John is always scouting the next wave of innovation that can help business, advocacy groups or social marketing causes build stronger, more genuine connections with people.
His main blog is http://johnbell.typepad.com aka Digital Influence Mapping Project
At Ogilvy PR, he heads up the Creative Studio — the Interactive, Broadcast and Print Design team within Ogilvy PR. He developed 360 Degree Digital Influence to connect our brand-building PR expertise with insider’s knowledge of new digital trends. It’s our approach to harnessing the strengths of personal media like blogs and innovations in search and other technology and behavior. He has developed integrated marketing and branding programs for clients including Johnson & Johnson, DHL, LG and the National Institutes of Health.
The first wave of innovation was Interactive Television in 1990. Isn’t that where everyone started? John headed up the Visual Design Studio at Downtown Digital, a joint venture between Viacom and AT&T to create the most futuristic vision of interactive television anyone could imagine. He created programming for kids, gamers, fully interactive versions of Entertainment Tonight and fantasy sports. Turns out they were a bit ahead of their time but began a legacy of innovation.
He created the first Interactive Advertisement for American Express during that ITV trial. John went on to form Media Circus Interactive Advertising in New York during the 1990′s. He found effective ways to use CD-ROMs including designing the first interactive advertisement on Launch, then a CD-ROM zine, for Sony Electronics. He also created the first I-Spy CD-ROM for Scholastic extending the brand into the electronic space and pushing the limits of what an interactive experience could be. At the same time the Internet was exploding. he designed and built complicated transaction sites like Gateway Computers ecommerce site and wild experiments like MTV’s Web service that connected “stringers” all across the country reporting on the music scene in their community (sound a bit like blogging? It should and the year was 1995).
Discovery Channel was one of the first media properties to really experiment with the Web. John was brought in to transform a single Web site into a network of 14 Web properties known as Discovery.com. They had live, online expeditions from the field. Reporters would post stories, audio and video from Australia in search of giant spiders and from the bottom of the ocean where we explored the Titanic wreckage for the first time. All while the events were happening. He designed and built online experiences for TLC, Animal Planet, Discovery Kids, Discovery Health, Travel Channel not to mention a host of digital TV network sites and global sites.
His experience creating an online adventure service for kids with Discovery Kids, inspired him to join a startup called HiFusion committed to building a unique school-to-home Internet service for the K-12 community. There, he created full-service portals with every communication function under the sun — IM, mail, message boards, even an voice-to-text alert system that would reach you on all of your devices. They had a nationwide team of education professionals working to bring the service into schools and communities everywhere. But it was 2000 — a pivotal year for Internet-based business. They sold the company to Sylvan Ventures and moved onto the next adventure. For him that next adventure is Ogilvy.
Where did he get his schooling? John graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in European history and a minor in communications spending a lot of time at the Annenberg School of Communications.