We’ve seen fair coffee, fair chocolate, and, of course, fair trade in general. But we haven’t seen a fair phone yet. The reason is that to produce consumer electronics you need lots of resources and knowhow. What’s more, the mobile phone supply chain is so complicated and intransparent that making this commodity ‘fair’ is quite an ordeal. Dutchman Bas van Abel has bravely taken up the challenge. Together with an international team, Van Abel is now developing the Fairphone, a phone made with fair wages, conflict free tin and tantalum, and a replaceable battery – among other things. To succeed the brand needs to sell 5,000 phones in advance, before it’ll start production. The quality of the phone is ensured by the many external parties supporting it; a technology startup investor, several NGO’s, and even parties like Vodafone and KPN. Though you don’t exactly know when you’ll actually receive your phone, it only costs €325, and comes with buckets full of karma. Reasons enough to help Fairphone take ‘fair’ to a whole new level. The commercial was created by Dawn - maybe Fairphone should ask Dawn to also design a professional logo.
Mercedes Benz together with FHV/BBDO (idea), Pixplicity (technical), and Momkai (design) developed an app for your phone that centrally manages your energy usage, thus extending your battery life. Quite a nice brand utility, spreading the intelligence of Mercedes’ Blue Efficiency. On the other hand, to us it feels a little superfluous. We know how to extend the battery life of our phones – e.g. by turning off the data exchange. And 20% doesn’t make a world of difference. If you’re the kind of person that is often low on battery, you’d be better off buying an extra battery. Anyway, the app is only available for Android – probably because Apple doesn’t allow apps to mess with their settings.
What a perfect idea. A ‘KINGsize’ peppermint roll specially made for the coronation of Prince Willem Alexander. Instead of the usual brand name King (a Dutch brand that exists since 1922), it reads: “His majesty King Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands, Prince of Oranje-Nassau” – three new titles for the Prince becoming King. 1000 copies of this limited edition roll, measuring 1 meter in length and containing 189 peppermints, will be handed out to the public during Queensday – or actually Kingsday, as from tomorrow. The idea was conceived by Being There.
During carnival – which ends more or less today – it’s hard to make yourself understood. Not just to because your speech might slur a little, but also because of the noise and the bartender being too far away. So, a device that helps you to write down your order over and over again – you can swipe the message clean, doesn’t need a mobile connection, and even carries your drinks, seems a soberly smart solution. Since Bavaria is based in Lieshout, in the heart of the carnival action, the ‘praatplaat’ makes an excellent marketing premium coming with two six-packs of Bavaria. Created by Natwerk.
A few weeks ago Natwerk started an indiegogo project to raise $25K for the UpperCup – what a great name! After getting too many serious reactions, Natwerk feared that people didn’t quite catch the agency’s sense of humour. A post from a Japanese blog, for example, mentioned that the UpperCup was a little too thick. So, they created a second film, featuring some improvements they made upon the crowd’s feedback. After having seen this second film, it should be quite clear that this project is a sympathetic hoax.
Agencies creating their own products is becoming a trend. Here’s another one. JWT Amsterdam created the packaging for a paraffin block to light your fireplace; The Greatest Fires in History – “Now in your living room” – depicting five different cityscapes on fire; Rome, Tokyo, Chicago, London, and San Francisco. The press release: “Though back in the year 66 AD, Rome burned for 6 long van days, you can now have it burned to ashes in just 3 hours. Whilst enjoying a good book and a fine glass of wine.” Ha!
We like agencies that make their own stuff. That is, not for a client, but directly for the consumer. That’s what brand new agency Sue Amsterdam did with Salon Désir, a webshop (or “e-commerce platform”) for luxurious lingerie. According to Astrid Groenewegen, partner at Sue – and as columnist on AAB a big advocate for design for excitement, executed ideas, and the importance of porn – the agency is now practicing what it preaches. Sue is all about adding brands to the world that actually make a difference for the consumer. To do just that the platform will even inspire its consumers – “almost like a magazine.” It should also proof that the agency understands the digital age, and it will accordingly deploy a conversion driven strategy that uses all the available analytics – monitored by the other partner Tom de Bruyne – and by constantly adapting the platform to its customers’ needs. Salon Désir should thus be the proof of the pudding for Sue’s raison d’être – to stay in the French mood a little.
Amsterdam agency Gummo is world famous for its stylish interior; using recycled furniture, all painted grey. Four years ago this was the fruit of a collaboration between Gummo, I29 architects and Krimpex Coating Systems. According to Gummo, they were inspired by the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ philosophy – even the coating is environmentally friendly. Why not make a brand out of it, they recently thought. Which is actually what Gummo has thought before, after having tasted the best cookies ever on a beach in California – they turned it into John Altman cookies. So, apart from cookies Gummo is now also selling recycled furniture under the name As good as new. For those of you who aren’t into colour too much; the furniture is on display at the fashionable SPRMRKT.