Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘war’ Category

Yep, our friend Roby is back in the States looking all healthy and whatnot. His war isn’t over yet, but he is back for a little while, which is pretty damn cool. It seems that only yesterday, we were waving goodbye and wondering if he’d make it back in one piece. (Not that we ever doubted he would. This isn’t his first time doing the military thing after all.)

If you’re going to be at the Clemson Triathlon this weekend, you might even score a Roby sighting. (Word on the street is he’ll be the runner in a team relay. Hmmm. The plot thickens!)

Anyway, welcome back Roby! Good to have you back.

I’m sure Roby will start lining up graphic design and photography projects in a few weeks, so if you want to get to the front of the line, go to http://www.f360photo.com and follow the links to his very own section of the site (his contact info will be there).

PS: I hear there will be a war photography book in the works very soon. More info on that in a few weeks. If you’re thinking “autographed coffee table book,” we’re on the same page.

Now stop wasting time reading this blog post and go kick ass on the project you SHOULD be working on right now. Go on! Shoo!

😉

Read Full Post »


While we’re all going about our daily business – driving to work, shopping at Target or Whole Foods or Starbucks, watching John Adams on HBO, and doing whatever it is we do, tens of thousands of men and women are serving overseas in areas that aren’t exactly… um… safe. F360’s Roby (photo above) is still one of them – although he should be heading home pretty soon. (Keeping our fingers crossed.)

Just to bring home Roby’s current lifestyle, here are some of his combat photographer images from Afghanistan (while his unit trains the locals to kick the Taliban in the teeth without US help):


Good stuff.

Read Full Post »

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
– George Santayana (1863 – 1952)

Lazare Ponticelli was laid to rest in France today after a memorial service with full military honors.

Who was Lazare Ponticelli?

He was the last surviving French WWI veteran.

My grandfather fought in WWI. He was 16 when he went off to fight, and he somehow made it out in one piece. (He then came out of WWII unscathed, which was impressive in and of itself.) WWI was still very much part of my cultural experience when I was a child. I played with WWI toy soldiers and dug little trenches for them in our back yard. The countryside was still scarred by the German artillery fierce barrages of lead and death. WWI veterans were everywhere in France. Old men with canes and thin ribbons on their lapels representing what medals they came home with – green or red, depending on whether it was the Croix De Guerre or the Legion D’Honneur. WWI veterans seemed to be part of the very landscape of France. Every village, town and city had them, and I think that we were better for it. They were a constant reminder of sacrifice and courage. They were a constant reminder that we could do better – and that we should strive to do better.

If we were too lazy to do it for ourselves, we at least owed it to the millions of young ment who walked to the battlefield and never walked out.

They were a constant reminder that there are things that we should never forget.

At any rate, though this has absolutely nothing to do with branding or marketing, I thought that Lazare’s passing was worthy of note. The last surviving French veteran of WWI was laid to rest today, and thus a page of history is truly turned.

Is there a point to this post? Yeah. There is. There are many points to this post, not the least of which is that this is the kind of news that could be completely missed by most of us – what with our busy self-important lives and all. Spending all day at work, rushing out to get the kids to their soccer practice, watching Dancing with the Stars or American Idol or NASCAR, polishing our golf clubs, bitching about what the former governor of NY did or what Obama’s preacher said or Britney’s latest shenanigan. It’s kind of sad that we’re losing touch with our past because we simply don’t take the time to reflect on it. Ever.

Quietly, silently, Lazare Ponticelli died and the world drove right on by. France stopped for him, as they should. It might not have been a bad thing for all nations touched by WWI to pause for a moment to reflect on how little was gained in the 90 years following the “war to end all wars,” and how much the world of today is still wrestling with the power struggles that WWI either failed to solve or altered in less-than-stellar ways.

Remember to take some time to reflect on the past. Not just wars, but the kinds of struggles that the country you live in went through so that you and I might enjoy freedom and opportunity. We aren’t entitled to either of these things. We have to earn them.

Deserve them.

Every single day.

Give some thought to the fact that being self important little consumers really isn’t good enough.

Have great Monday, everyone.

Read Full Post »


The latest images from Roby’s world:








Read Full Post »

This is Roby. Roby and I have been friends for many years now, despite the fact that he is Italian and I am French. Roby is a pretty kick-ass photographer, graphic designer and all aroundman of fashion, and like me, he spent some time in the military before moving to the US. Unlike me, however, Roby decided to return to military life to take part in the “war on terror.”

If you are a regular reader of the BrandBuilder blog, you are no stranger to any of this. If you’re new, then you’re about to get caught up.

A few years ago, Roby and I came up with the idea of F360 over beer… or coffee… (or possibly both) at the Coffee Underground coffeeshop in Greenville, SC. I was bored at my corporate job and looking for ways to put my strategic and creative skills to better use – and for a broader pool of companies. Roby was also a little non-plussed about where his job was going and was starting to build a nice little portfolio of graphic design and commercial photography, but needed someone to bring copywriting, marketing strategy, and project management skills to the mix. It took a few months for me to finally make the jump and take him up on his offer to join forces with him, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Just as F360 was starting to really take off, Roby decided to join the Army National Guard and within two years, got his ass shipped out to the Stan – presumably to go hunt down Osama. Roby has been there since October – first in Kabul, and now at some undisclosed location. Looks like mountain passes and whatnot, so I guess his unit is helping local soldiers make sure the bad guys don’t come through their area.

Anyhoo, Roby took his cameras with him, so he shoots photos of his life over there, which is pretty damn cool. The photos posted below are from one of my favorite galleries he’s posted so far… just a few days ago… as he turned 35.

Happy Birthday, Roberto. Now get your ass back to the US so we can have a beer. (You’re still a big wuss for not climbing that hill with your gear, though.) Pffft. Army. Figures. ;D

There’s an accident waiting to happen if I’ve ever seen one.

A gunner’s view.

Roby is running up mountaintops now. WTF?! I can’t believe it! It must be photoshop!

Hmmm… I’d better start training.

Sweet view of the mountains and the valley. Good luck sneaking up on this outpost, you Taliban bastards!

Snack time.

Pajama pants.

The best pose EVER.

Livin’ it large.

Eden?

Gorgeous photos, Roby. Hooah.

The rest of you can go chat about the crappy overpriced commercials shown during the Superbowl. I’m sure by the time you read this post, the interwebs will be a-buzzing with excitement over whose ads scored, whose ads flopped, and how advertising is dead or making a comeback or whatever… *sigh*… Same conversation we have every year. I’ll pass, thanks, and watch the good ones on YouTube later this week, when I feel like the bandwagon has safely passed me by.

Have a great Monday, everyone. 😉

Read Full Post »

Roby hits the road.

So Roby is alive and well, but we may be out of contact for a while. His unit has a new mission and a new secret FOB… so we won’t know for a while if he’ll still have internet access. If he doesn’t, he won’t be able to post to his blog regularly, which sucks.

War is hell, after all.

I’ve been collecting some of his recent photos, so I will post them regularly here, just as if his blogging hadn’t been interrupted.

Bon vent, bonne mer, Roby. We’ll see ya on the flip side.


To leave comments (and read previous, related posts) hit the brandbuilder’s main page.

Images by Roby Di Giovine.

Read Full Post »

The final Google trends for 2007 were announced on Dec. 4th, and the results are scary… or terrific, depending on how you look at it: As a human being, it’s frightening. As a marketer, this may be the best news ever.

The Top 10 fastest-growing search terms for 2007 were (in order):

1. iPhone
2. webkinz
3. TMZ
4. Transformers
5. YouTube
6. Club Penguin (wtf?!?!?!)
7. myspace
8. Heroes (NBC)
9. Facebook
10. Anna Nicole Smith

(Visibly absent from the list were Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and the rest of the “make bail by noon” celebutante gang.)

Compare this to the 2001 list (the first from Google):

1. Nostradamus
2. CNN
3. World Trade Center
4. Harry Potter
5. Anthrax
6. Windows XP (woohoo!!!)
7. Osama Bin Laden
8. Audiogalaxy
9. Taliban
10. Loft Story

These are two very different lists.

I expected to see at least one non-“product” item show up in 2007, like maybe something relating to Iraq, Iran, Darfour, presidential candidates or even maybe healthcare. Global Warming. Something of substance. Anything.

But no.

Commentary and table courtesy of Jesus Diaz, over at Gizmodo:

Good bye Nostradamus, harbinger of doom and gloom! Hello iPhone, prophet of the second coming of the Digital Age in My Pocket.™ And oh yes, I’m happy to see you too. So long CNN, harbinger of news tickers and dumbified news! Welcome Webkinz, you stuffed rascal that connects to a social networking site you! World Trade Center? Unless it appears in TMZ next to Nicholas Cage and his wig, I say no! And screw that flying broomstick and get me drag queen transforming truckers on YouTube.

I mean, is this really what tickles the human race? Who can possibly remember stupid TV reality shows like Loft Story, Osama and the Talibans when we can entertain ourselves with MySpace, Facebook and Club Penguin? For shame! I would rather play topless Wii. [Reuters and Google]

Retailers and marketers rejoice: You have our complete and undivided attention. Every single item on the list is a brand name (yes, even ANS). Well played.

Mother Theresa and Al Gore, sorry: War, famine, poverty, terrorism, substance abuse, ethnic cleansing, corruption, pandemics and the slow choking death of our little blue planet aren’t cool enough to grab our attention anymore.

For better or for worse, I think brands can pretty-much claim victory in the bandwidth war – at least this past year.

Note: As always, don’t try to leave a comment on the permalink. To leave a comment, go to the main page and click on the comment tab at the bottom of this post. Thanks. 🙂

Read Full Post »

Roby’s week “en images,” as they would say in the old country:


Read all about his latest adventures here.

Read Full Post »


Here are some of Roby’s thanksgiving week images:


Read all about his adventures here. (And now that his blog allows comments, feel free to drop him a little hello.)

Welcome to a brand new week. 🙂

Read Full Post »


Roby’s week in Afghanistan: A photo journal.

Read all about his adventures here.

Happy Thanksgiving, bro.

Read Full Post »

Flashback to my first job out of college: Semper Fi – French Style

On November 11th, 1918, an Armistice was signed in a small train car that officially ended WWI – The war to end all wars. Though WWI didn’t in fact end all wars, we still observe the date, which is something I hope we never stop doing.

To the countless Americans, Brits, Canadians, and other volunteers from around the world who helped France defeat Germany not once but twice in my grandfather’s lifetime, I salute you. I probably wouldn’t be here today had it not been for your sacrifice.

Here is this week’s selection of my favorite shots from Roby’s blog – minus the color.






Photos by Roby who is still in Afghanistan, trying to make the world just a little bit better. Kickass photo editing by yours truly.

Roby, we miss you bro.

Read Full Post »


My favorite images from Roby’s adventures in Afghanistan this past week:

Above: Roby’s unit provides medical assistance to a young girl in a village. Local kids taunting him with mad Chuck Norris skills. A local gutter/rudimentary sewer system and an Afghan moo-cow. Either a sunset or a sunrise view from the “tower.” A night patrol with a British unit.

Read about Roby’s daily adventures here.

All images copyright 2007 Roby DiGiovine.

Read Full Post »

Starting today and lasting through the rest of his deployment in Afghanistan, I am going to reserve a little bit of bandwidth every weekend to bring you some of my favorite images from Roby’s quasi-daily photo diaries.

If you didn’t already know, Roby (one of the original masterminds behind F360) is currently doing a tour in Afghanistan with South Carolina’s Mighty Bravo 1-118 IN. When he gets back Stateside, he’ll have to show us how he manages to carry his weapon and his half dozen cameras, but until then, we’ll have to settle for his candid blog posts and his increasingly stunning images of a world and military mission we don’t get to see much of.

If you think that these images are good, wait until he gets warmed up. (He’s just getting started.) Seriously. This is easily AP quality stuff.

Read about Roby’s daily adventures here.

Have a great weekend, everyone. 😉






Read Full Post »