Latest Ad Campaign: NationalField

Like my CA Technologies video, NationalField had contracted me for a standard writing job--in this case, overhauling their site copy--but noticed my comedy videos and saw an opportunity.

NationalField is a private social network for businesses, like, say, Yammer...but under its Facebook-esque interface, it's more than another communications hub. It builds in business intelligence that makes it easy to encourage & track productivity among employees. It's a great fit for sales teams, or political campaigning, which is how the service was born.

Co-Founder Edward Saatchi (yes, the son of *that* Saatchi), had a fairly solid idea of what he wanted or their first salvo of ads: animated spots that high-lit NF's key differentiators while good-naturedly dissing their competition. That said, he trusted me to write the ads, storyboard them, and hire and direct the voice talent--most of whom I was able to pull from my crack team of Killing My Lobster actors.

More details about the spots here. Ads below!

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Noise - Zammer from NationalField on Vimeo.

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Adoption - Zammer from NationalField on Vimeo.

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Likes - Zammer from NationalField on Vimeo.

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Zammer #1 from NationalField on Vimeo.

Social Media For Beginners (Video)

Some of my coolest corporate gigs start while I'm doing a standard one--writing site copy, for instance. At some point, the client notices my comedy videos, and wonders if I can do something similarly fun for them. "Social Media And You" was one of those.

IT juggernaut CA Technologies wanted to encourage their employees to use social media in hopes that they'd spend at least part of their time bragging about their company, retweeting flattering articles, or other such passive evangelizing. They wanted a simple video to show their teams internally. But, of course, they wanted something engaging and worth passing around. That usually means "funny," so they approached me.

I pitched them on doing a primer that looked and sounded like classic 1950s educational films and they went for it. Video is embedded below, and a few more details about it can be found here. Hope you like bees!

Pocket Corporate Videographer

When you're the Idea Czar, no media escapes your grasp. I've long been a freelancer-of-many-trades for, writing  email, UI copy, branding materials, even blog posts. And now, phonecam video. Impressed?

Last month, I covered Ask's latest hackathon in a series of posts, and instead of collecting audio for interviews reference, I collected video. Thanks, iPhone! And because most of the key folk knew me, they felt comfortable enough to answer questions and even mug a little or the camera (see above screen cap).

I ended up with some great (if amateur) footage that I edited together for them to enjoy internally. Their marketing team liked it so much, they had me put together a press cut to show off. Good work begets more work!

Check it out if you're of a mind. I think it does a nice job of showing how much fun they had putting their hacks together. Imagine what I could've done with a full crew (hint, hint)!

Okay: NOW it's done.

Thanks to Phnom Penh web design shop House 32 for taking my blog and bringing it in line with my new site design. They're run by an expat college friend of mine and crank out Internets like it ain't no thing. In fact, they even teased me for offshoring my blog design TO THEM, sending me the cartoon below in commemoration of completion. Now that's SOIVICE!

Cartoon from House 32 about their work on my blog re-design

Sadly, I have never read Tim Ferris's books, though I did almost sublet my apartment to him. But I HAVE been to the House 32 offices in Cambodia and they know their stuff.

Thanks, House 32! You guys and gals are consummate pros. Oh, and I'll have another Mai Tai, please.

I'm a Wedding Writer!

I've been living up to my multi-hyphenate hype more then ever lately. Over the past year, I've written several pieces for the gorgeous glossy Weddings In Houston Magazine. It's no secret that weddings are a boom industry, and few places more so than Houston.

I've had the opportunity to write several fashion profiles and a wedding photography primer...with more pieces on the way. Check 'em out if you're of a mind!

Profiles in Elegance: Judd Waddell

Profiles in Elegance: Reem Acra

Profiles in Elegance: Monique Lhuillier

Want Magazine in Communication Arts

Thanks to the fine, discerning folks at Communication Arts for making Want Magazine their Web Pick of the Week! It's always a pleasure to see a project you've put your heart and soul into get props.

Although sometimes I wonder what anyone who Googles me must be thinking: "Waitaminute...the guy getting press for interviewing UX legend Donald Norman and the guy getting press for making videos of talking burritos and hipsters getting punched...IS THE SAME GUY?" Yes he is, Google-stalker with bad grammar. Yes he is.

A Day Job and a Dream

This latest KML video has a special place in my heart--and not just because I co-wrote and co-produced it. It's because I've spent the better part of my career juggling vocation and avocation. When I was an editor, I would write prose and comics scripts on nights, weekends, and, one very lonely Key West holiday. While in advertising, I performed weekly gigs with an improv troupe, wrote and produced a sketch comedy show, and played Joe's Pub and CBGB with my comedy/rock band. My point being, more often than not, I've used my day job to fund the stuff I loved.

That's what inspired our second of the two "Feed the Lobster" campaign spots: There's just too many of us out there with a day job and a dream.


Ably directed by the legendary Chris Parisi and my co-writer/producer, Miriam Wild-Smith. See for yourself, feel free to donate, and have a great 2011.

"Feed the Lobster" in the SF Egotist

If there's one thing I've learned from my comedy-rock-band days, it's to be grateful for any press, good or bad. So I feel extremely fortunate that two of my KML videos received positive pixels within a day of each other! The SF Egotist, my favorite resource for local Advertising industry news, just big-upped our Feed The Lobster year-end appeals campaign, calling us "a great tax deduction." That's miles better than what AgencySpy called me the other month over "Coffee Wars." And no, I won't link to it (although I'm still grateful for it!).

Feed The Lobster.

Folks, my latest video for Killing My Lobster is up and I'm proud as hell of it. It's an ad for, what else, KML. They're a non-profit, after all, and they provide a valuable service for the Bay Area and beyond: make people laugh. If you're down to donate a couple of bucks, please do.


Thanks to the fine folks at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, who loaned us their ArtWorks studio space, and GSP's Eric Herron, who helped us out with equipment, elbow grease, expertise, and good humor.

Directed by me, co-written and co-produced by my buddy Miriam Wild-Smith, and costumed, acted, and edited with love by a plethora of Lobsters. Enjoy!

Introducing Want Magazine

Want Magazine home page W is for "whew!"

The project I've been working on diligently for the last six months, Want Magazine, is up and looks amazing. Kudos to my Editor In Chief, David "Dahveed" Gomez-Rosado and our incredible staff. I wrote and/or edited some articles of which I couldn't be prouder.

Want Magazine iconWantMag is chock full of learnings and observations about the field of User Experience, as well as product design, architecture and marketing. But not boring. Really.

One of my particular favorite things about the mag is our video interviews, conducted with some of the leading lights in the field. Here's my interview with the man who coined the term "User Experience," Don Norman.

And here's one with the founder of UX agency Adaptive Path, Peter Merholz.

Plenty more to be found at Have at it! And tell 'em Ken sent you.