A Perilous Mission

​Tim Scott and Will Decker are filmmakers on a mission–literally. They spread the Gospel from the jungles of Africa to the mountains of South America.  But spreading the word is not all they do.  Their organization, “Travel the Road”, also documents the expeditions on tape in heart-pounding fashion.
​Tim and Will explore regional problems and issues while facing down raging rapids, crocodiles, and drug labs.   Blending drama, powerful music, and unique editing, they create a captivating weekly television series that is used to motivate church members.  It’s religious work, but it’s also participatory journalism at its best.
​Check out their recent video on the drug labs of Columbia.

Colombian Border Mission from Travel the Road on Vimeo.


Neuromarketing, Or How to Hack a Brain

Consumers are bombarded with thousands of messages a day urging them to buy a product, change loyalties, or for vote for a candidate. Billboards peer down from the sky. Ads stare from magazine pages. Banners flash from web pages.  Commercials blare from televisions and radios. To break through this jumble, advertisers are increasingly pressed to hone a better message that will reach their core consumers and influence opinions. And, they think they found it with a technique called neuromarketing.

Neuromarketing is not that new, but in recent years it’s found new converts. The question facing marketing gurus is whether neuromarketing is the promise of the future or just another trend (whatever happened to subliminal advertising anyway).
Neuromarketing first showed potential in a Pepsi versus Coke challenge in 2003.  Neuroscientist Read Montague placed his subjects in an MRI and watched brain responses while they tasted the colas.  Without knowing what they were drinking, half preferred Pepsi.  But, once they were told which samples were Coke, three-fourths said that the Coke tasted better.
Simply mentioning Coke not only changed the subjects’ verbal responses, but also lit up their brains. Montague concluded that years of Coke’s advertising campaigns planted positive images in the brain that overrode the subjects’ taste buds.

Since then, the science of neuromarketing has evolved.  Researchers are now using MRI’s and skullcap EEG scanners to peer into the deep subconscious, measuring responses to a client’s products and messages in real time.  

A neuromarketing firm in Berkley, California is taking the research a step further.  At Neuro Focus, volunteers are plugged into EEG skullcaps and eye tracking devices. The tandem devices enable researchers to correlate eye movement with brain activity.  

A. K. Pradeep is the founder of NeuroFocus. He recently told a Frontline web producer, “We are able to measure attention, emotion and memory.”  “We basically compute the deep subconscious response to stimuli.” Add all those electrical patterns together, says Dr. Pradeep, and “you find it represents the whispers of the brain.”

Once research data is crunched, new commercials and campaigns can be crafted.  Researchers are pushing forward hoping to discover a magic button in the brain…the “buy button”.

Movie studios, television shows, car companies, and food giants are now hacking into consumers’ brains.  Sometimes the findings are surprising. Frito-Lay discovered that consumers actually liked that yellow, sticky mess that Cheetos leaves behind on the fingers (sort of a guilty subconscious pleasure).  So what advertisers initially thought was a product drawback actually is a new marketing angle.

While some marketing groups swear by neuromarketing, others aren’t so sure.  Ray Poynter is a social-media consultant in England.  Poynter says neuromarketing is more hype than science. He told fastcompany.com that, “Neuromarketers are over claiming massively.” “While it is likely to reduce the number of bad mistakes, and slightly increase the chance of good things happening, it’s all a matter of degree.”

Paul Root Wolpe is a bioethicists and director at the Emory Center for Ethics. He calls neuromarketing “iffy technology.  He was recently quoted as saying, “The idea is that somehow neuromarketing is going to be so much more powerful that, like zombies, we are all going to go out and buy soap…that is just not realistic in terms of the way the brain works.”

Despite the naysayers, neuromarketing is booming. Companies with new products to sell and old products to repackage are searching for next Holy Grail of advertising, looking for a new way to break through the marketing clutter.  


And the Winner is …

It’s all about the commercials.  Watching Super Bowl Ads is becoming as big as the event itself.  It’s must see TV that lowers American productivity while increasing water cooler talk for at least a week.
​This year’s Super Bowl between the triumphant Giants and the Patriots drew more 111.3 million viewers for a new broadcast record (111 million last year).  Social Media mentions are tracked too and guess what—another record.  Last year the Super Bowl had 1.8 mentions; this year there were 12.2.
Andrew Fisher CEO of Shazam, the app for identifying songs, was tracking mentions as were other internet companies in the social television realm.
“The Super Bowl was our first major live network television event where we enabled people to interact with all aspects of the game, including the ads and the spectacular halftime show,” he told Forbes. “Knowing the size of the Super Bowl audience, we had high expectations for how many people would be engaged during the event and with the numbers in the millions we were blown away.”
This year’s game was hard to beat and so were the commercials.  Every year, advertisers and media outlets find new ways to rate the commercials. USA Today teamed
with Ad Meter to rank the best commercials.  
USA Today/Ad Meter Results
USA also recorded real time reactions on social media sites.
USA Today/Social Media React


Podcast with Platinum Winner AngelVision

Impact Movies

Eleven years ago, AngelVision broke tradition and began creating visual messages for corporate clients without using a camera, video, a host, or a talking head. Using ‘flash’, the company utilized pictures, images, graphics, and text to tell and deliver a story in a very new way. The company named their concept “Impact Movies”.
The visually arresting two-to-three minute message is built with solid marketing concepts over a series of dozens of steps. The result is an audience driven product that not only gives clients much needed exposure, but also clearly defines what those clients do.
AngelVision has serviced thousands of clients from small business to Fortune 500 companies with Impact Movies. In the process, AngelVision has scored an impressive list of awards. In 2000 the concept was somewhat radical at the time, but now there are scores of imitators.
The President of Angel Vision is Jeff Otis who spoke to us about what it takes to make an Impact Movie.



ImpactMovies Ipod (Podcast)




For a sample of an Impact Movie, click the link below and watch the magic.




As an organization we receive over 10,000 entries a year. As the judging coordinator, each one goes through me. They all get a glimpse as I prepare them for the judges. Sometimes a piece catches my eye and I stop to fully examine it. It may be because of a huge budget or a clever or creative touch. But some like the one I received the other day, obviously have no budget and are simplistic to a fault. They stand out because of a compelling image that makes you think. Below is a video that not only tells this man’s story, but the sad story of so many other people. It was shot on his point and shoot camera. It is the personification of the power of visual communication.

We received this email after the recent AVA competition had closed.

Dear Sirs,
I am a disabled person living on a fixed income in a destitute area of Riverside County, CA. Are there any applications available for a “no cost” submission? (I can’t afford the $75.00) I am desperately trying to save myself from homelessness by bringing awareness to the blight of my neighborhood, in Riverside County, California, in one of the richest nations, in the world. Please feel free to preview my submission.

Gerald Weathers

The title of the piece is “Abandoned.” I was hooked by the title and the first image. As I travel down the road, my curiosity is always drawn to dilapidated, abandoned old houses. My mind tries to picture the family that once lived there. I wonder what happened to them and why the home fell into disrepair. There are millions of these homes in our cities and countryside. Each one has its own story. Here is Gerald’s story.

After viewing the piece, I emailed Gerald thinking this was his house.

Here is Gerald’s response.

To answer your questions: I must tell the truth, I know little to nothing of the people that lived there. I assume it is a similar situation as my own. Allow me to describe. It is currently used as a “drop spot” and pick-up for drugs, and illegal immigrants. (there used to be a semi-trailer on the property that was a drop box they reloaded and stored stuff, that was finally removed) I live only two doors away from the houses and trailer I photographed, in this neighborhood called Sky Valley, an unincorporated area of Riverside county, CA.

Due to the cheap/affordable homes/cabins in this area, they are inhabited by elderly and retired, disabled like myself. The rest fall into two other categories, families with children and newer homes on larger 5-10 acre parcels, and ones that are owned by “druggies” associated with a cartel that moves product and people in from Mexico, thru here regularly. There used to be several “kitchens” in the area.

The county has constantly harassed me in every way they can. ie: Code Enforcement threats at gunpoint, Medi-CAL benefits denied regularly, and property taxes, now demanding $9,800 in back taxes on my cabin assessed at $33,000. The math does not work. It is on the auction block for March 20th. 2012 a few weeks away with no hope of resolution.

The logic follows the same will happen to my property. It will no doubt be thrashed and become another site just like the “abandoned” one. Then, usable for the drug and human trafficking business established and thriving, thru Riverside County. The home immediately next to me is regularly used by “squatters”, that use my water, and anything they can get, and at one time ran a 100 foot extension cord from the back of my house to the one next door – for electricity. At wits end trying to get help from within the County and State of California, I armed myself with a pistol for protection. With your help, I am very much hoping to bring about an awareness, outside CA that might give the Riverside County Board of Supervisors reason to end this sick succession of injustices, that leave good people, and their lives, homeless and abandoned to the elements.

Warmest regards,
Gerald Weathers
Sky Valley CA

Gerald’s submission reminds us that homelessness and decay is not only in our past, it is still going on around us.


Cool New Gadgets 02.06.12

by Gregg Ellman

Power on the go is something we all need since it’s difficult to keep most of our portable electronic gadgets running from dawn to dusk.

There are many great choices and here is a sampling;

The Innergie PocketCell 3000mAh pocket-sized battery features my personal favorite; the 3-in-1 USB cable.

I’ll get to the battery in a second, but the USB cable alone is something everyone should own. On one end is a standard USB connection, while on the other end are a miniUSB, microUSB and an Apple 30-pin connection.

Each connector slides into another, so you have everything you need to charge just about every device from one cable.

The Apple connection is on the end and slides out to expose the microUSB connection, which slides out to get to the miniUSB. Even when you are down to the miniUSB, the others are still attached so nothing gets lost.

As for the battery, Innergie rates it to give you about 70 additional hours for an iPod, more than 25 hours for an iPhone or 4.5 hours for an iPad. Amounts can vary depending on how much you use different features on a device.

Innergie also has a dual USB 10W auto adapter ($16.99) for simultaneously charging a pair of phones and the 15W USB AC wall plug ($24.99) for charging multiple devices, including tablets, in any AC wall outlet.

www.Innergie.com PocketCell $79


Mophie makes an iPhone case; the Juice Pack Plus for iPhone 4/4S that’s equipped with a 2000mAh battery built right into the case.

Flip a switch when your iPhone’s battery needs a charge and the case’s built-in battery keeps you going while also fully charging the device.

Your phone can also charge and sync when the case is connected to a wall outlet or a computer through its built-in USB connection.

Mophie rates the case to extend the device for up to 8 hours of talk time, 11 hours for video watching and almost 2 days of audio playback.

Other Juice Packs are available for some Android and tablet models; check the Mophie website for specifics.

www.Mophie.com $99.95


The iPowerUp iPower for iPhone 4/4S case has 300 less amps than the Juice Pack and costs a lot less. It has a built-in battery with 1700mAh to give you about 5 hours of additional talk time, 6 hours of video playing or 28 hours of audio time according to the device’s box.

Both cases add very little size to the phone except for the bottom, which extends about a .25-inch for the built-in battery.

Battery cases are also available for Blackberry and other mobile devices.



Taking the power one step further is the 4800mAh Targus Backup Battery, which is a 5.0 V, 2.1A output battery.

You can expect 5 to 10 extra hours of use on an iPad or you can fully charge a smart- phone 3 to 5 times according to Targus.

This monster of a battery easily fits in your pocket since it measure just 4.25 x 2.5 x .5- inches and has a 4 level LED battery level indicator so you know how much power is left before the battery itself needs a charge (USB).

www.Targus.com $52.62


The Qmadix 20W USB Twin Table charging kit is for charging two different power-hungry devices simultaneously in a mobile vehicle.

The 20W charger gives out 10W and 2.1 amps of power in each of the USB ports for devices including tablets.

Advanced Smart Circuitry is built in to prevent overheating or overcharging and a 4-foot Apple 30-pin cable is included.

www.Qmadix.com $23.22


The number of charges and hours of use can vary by device depending on the features of the device.

The age of your device, along with how many times it has been charged and how many times any of these external batteries have been charged, will also affect the time to charge and how many hours of extended use you will get.

Contact Gregg Ellman at greggellman@mac.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.

2011, Gregg Ellman.


Going Social

12 key things you must consider when developing a social media program for your business, your brand, or your clients

By Gretel Going and Kate Fleming
Channel V Media


2012 Hermes Creative Awards Now Open

Hermes Creative Awards today unveiled a new website and began accepting entries in the 2012 competition.  Postmark deadline is March 16.

The new website retains the recognizable rust color but changes dramatically in its design, content and interactivity.  New features such as a winners gallery and judge’s comments will enable us to be more dynamic and informative.

The winners gallery on our home page will be constantly changing as we will be uploading some of the best and most interesting submissions.  In addition, judges will be blogging about what they are seeing.  We will also be profiling some of the entrants and their extraordinary work.

The 2012 competition has many new categories that reflect the rapidly evolving creative marketing and communications industry.  There is more emphasis on new media, web interactivity and social media, while still recognizing the importance of traditional media such as brochures, print advertising and periodicals.

2012 Entry brochures will be mailed to our database on Friday.  If you have never entered Hermes, MarCom or AVA and want a brochure, let us know. info@hermesawards.com.

Check us out at:


Super Bowl Commercials

It’s that time of year again, when some of the most creative work on television is debuted to some 1 billion people.  If only commercials were this good during the other 364 days of year.

In honor of the Super Bowl commercial we are offering another look at the best of all time.

Superbowl ad video:


After you see what the favorite picks are, click on to the next link to view a discussion at what made some of these commercials click with the audience.

Superbowl Ad discussion: