instantly obvious x-factor. Detecting it is always intuitive. There’s no formula, no rules, no parameters. We do find patterns, parallels and trends, but we do not become stuck in them and start looking for similar things. The intuitive reaction, the ability to observe the world, and the skill to process massive quantities of unrelated information is what we are good at.
All major media outlets follow us at thecoolhunter.net and fill their pages with ideas we feature. When we post a piece about an idea or a brand or a product, it gets an immediate global reaction from traditional media. Brands come to us for ideas and consultation. Individuals enjoy the fact that we prowl the world and bring original ideas to them. And as soon as we gained an audience, marketers, PR people and brands started to send us their material. So it’s an endless cycle.
For me, coolhunting is a fascinating, ever-changing process that no-one can control. You start with a blank space every day and look for something that deserves to fill it. If you don’t find it, you leave it blank. We are not like a newspaper or a daily blog that must find something to fill the space. We only put it out there if it has that elusive, indefinable wow-factor.
Indefinable & in motion
We are not in the business of defining cool, although I am asked to do that every day. Cool cannot have a definition.
But we do run into brands who seem to live under the illusion that if someone just defined for them what cool is, then they would be able to become cool, too. Then they’d know how to create it, market it, promote it, make money from it.
To a limited, impermanent extent, this is, of course, possible. We are regularly asked to come up with cool ideas, cool events, cool promotions — and we do that — but at the core there must already be a cool product, idea, cause, concept. You cannot make something cool by promo. And, if by the sheer brilliance of a cool promotion, you do succeed in creating a publicity or even sales boost for a brand, that does not make the brand cool. Coolness needs to be earned again and again.
To me, the essence of cool is motion. To become and remain cool, a brand must keep innovating constantly. It must remain in constant motion. This same is true for those of us who hunt for it.
While I don’t worry about defining cool for anyone else, I am always fascinated by how the people who follow us define it for themselves. We’ve posed that question recently on our Facebook & Twitter,and received hundreds of responses. They are such a perfect example of the fact that NOBODY can define it and EVERYBODY can. Here’s a sampling of the responses we’ve received. It shows that the definition of cool is always individual. - Bill Tikos
something sleek, simple and bold, that feels effortless.
to be the first, the original that starts a trend and is iconic.
forward-thinking, breaks boundaries, confident. Cool is the idea you wish you thought of first.
the audacity to be different for reasons that don’t need to be articulated & unconsciously achieving it.
effortless style, a hint of madness and heaps of attitude
a mindset —being informed, relaxed, and expressing it effortlessly.
the word 'cool' is just confidence in aesthetic form.
wonderful, clever and beautiful. From oh wow, ahhh, I get it! to it would make me look *good*
Cool is a person not being affected by other peoples opinons, or behaviour -staying cool in a critical situation. A cool person stick to what he/she thinks is right no matter what. A person who works hard to appear cool is the oposite. What is "Cool stuff", like on the Cool Hunter page, is defined by if it stands out, doing it's own thing.
the art of not needing to try to be it, of possessing enough confidence in your own ideas and style to turn heads.
the new ideal; it is moving confidently forward into a better future, assured that things to come will be better.
a person/place/thing pleasurable to observe as it appears to fulfill its nature effortlessly and with signature style
the time you spend to define what cool is, cool is already gone somewhere else. Welcome in the tiring cycle of coolness. :)
We see 'cool' in things/ideas/people that have an innate and untouchable authenticity about them. Things that redefine genres. Spawn global fads and inflame our insatiable appetite for originality and roads even more less travelled than the ones before.
Remaining unaffected and composed in a world which is filled with trouble and uncertainty. Living with a constant Miles Davis soundtrack in the background, acting accordingly.
Cool its everything that makes you think “WOW...“
Cool has nothing to do with the external. There is no object, gadget, fashion, or built environment which is cool by and of itself. The term is only manifest when the external thing becomes utilised and inspired by a person. Cool is merely confidence of character which is then made cool by the appreciation of an audience.
Anything within reason can be made cool by somebody with the power and subtlety to make it individual and authentic - except a Toyota Prius maybe.
Cool is not about trends or fashion, it's about being timeless and effortless.
Something that makes you feel like telling someone else about it.
Cool is only a momentary flash of brilliance ...Before it transforms to conventional.
When pessimistic people say something is cool, I pay attention and usually agree. It takes a lot to impress pessimism
1st image (Woodface) by Nelson Garrido
We are wondering why it is that car manufacturers are tripping over each other inventing boring and redundant “super modern” and “high design” cars, when the end result is a sea of lookalikes. One can no longer recognize a “premium” make from a lower-end car, certainly not by distinctive and recognizable design features.
They are unimaginative, uninspiring and suffer from a serious case of follow-itis. As opposed to being leaders and, in particular, design leaders. We see design tweaks and add-on features advertised as if they were a revolution when in fact, there’s nothing really significantly new or exciting. No wonder so many are giving up cars altogether. Why spend all that money to get what?
Our hopes are up a bit with a sighting of the carbon fiber-bodied “Bella Figura” Bugnotti. It is Delahaye USA’s tribute to Ettore Bugatti’s son, Jean, and it was inspired by the 1937 classic Type 57S. This retro beauty will debut at the Retro Auto at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Aug. 13-15 in Monterey, CA.
We are all for going back to the basics, to looking at the best and most beautiful models of the past and resurrecting them. For example, there is nothing to add to the iconic design of a classic Saab. It was designed for minimal drag and that was partly the reason why the Saab was such a hot ticket as a rally car in the 1960s. And they had 3-cylinder engines, too.
Imagine if we could again drive cars this cool? Of course, they’d have the relevant and useful modern technology and electric power as well. Why is that not possible? - Bill Tikos
Nothing turns heads faster than a cool retro print on an über hot car, and our Space Invader and Pac Man inspired Mini Coopers had half of New York & L.A in a neckbrace from all the attention. Average Joes on the street became home-schooled paparazzi as they snapped away at the Mini on their mobile phones and forwarded them on to friends.
If you think your design has what it takes to get wrapped around a Mini then send it in to us this month and you could see your work blazoned across our exciting new global launch.
See also our Space Invaders pop up skate ramp