In the past ten days, the English have demonstrated both extremes of the effort and achievement scale. At one end (the bottom) we have the English football squad. unceremoniously dumping themselves out of the World Cup. At the other, we have our award-winning team at Brandwidth.
I hate for my writing to turn into the agency equivalent of a party political broadcast, but sod it – we’re passionate, we’re dedicated and we’re brilliant. Not a particularly British attitude (we’re supposed to be all politeness and deference) but when most of the conversation on our own fair shores revolves around a failed football team and a shortlist of the same old agencies and developers, someone has to fly the flag. We're responsible for the current US number one Entertainment app and Multi-Touch book – I'm pretty sure we're the first developer in the world to achieve this.
So, what have I got to shout about? In a nutshell, having returned from speaking at the Mobile Show in Dubai, I spent a week in the US covering WWDC in San Francisco, visits to Apple in Cupertino and meetings in LA, I touched down briefly in the UK, only to head off to Poland.
“Why Poland?” I hear you cry... I spoke at the brilliant ‘Bitspiration’ Conference in Krakow, an amazing gathering of the great and the good from the worlds of music, digital innovation and start-ups. I couldn’t have been more pleased to be attending when our latest multi-touch book for Disney Studios ‘Maleficent’ was the number one Entertainment title in the US iBooks Store! I was also happy to reveal the incredible ‘Bernhoft Islander’ app and announce our forthcoming ‘Star Wars Scene Maker’ app. More on those later...
As if that wasn’t enough, we had just updated our classic ‘Top 100 Albums’ app for Amber Books in stunning Retina detail and a new FREE cover price. I challenge anyone with an interest in any genre of music to find a reason not to download!
Despite the superstitious overtones, I returned home safely from Poland late on Friday 13th and caught up with the wonderful Nikki Bedi on her BBC London 94.9 show on Saturday evening. My role as ‘Inspector Gadget’ allows me the freedom to talk about the latest tech from around the world, discuss Harrison Ford’s injured foot and further tease the Star Wars and Bernhoft projects.
A big digital product launch usually delivers a mix of extraordinary highs and monumental lows. I’m glad to say, the arrival of ‘Star Wars Scene Maker’ last Thursday offered many more highs than lows. The Brandwidth team has been working closely with Lucasfilm and Disney for nearly a year, with the mission to bring storytelling bang up to date – and take it kicking and screaming into the future.
Who wouldn’t want to step into George Lucas' or JJ Abrams' shoes and direct the iconic scenes from all six movies, then take the reins from Episode VII and beyond? I have worked in publishing, design and technology for nearly thirty years (I started young!) and this project delivers in all areas. Don’t tell me publishing is dead when this is the result – storytelling and interactive narrative taken to digital extremes.
I’m happy to say we’re not stopping here. This is a living, breathing product with a healthy future of enhancements and updates, platform and content opportunities. Oh, and a lot of fun!
Speaking of living and breathing products, another Brandwidth blockbuster is now available – ‘Bernhoft Islander’. We had an incredible opportunity to collaborate with HD360 and Jarle Bernhoft and bring his hypnotic blend of contemporary soul music to life in an encapsulated album app. We’ve worked with a number of digital formats for artists such as The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Demi Lovato, Michael Bublé and the aforementioned Top 100 Albums app but Islander is the first app to launch globally alongside the main album, providing a genuine HD experience, with all music embedded at the quality it originally left the recording studio.
360º video, the Loop Station, an interactive Studio, all create a unique approach for a unique artist and a genuine premium product. Don’t take my word for it, here’s the man himself...
As I’m still on a music theme, the clock is ticking on a superb Kickstarter campaign, ‘The Viking of 6th Avenue’ Documentary. In their own words:
"The inspirational true story of Moondog, the legendary musician and New York icon whose life was an unexpected, outrageous adventure.
Charlie Parker and Benny Goodman hung out with him. Philip Glass lived with him, Janis Joplin covered his music, Allen Ginsberg stuck it on his fridge, Diane Arbus took his picture and Andy Warhol’s mother designed one of his album covers. Merv Griffin interviewed him, Lenny Bruce shared the bill, Phillippe Starck named a building after him, Elvis Costello brought him to London and fashion designers have created entire collections around his look."
I’m not directly involved but Holly Elson is a brilliant documentary film maker and the Moondog story deserves to be told. At the time of writing, there are 3 days remaining and around $40,000 still to raise. It’s all or nothing – Kickstarter and the Viking of 6th Avenue are only a click away!
So that’s it then? Nope, we’re on a roll. Apart from the rest of the Brandwidth business, providing digital infrastructure and mobile solutions to the automotive sector, enterprise level websites, amazing experiential environments and all the data analytics you can eat, we have a stunning title ready to launch for Taschen later this month followed by many many more. It’s going to be a long hot summer where you’ll hear all about our amazing products, even if you don’t hear about Brandwidth.