Back in the innocent days of 2007 -- in a time before a perfectly innocent van was wrapped, wired and wandering America -- the guy on the left and the guy on the right were talking agency self promotion ideas in a conference room in Danbury, CT.
The guy on the left joked, "we should get one of those funky Scooby Doo type vans, and just take it on the road."
Not the kind of joke to tell at Plaid, a one-of-a-kind design, branding and social shop, that makes weird ideas kind of wonderful.
Later that year, the first Plaid Nation tour came to life. And this year, its big brother - Plaid Nation 2008 - is storming the West Coast.
What is it?
It's five Plaid-ians driving through the country meeting creative, marketing, brand and internet workers, and sharing Plaid love. It's Tweetups, meetings with the creative community, introductions to inspiring dudes, and a big fat live Web experience to go with it. It's taking social on the road and using it locally and globally to continue a conversation. In short - it's a one-van mission to change people's perceptions about social media. From impractical to integrated.
They've mobilized some of their best ideas and people in a freaking Scooby Doo van. And it's netting out some incredible connections and enviable awareness.
The van is the power of "What if?" Of not being afraid to speak, explore and act on ideas. Even ones that, frankly, seem a little crazy. Especially ones that tear down assumptions about just how far a brand or product or experience can go.
It's about embracing the personality of your brand. And not being afraid to take smart chances.
I've got a Plaid Nation key chain hanging on my cork wall to remind me to bring a little of that Scooby Doobery to my every day.
Safe travels, guys!