Category: Cool Tools
March 9th, 2018

Great marketing isn’t rocket science

In 1999, NASA lost a 125 million dollar Mars orbiter in outer space. Seems one engineering team used English units of measurement, while another used the metric system. The mismatch prevented the correct transfer of navigational coordinates, and the aircraft missed the red planet entirely.

Before launching any new endeavor (be it marketing, or a mission to Mars), success often depends upon team alignment. The measurement mistake killed NASA’s mission, as well as the engineers’ expected A-ha Moment: a celebration of the craft’s entry into Mars’ orbit.

If you’re planning on entering new space with your marketing, drop us an email at: and we’ll make sure the all-stars on your team aren’t light years apart.

October 15th, 2015

Agencies that Collaborate? No Longer Wishful Thinking

Mortar Agency

Other industries are doing it. Why not creative agencies?

Our post about the perils of the big reveal in creative development has generated some heat.

Most of it positive. But some of it not. Which is cool with us. As long as the discourse is honest we’re all in.

Our position is simple: agencies rely on the big reveal way too much. But it’s about as useful as playing pin the tail on the donkey.

We should (and do) know better. So why aren’t creatives adopting better methods?

Everyone else is.

In software, engineers have turned to agile processes: more uncomfortable human contact, less reputation-shredding big reveals.

How about NIKEiD, bringing co-creation right to the production line.

Or Starbucks, minimizing customer disappointment by tapping right into their grey matter with My Starbucks Idea.

Open innovation, SCRUM, customerization, heck, democracy–they are all different flavors of more open, agile and collaborative ways of working together.

Here are 50 examples of business collaboration published by Co-society—almost 3 years ago. My favorite is how Reebok sought inspiration from Cirque du Soleil for a line of exercise accessories.

We don’t need to be stuck in the dark ages. Let’s steer this conversation towards how agencies and clients can collaborate—like the rest of the world.

Read our original post “The Sucker for Punishment Dilemma” here. Join the #WhatIfMortar conversation.

September 17th, 2015

We don’t care about your Facebook friends, oh wait… yes we do.

As great ideas go, our friends over at Dynamic Signal are pioneering some pretty darn hot ones.

Heard of employee advocacy, social selling, brand alignment? You know, using smart technology to gather and distribute your branded content via your employee’s social channels. Gone are the days of alt + tab every time your boss walks past.

Think of it this way:

You have 100 employees. They each have 500 social connections. Now, while math generally makes us queasy, a free and targeted media channel of over 50,000 people certainly does not. And most of them already know you, your company or are prospects.

Best of all, Dynamic Signal not only allows you to push material to this audience—it tracks how their connections engage with it, to what extent your employees participate, and who in your organization has the greatest influence.

Now not everyone public shames poor performing executives. But it’s nice to know you have the information should you choose to.

Our joint release is here. Dynamic Signal is here. There is a great Zuckerberg joke here.


Pictured: Majid Karimi, Tom Carr, Lauren Campbell, Mark Williams, Pavey Purewal, Scott Burke

March 15th, 2013

Saving Limbs Through Science? There’s an App for That.

Sometimes, and only sometimes, we think it’d be nice to clone people.

Take, for example, Avinger CEO Dr. John B. Simpson. He invented a revolutionary tool called Ocelot that’s able to cut through plaque in patients with peripheral artery disease, which prevents doctors from having to amputate patients’ legs. Thanks to Doc Simpson, our client Avinger has saved 7,900 limbs and counting. Like Manfred Selenschik’s. He lives in Muenster, Germany, and can now walk pain-free.

Screen shot 2013-03-15 at 5.01.10 PM

Click to hear Manfred’s story.


Ocelot relies on a real-time intravascular imaging technology called Optical Coherence Tomography. Basically, it uses a camera as thin as a strand of hair to give doctors a direct view inside the artery they’re working on.

If you’re feeling horribly confused, imagine being the doctor who’s about to use this thing. As you might guess, learning to use Ocelot is a tad bit trickier than tying Velcro shoes. In the past, Dr. Simpson would be present at every operation to ensure it went smoothly. Now if we could clone the man, we would in a heartbeat. (We would also clone Jon Hamm a couple times.) But these days, an app seems to fix everything. So we built one.

The iPad app, called Avinger Beam, is a series of tutorials that teach you how to interpret OCT images. Which is basically a giant video game and makes us feel like we’re submarine captains in WWI. Captains fighting arterial plaque, of course. Beam shows you how to identify where the plaque is; then you get quizzed and it tells you if you’re right. (Or wrong, hopeless slackers. You are so not getting recess today.)

The interface is Avinger-slick, black, bold, and extremely easy to navigate. Not bad, eh? In the meantime, we’ll work on 3D printing Dr. Simpson.



February 14th, 2012

All you need is love. And this handy permission slip.

On a day that celebrates that many splendored thing called love, it feels lustfully inappropriate to treat you to this anti-valentine. Outdoor clothing retailer Moosejaw Mountaineering has whipped up a permission slip that (if your significant other complies) gives you license to “snuggle, French, or fully do it” with someone else. The downside is it might trigger a wave of stormy breakups across the nation, but the upside is clever brand awareness. Nice job, Moosejaw. And Happy V Day to all you swingers out there.