Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Puma City

Puma has built the world's biggest pop-up store, which is currently traveling the world with the 70-foot long Puma sailing boat - il Mostro - which is competing in the 2008 Volvo Ocean Race.

The structure is a 11,000 square foot building that contains a retail store, lounge, event space, and offices. The building will be assembled and disassembled a number of times at different harbor sites around the world over the span of a year, which added an extra challenge for the designers and architects.

The designers opted for shipping containers as the basis for the structure. 24 containers were restructured to make up the impressive structure. The store has also been designed to conform to international building codes, as well as adaptable ventilation systems to make traveling to different parts of the world easier.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Kahlua Tries To Save Some Holiday Parties

With so many companies having to cancel their Christmas parties this year due to the negative economic downturn, it was only a matter of time before a big brand stepped up in attempts to stand out.

Kahlua has launched a campaign for all companies eligible in 5 States in the US in their attempt to help save some holiday parties. The brand is offering five $10,000 prizes to five small businesses that have had to cancel their holiday parties and interested companies can apply online at

Via: Luxist

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Make The Logo Smaller

An interesting study conducted by British Neuro-Scientist Dr Gemma Calvert has found that a brand's logo, whilst eliciting responses in test subjects, actually affects potential consumers far less than more subtle, subliminally stimulating imagery.

The research subjects were shown subliminal images that had no overt connection to cigarette brands - a red Ferrari, a cowboy on horseback, a camel in the desert. Next, they were shown explicit images such as the Marlboro Man and Joe Camel, the Marlboro and Camel logos, and branded packs of cigarettes.

In both cases, MRI scans were used to look for activity in the nucleus accumbens - the area in our brain that controls cravings, with the aim to determine whether subliminal images would generate cravings similar to those generated by the logos and the clearly marked Marlboro and Camel packs. There was a similar response among former smokers, but no response among people who had never smoked before.

The results showed that even though both explicit and implicit images elicited some form of craving response in test subjects, the subliminal images not only generated more activity in the reward and craving center amongst test subjects than when they viewed the overt images. In other words, the logo-free images associated with cigarettes triggered more cravings among smokers than the logos themselves or the images of cigarette packs, a result that was consistent for both Camel and Marlboro smokers.

The research concluded that brand components engage the consumer in figuring out who's behind the message and, most importantly, speak to the subconscious mind. For example, one won't find a logo on the front of an iPod, yet its iconic look is enough for you to know what brand it is, whilst BMW's signature kidney grill is distinct enough to represent the entire brand.

Via: AdAge

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Whiskey Ad Literally Speaks To Consumers

Beginning on Dec. 4, Jameson's Whiskey will launch an outdoor projection-media campaign in high-traffic areas where many of Jameson's target consumers will be out and about, around restaurants and bars.
The interesting angle to this outdoor campaign is the seemingly live interaction the billboards will have with potential consumers. AdAge reports that the projected screens will look as if someone is typing out messages to passers-by, even though most of the communications have been scripted and automatically programmed on a seven- to 10-minute looping movie file. In New York and Los Angeles, however, a copywriter will actually type out messages in real time via a laptop to interact with those near the projection.

It sounds like it could potentially be a very fun campaign, especially for the copywriters who are typing live and interacting with passers-by. The campaign is set to launch in New York, where it will run for three nights before touring the rest of the US for the remainder of December.

Via: AdAge

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Love @ First Site

A chocolate brand by the name of Lacta has recently launched an interactive web film which requires users to actively participate in the story.

The 10 chapters of the story is told in flashback, and from time to time, users must mouse over spots on the screen and make the right choices to help progress the story to a happy ending. Should the user get stuck at any point in the story, they'd need to type in a unique code found only on selected Lacta chocolate wrappers in order to be given a hint and continue with the story.

The campaign also enables Facebook sharing, with a "become a Facebook Fan" element, along with a "send to a friend" to further fuel the viral spread of the campaign.

It's a fun and engaging experience and definitely entertaining enough to keep the user coming back. A great example of how brands can easily engage and interact with their target market at a relatively low cost.

Via: Contagious Magazine, Lacta

Monday, November 24, 2008

In-Store Displays To Save Retailers?

Price discounting, while an obvious choice in times of economic downturns, not only are damaging to brands, but are also not very effective in promoting sales, according to research by shopper-marketing agency OgilvyAction.

OgilvyAction's research also indicates that 29% of U.S. shoppers impulsively buy from categories they didn't plan to when they entered the store. Of that group, 24% said they were influenced by secondary displays (away from the product's usual aisle), 18% by in-store demonstrations, and only 17% by price promotion.

The study also found 39% of U.S. shoppers have a category in mind but pick their brand in store, and of those, 31% were influenced by in-store demonstrations - more than the 28% by price promotion and the 27% influenced by some other form of consumer promotion.

In each case, however, more than twice as many consumers said they bought impulsively because of display or some other form of promotion as said they did so because of price.

Via: AdAge

Friday, November 21, 2008

Instant Product Info

There's an interesting new software, currently only available for the iPhone which allows users to match real world products to online information instantly.

Once you have taken a picture of the item you're searching for, SnapTell Explorer uses image recognition to look up information on any product from simple photographs from their database.

The search works by either matching the image with SnapTell’s database, or by reading text contained in the image to conduct a search. Reviews so far appear to be positive. It has also been noted that even images taken under low/bad lighting returns usable results.

Via: SnapTell, TechCrunch, PSFK

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jameson Cult Film Clubs

Jameson is no longer just about making whiskey. The UK arm of the brand has recently launched a branded club known as the Jameson Cult Film Club.

The club will host a monthly screening of classic films at six venues around the country, the first of which will be seen by the public at the end of November. The selected screened films will be chosen by popular vote of fans who have signed up on the

The Australian representatives of the Jameson brand have gone one step further. They have launched their own production company known as John Jameson Productions. The company has already produced 3 indie-films, all with whiskey as the central theme.

Via: Brand News, Jameson Cult Film Club

Wise UK Shoppers

The findings from a new Jupiter survey commissioned by LinkShare show that U.S. online shoppers are being "outshopped" by their U.K. counterparts, with U.K. consumers spending 40% more money and making 24% more purchases online than U.S. shoppers.

U.S. consumers are also behind when it comes to online shopping tactics: They are much less aggressive when hunting bargains, with U.K. consumers eight times more likely to conduct research on multiple sites before making an online purchase.

U.K. consumers are also 13% more likely to be frequent online buyers (purchasing products or services more than 10 times in the last 12 months) than their U.S. peers.

Interestingly, neither U.K. nor U.S. online consumers seem ready to embrace their cell phones as shopping devices. Only 10.2% of U.S. and 10.4% of U.K. consumers agreed with the statement, "I would like to be able to shop and make purchases on my mobile/cellphone."

Via: AdAge

Gaming Hero

Dr Pepper's very first professional "athlete" endorsement turns out to not be a traditional sports star at all. Halo 3 player Tom Taylor, who goes by Tsquared on the labels will begin appearing on about 175 million 20-ounce bottles between January to April 2009.

With the young demographic increasing trading in TV and magazine time for video games, a gaming celebrity seems to be the obvious choice for the brand.

One shouldn't estimate Taylor's skill and dedication though. Reportedly, he has a contract with the sports association Major League Gaming, puts in up to 15 hours a day practicing his Halo 3 skills, and has a high profile among gamers. The celebrity endorsement deal with Dr Pepper seems to be the icing on the cake.

Along with Dr Pepper, brands like Stride gum, Old Spice and Panasonic have also signed on as league sponsors, which means they have signs and booths at events, promotion on the league’s Web site and permission to use its logos in their marketing.

Via: NY Times

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Second Exclusive Mercedes Site On The Way

Mercedes in the US, having found success with their previous Generation Y focussed community, now has their sights set on launching a new private, online community next year, the yet to-be-named site will target boomers.

Steve Cannon, vp of marketing, has found the site——so efficient and useful that he can envision it replacing some types of focus groups, particularly those that delve into broader issues, such as “green-washing.”

Mercedes launched a password-protected test version of the site six months ago. Through questionnaires, polls and live chats, the company seeks to better understand what makes Gen Y tick. It uses the forum to get feedback on an array of topics from product designs to advertising concepts for the 19- to 32-year-old crowd.

The site currently has about 800 members, each of whom was invited by Mercedes. Nearly half have visited in the past 60 days, and of those, a few hundred are “very regular users,” Cannon said.

About a third of the members own Mercedes cars; the rest are generally interested in the brand and may become owners in the future.

The luxury car maker honed in on Gen Y initially because it’s a “big and important” group that’s comfortable with technology and represents great potential buying power, Cannon said.

Via: BrandWeekLink

Burger King's New Studio

Fast-food giant Burger King has launched their Burger King Studio, which allows users to create their own personalized Burger King shirts using preselected BK icons.

To create your own Burger King shirt, just click and drag elements onto the shirt. You can tweak their orientation, color and size.

When you’re finished, the shirt is then silkscreened and sent to you. For those who are not feeling creative, there's a "Randomise" option which allows users to choose from one of the many already-submitted designs.

Via: BK Studio

Facebook Phone!

The new INQ1 Facebook phone has recently been launched in the UK and some have suggested that it may be even more successful phone than the iPhone.

The Facebook phone has been designed specifically around the functionality of Facebook, and gives users direct access to their social networking circle at the touch of a button, making the act of poking your friends that much easier.

While the iPhone and the new Google G1 phone target professional users with costly handsets and sophisticated technology, the Facebook phone - whilst retaining email and web functionality has a much cheaper price and talk plan - will appeal to larger audience of younger users to whom the iPhone is prohibitively expensive.

The phone will also enable users to access Skype, MSN Messenger and some UK radio stations which should also increase its appeal.

Via: Trendhunter

Friday, November 14, 2008

iPhones Challenge For Gaming Market Share

iPhone and iPod touch owners have downloaded around 50 million games, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. These downloads make up 25% of the 200 million apps downloaded from the Apple app store, with most users opting for the free downloads.
Apple has sold more than 13 million iPhones so far, and has recently began attacking the mobile games market in recent months by wooing game-industry executives, hosting technical meetings with game developers and touting games in a new iPod touch commercial.

Sony, apparently, doesn't consider Apple as big a threat because gaming is secondary to its devices, said John Koller, director of hardware marketing for Sony's PSP. "The consumer is using the mobile gaming on the iPhone and iPod Touch as a time waster," he said.

It would seem that Sony has quickly forgotten how much the gaming market was grown by Nintendo's introduction of the Wii a few years back - a device that has found appeal among the non traditionally hardcore gamers. Perhaps it's time for them to think beyond their traditional target market and diversify their offerings to compete with the likes of Nintendo and Apple for a piece of market share among new-age gamers?

Via: WSJ

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

McDonald's - But Not

McDonald's has recently re-launched the Quarter Pounder burger in Japan, after a failed attempt in the 90's. Instead of the usual Golden Arches, however, the fast food giants decided to promote the product in a very different route.

McDonald's has converted two of their restaurants into Quarter Pounder shops. The restaurants offer only two choices on the menu: a Quarter Pounder set for 500 yen, and a Double Quarter Pounder set for 600 yen. The restaurants have taken on a slick, minimalist look with no visible signs of the usual McDonald's branding.

There's also a competition element to the launch, where entrants stand a chance of winning a grand prize of a sightseeing trip to America. To enter the contest, applicants must answer a single question: Which fast food chain launched the Quarter Pounder in Japan?

Via: FiftybyFifty, PSFK

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nokia Life Tools

Nokia is set to launch a new service called Nokia Life Tools aimed at keeping mobile users in emerging markets informed, connected, and ‘empowered’.

The suite will include agricultural information, educational tools, and entertainment, all instantly and easily accessible. Two of Nokia’s basic handsets - the Nokia 2323 classic and the Nokia 2330 classic - will come automatically equipped with the service, which is set to debut next year.

Other tools available, along with the agriculture tips & techniques, will be local market prices, instant weather updates, lessons in English and other ‘general knowledge’ information, and career preparation.

Via: Nokia

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What Next From Toshiba?

Toshiba has been working with Grey London and Unit 9 to entrench their brand promise of "Leading Innovation" in consumers' minds.

The trio has recently launched an innovative new website to encourage exploration of Toshiba’s products and offer an engaging brand experience. Users navigate the ‘What Next’ website by scrawling zig zags, lines, swirls and infinity signs to manipulate the crazy animals on the site, in the process learning more about Toshiba's offerings.

It's a simple way to get users interacting with the site, and keeps the discovery of information fresh and interesting.

Via: What Next, Contagious Magazine

Microsoft Now Produces Online Content Too!

In order to compete with Adobe's popular Flash-based viewers and software, Microsoft has launched their own version known as MSN Silverlight. The campaign behind the Silverlight, however, is rather interesting.

MSN UK has developed an interactive sci-fi web series Kirill, starring British actor David Schofield, best known for his roles in Pirates of the Carribean and Gladiator.

Three supporting blogs have been set up to feed into the action, and three-minute episodes will be released on Tuesdays and Fridays over the next five weeks. The show launched on 30 October and initial viewing figures are in the tens of thousands, according to Peter Bale, executive producer, MSN, aka the self-confessed ‘content person’.

Bale adds that Microsoft hasn’t done anything on this scale before, describing it as ‘more viral and risky’. He adds that, being ‘somewhat male in focus’, it’s been a perfect vehicle for Microsoft Xbox, and it’s also being ‘supported’ by Windows Vista.

Viral and risky? Certainly doesn't sound like Microsoft, but the campaign sounds rather intriguing and it's always great to see marketers take a calculated risk.

Via: Contagious

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Liquid Powered Batteries

The lithium batteries used to power hybrid cars aren't necessarily good for the environment, as Jeremy Clarkson (often) keenly points out. A professor at the National University in Taiwan, however, has come up with a possible alternative for future batteries.

It has been said that the battery will be able to be powered with any liquid. Currently, the battery just needs to be immersed in a liquid bath and they’ll generate power within 10 seconds. The power generating process is said to be a similar process to plant photosynthesis.

The cost to manufacture this type of battery is said to be rather cheap too. It would cost only 3 to 6 US cents a piece to manufacture. I wonder if Toyota have already put in an order for their hybrids?

Via: Clean Technica, PSFK

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hang Out In Malls During The Holiday

In order to promote shopping in malls in times of financial difficulties, US magazine Teen Vogue - part of the Conde Naste group - will be setting up various pop-up like environments were teen girls can "come together, be girls, and shop together".

The stores will offer free snacks, informal modeling, a perfume bar, a makeup station, charging stations for cellphones and iPods, a gift-wrapping counter and racks of clothes. There will also be stylists and attendants at the store who will advise visitors on lipstick, shoes and outfits. To the benefit of retailers, the stylists will also guide shoppers to stores in the mall where they can buy the products.

More than 20 Teen Vogue advertisers are participating in the initiative, including Clinique, Armani Exchange and Aldo.

Teen Vogue did not charge most advertisers to participate in the store. Instead, it was offered as a perk to some top advertisers, while others were asked to buy an extra page or two in the December/January issue of Teen Vogue.

Ad pages at Teen Vogue were down 4.8 percent for the first nine months of the year, but ad revenue was up 4.6 percent as a result of the announcement of the latest initiative - including six new advertisers.

Source: NY Times

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Scrolling In Thin Air

Having taken a beating in terms of marketing by Apple, Microsoft hopes that its latest challenge to the Apple iPhone in the form of the multi-touch interface would win the brands some points in the marketplace.

The PC maker released their innovative SideSight system last week which allows users to control actions on a cell phone screen by moving their fingers along side the device. Infrared sensors pick up motions up to 10 centimeters away and translate them into movement on the screen.

Like the iPhone, the device supports multi-touch interactions. By coordinating fingers on either side, the user can drag, rotate and change the size of images on the display. When photos become larger than the tiny screen, people reported feeling that they were touching the imaginary edges of the photos. Apparently, the device currently places a huge strain on the battery, a fault the researchers aim to rectify before making the device available to consumers.

Via: New Scientist, PSFK

Monday, October 27, 2008

Social Networking For Small Brands

An product - which began as a joke between founder and friends Dave Lefkow and Justin Esch - has taken off in the US, all through the clever use of social media.

The duo thought it'd be a great idea to make a spice which made everything taste like bacon and began working on the product, now known as Bacon Salt.

Once production of Bacon Salt got underway, the two posted a MySpace profile dedicated to it. They then spent countless hours mining MySpace data, sending messages and "friending" anyone who declared an affinity for bacon in their profiles. Allegedly, they found 37,000 MySpace members mentioned bacon in profiles.

The "spamming," as Esch initially called it, generated a surprising result: not only were people adding Bacon Salt, they were ordering the product even before Lefkow and Esch had ramped up production. Their "cute side project," as Lefkow described it, suddenly got serious.

Before long, the word on Bacon Salt was spread virally on other social networking sites. One of those friended on MySpace wrote a lengthy post about the product on, a message board for University of Kansas sports fans. The one post alone drew over 2,000 comments - and another spate of orders.

Now, they're branching into advertising in social media. They've found success with Facebook ads and were early testers of MySpace's MyAds self-service banner system. Esch said the ads end up amplifying the buzz Bacon Salt has generated through blogger outreach. What's more, the social buzz has leaped into mainstream media, including a prominent placement on the MSN home page, Entrepreneur magazine, as well as several US TV and radio segments.

Via: Adweek

Friday, October 24, 2008

Future Gazing Magazine

A new free online publication has recently launched its first edition. Called H+ (Humanity Plus), the quarterly magazine will explore scientific, technological, and cultural developments that are overcoming human limitations.

It's a fascinating read and for a must for everyone interested in future trends, news and cutting edge ideas.

Click here to sign up for H+.


Creative Capitalism Shifts Focus To Capitals

While most fair-trade businesses up until now have made social consciousness their major selling point, a new company, based in Indonesia by the name of CraftNetwork has built its business on a more traditional model: large quantities of uniform products, built to near exact specs and supplied at competitive prices.
Chris Benz, the company’s founder, has arranged for over a thousand artisans to create an array of products such as jewelery, home decor, sculptures and other decorative products. The artisans work in their homes or village workshops, allowing CraftNetwork to sell large quantities of product to major wholesale buyers, and ultimately delivering profits back to the artisans themselves.

Benz says, “I have a whole village employed, a whole village that’s bringing in $70,000 a month – based on one order.” That one order was from Carnival Cruise Line, which has bought 50,000 books weaved of banana leaves.

As an added benefit, CraftNetwork also provides financial advice, computer literacy training, and business building techniques to their team of freelancers.

Via: CraftNetwork, BusinessWeek

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Somebody Else's Phone

Nokia, in promotion of their new 7610 Supernova phone, is making use of the "digi-real" trend to great effect by tapping into our inherent curiosity (nosiness) when it comes to someone else's business.

The campaign allows users the chance to flick through someone’s phone, including text messages, personal contacts, diary entries, photos, voicemails and private video clips, demonstrating just how central our phones have become to our ability to function as well as how hard opportunities like that are to pass up.

Following three fictional characters, Jade, Lucas and Anna, the storyline evolves across three time zones and will be constantly updated with content for six weeks, to reveal over 3750 pieces in total.

The campaign targets a younger audience, and is designed to reflect their media consumption habits, and the rapid refresh rates that sites like Twitter and Facebook status updates encourage. A direct dialogue with the characters can be built up through their Facebook pages, as well as by discovering their mobile numbers, with the opportunity to text or call them directly.

Sounds like an intriguing campaign and with enough initial exposure, it'll no doubt be a successful one too. Have a look at the campaign site by clicking here.

Brands Associated With US Presidential Hopefuls

In the 2008 US Presidential Image Power Survey, released by branding agency Landor Associates in conjunction with Penn, Schoen & Berland, voters were asked to associate the potential presidential and vice presidential candidates with brands including fictional spies, retail outlets, snack foods and cars - with some interesting results. The survey polled 1,002 registered Democratic, Republican and independent voters between 1st to 6th Oct 2008.

AdAge reports that voters associated Obama with BMW, Google and Target, while McCain was compared to Ford, Wal-Mart and AOL. While you would expect the two candidates to have very different associations, there were some similarities too. Some common characteristics between the candidates were associations with brands such as iPod, Starbucks and MySpace.

Scott Siff, exec VP at Penn, Schoen & Berland, said "This shows that the candidates have a lot of similarities from a branding perspective, most of all the notion that they are both game changers."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Exclusive Online Shopping

It would appear that some niche e-marketers have not only been immune to the recent financial turmoil, but have even managed to improve their sales over the past few months.

We've previously written about high-end fashion retail site Ideeli, whose exclusive members were initially by-invitation only. AdAge shows that various other similar sites, such as, and, have all shown performance improvements in website traffic and sales. Since January, the number of unique visitors has skyrocketed from less than 20,000 to roughly 160,000 per month at both Gilt and Ideeli.

Invitation-only retail sites have already taken off, it would seem. French company, Vente Privee, claims $700 million in annual sales for the past year - in a market that is only a fifth of that of the US (prior to recession).

As for the reason for their recent success, Paul Hurley, Ideeli's founder-CEO, says that because consumers are engaged, there is an opportunity to better educate them about brands in a way that doesn't feel like advertising. "If you go to Ideeli, it doesn't look like there's any advertising. It's fully integrated, and it's structured in such a way that we can solve a lot of different types of very practical problems that marketers have," he said. "We run six to eight different types of programs, depending on what you're trying to accomplish in your marketing or clearing of inventory."

Via: AdAge

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Electric Car Charging Infrastructure In Germany Soon

It has been announced that Berlin will kick off the world’s largest effort to get electric cars on the road.
Plans have been approved for the creation of 500 power-points around the city where electric cars can charge up. Electric company RWE will be responsible for installing the charging stations, and Daimler AG and Smart seem to be the first motoring manufacturers on-board with the effort, having pledged at least 100 electric Smart Cars on the streets of Berlin by the end of 2009.

It would seem Greenpeace has some reservations about the latest initiative, as there have been no guarantees as yet regarding whether the source of the electric power to be used to power the recharge points will originate from renewable sources. Greenpeace also stated that if coal powered electricity is used, the environment would actually be better off if we all started using cleaner diesel fuel.

Via: PSFK, Treehugger

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Unwavering Desire For Luxury Cars

Luxury car manufacturers have already begun feeling the negative effects as a result of the global economy. Coupled with the eco-consciousness of so many consumers, resulting in them now keeping their cars for longer periods or trading down.

Trendhunter, however, shows that there is still some light at the end of the tunnel for luxury car manufacturers. It seems that the US version of AutoTrader's traffic shows that the highest searches were for fantasy niche cars like the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Corvette during September. More ordinary cars such as the Jeep Wrangler ranked highly in searches.

It seems as though that the interest and demand for luxury cars is still there, it's just about finding a way to match offers to satisfy consumers' pockets.

Via: TrendHunter

Friday, October 10, 2008

Best Buy Listens

US consumer electronic retailers Best Buy has been listening to consumers. Through their latest initiative, known as Blue Label, Best Buy will be addressing customer needs in a way that no retailer has done before by providing feedback to manufacturers in order to better product offerings.Best Buy learnt from their customers that they were after more from the feature set on available laptops and went directly to manufacturers to address the issue. Some of the requested details include backlit keyboards, thin and light design and free warranties. Currently, Toshiba and HP Lenovo are on board with the program and both manufacturers have exclusive laptops on sale now at Best Buy.

Financial viability for initiative such as this one must be a deterring factor for many companies, but with Best Buy's footprint and influence, the success of this initiative could lead to a whole new way for manufacturers and product developers to gain inspiration for their designs.

Via: I4U, Best Buy

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Trading Down But Still Brand Conscious

With consumers now far less willing to spend valuable disposable income with the worldwide economy in full retreat, the logical assumption is that consumers would be willing to temporarily fore-go brands and spend their hard-earned money in a much more sensible manner.

Fastcompany's October issue highlighted a piece of research which shows a creative way in which consumers are attempting to keep hold onto the status afforded to them by brands - by buying counterfeit.

It appears that although the seizures of counterfeit goods made by the U.S. government in 2007 amounted to 13000 - 1000 less than in 2006, the value of the seizures, however, has increased by 27%

The largest sufferers as a result of knock-offs are the computer software brands, with losses of around US$34 billion.

Sim City To Be Invaded By Advertising?

The Sims 3 is set for launch in February 2009. The makers and developers of the popular video game promises that the new version will be more realistic than ever, thanks to improved graphics, better processing power and an increase in ads.

Electronic Arts, maker of "Sims 3," is working with IGA to provide dynamic in-game ads - which can be switched in and out of the game via an internet connection - to the latest version of what has become the world's most-played PC game.

In its first new version in five years, "Sims" players will be able to venture beyond their houses and lots out into Pleasantville, where they can go to the movie theater, the sports arena or the grocery store. It's a more open experience, akin to newer online virtual worlds, although it's still a single-player game.

With the average time spent by Sims players measured to be about 1.7 hours with the game per sitting and spending 47.6 hours with the game in total, a serious amount of one-on-one contact with potential targets can be had by various brands.

The ramification for brands is rather exciting. Imagine helping the players' Sim feel better through the purchase of your headache tablet brand, or become more sociable and confident through the purchase of your new sneakers, new opportunities are abound for brands out there who are paying attention.

Via: AdAge

Research: Using The Right Brand Improves Performance

NY Times' Consumed magazine has brought to attention a new study which proves that exposure to brands overall can have a significant effect on our performance in many aspects in life.

The example of Speedo's warm up parka that was originally designed for Michael Phelps was highlighted. The suit was initially made only for Phelps until consumer demand prompted Speedo to manufacture the jacket for purchase. Thousands have already been sold - but unlike the $550 consumer version of its LZR Racer suits that Phelps wore while swimming, the parka will not actually make people faster physically. The psychological effect is what improves the athletes' performances

Gavan Fitzsimons, a professor of marketing and psychology at Duke, elaborates on how the subliminal effect might work:

“The trick is, the first time you wore the warm-up parka,” it wouldn’t have any effect, he says. “Because you’d realise, Oh I’m being ridiculous.” Wear it often enough, though, and you’ll probably stop ruminating about it. “Below the level of conscious awareness, you’d put the jacket on, and what’s activated in your mind is maybe Michael Phelps going very fast,” he continues. “And those things could actually kick up your motivation to go faster.”

It seems to good to be true, but the power of the human mind can clearly be influenced by brands in amazing ways. Great news for brand builders, let's hope the majority of brands out there bear this thought in mind in their future campaigns.

Via: New York Times

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Real Gaming Car

Citroen merged the real and virtual worlds at the Paris auto show last week when they unveiled their latest creation.

The "GTbyCITROËN" sportscar was the result of a partnership between the French auto manufacturer and Polyphony Digital Inc, the creators of the popular Gran Turismo series.

The exterior design of the car is a modern look at a racing coupe. The concept uses sharp body lines and dynamic shapes to communicate performance and speed. In the game version the car is powered by a zero emission fuel cell and electric drivetrain. There’s however, any further information on how the real prototype will be powered or whether it runs at all.

A great example of a brand willing to take a risk in further developing their name and reputation by embracing the gaming world and testing out how to potentially integrate it into product development.

For the official press release and more photos, please click here.

Via:PSFK, Jalopnik

Lower Insurance Premiums By Gaming

An insurance company call Allstate has begun making use of a rather different sort of method in order to determine clients and potential clients' insurance premiums.

The company launched an es online video game tests to identify safe older drivers. The program named InSight uses simple games that measure brain fitness. Allstate is hoping that gaming proficiency will indicate aptitude with the same skills in real life. One of the games, Jewel Diver: Divided Attention tests subjects ability to track multiple objects at a time. The InSight program plans to offer insurance discounts to drivers over 50 who successfully pass the online tests.

Seeing as various forms of video games have been utilised for decades by the likes of the military and the aviation industry, the latest effort by Allstate comes as little surprise.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Chanel Experience

For the launch of the new Chanel perfume ‘Eau première,’ the premium brand decided to stage an event at a private Parisian apartment.

Chanel partnered with renowned set, window and interior designer Jean-Marc Gady - who had previously done similar work for brands like Louis Vuitton, Moet & Chandon, as well as Apple - to create an experiential event for guests, an event described by Cool Hunter as a "a 'scenography' tasked with bringing the new fragrance and the heritage of the brand to life."

The apartment was transformed into a set, which guests were encouraged to explore as the event played out. Scentvertising was employed throughout the event, filling the scents of the newly launched fragrance throughout the set. The evening ended with the unveiling of large format photographs of Chanel's iconic "faces" over the years, from Marilyn Monroe through to Nicole Kidman.

Looks like an amazing event, no doubt frequented by a host of VIP's.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Aston Martin's Still UK's Coolest Brand

Aston Martin has beaten Apple's iPhone to be crowned the coolest brand for 2008/09 in the annual UK Coolbrands survey, the carmaker's third title in as many years.

Helped by the renaissance of the James Bond franchise and the anticipated release of 'Quantum of Solace', Aston Martin remained the coolest, most stylish brand in the eyes of the Coolbrands council and over 2,500 voters.

Thousands of brands were shortlisted to a list of 1,100 for this year's survey before a Coolbrands council and 2,500 members of the public rated the brands on style, innovation, originality, authenticity and desirability.

The Coolbrands survey is also divided into series of sub-categories including media and online media.

Fashion magazine Vogue was named the coolest media brand for 2008/09, followed by Vanity Fair. YouTube, Google and Facebook make up the top three coolest online media brands.

Nervous Investors Turn To The Bottle

London's most famous wine merchant, Berry Bros. & Rudd, had one of the best weeks in its 310-year history.

At a time when global markets are tumbling, it seems as though investors are looking to put their money into safer forms of investment. For many, this translates to vintage wines.

BBR has sold around £60.5 million-worth of wine since April, it saw business surge by more than 20% over the same period last year.

It seems everyone selling bespoke wines are winning. Auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's (BID) also saw strong sales last week. Last week, Christie's sold £1.65 million worth of claret and Burgundy in just two days, with the 2000 vintage of Chateau Lafite-Roshchild fetching the equivalent of £910 a bottle.

London's Telegraph states: "Live-ex, a research company that runs a fine-wine index, estimates that prices of the best vintages have increased by 50% since the start of last year – in sharp contrast to the stock market, where prices have fallen by 15%."

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Complete Lamborghini Experience

Dal Toro, Lamborghini's 20,000-sq.-ft., $30 million megaplex showroom, which also incorporates a restaurant, boutique, nightclub and art gallery at the Palazzo Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas, has been completed and is now open for business.

Designed by renowned Italian architect Paolo Cortese, the 300-seat restaurant with its backdrop of supercars features black-and-white marble floors, wall-to-wall black leather paneling, silk fabrics, and glass-enclosed wine cellars with private dining tables.

The venue also boasts over $2 million worth of artwork including the Charging Bull - the same as the famous one on Wall Street, and identical to the Lamborghini logo - by renowned Italian artist, Arturo di Modica, as well as paintings by German contemporary artist Horst Kohlem.

There's also a club called the UltraLounge in the lower level, and the world's first Lamborghini fashion boutique carrying everything from polo shirts to iPod cases.

Via: Luxist

Doritos Challenges Consumers To Beat The Pros

Ever watched a terrible ad on TV or seen some other irrelevant advertising communications and wondered who came up with it? Ever thought that you could do better? Now Doritos USA is allowing you to do just that.

In truth, Doritos has been harnessing user-generated adverts for their yearly Super Bowl spots since 2007. The interesting bit is that for the 2009 initiative, added incentives for calls to entry has been included in the campaign.

In addition to airing one fan's self-made Doritos ad to a captive audience of millions, Doritos will give that talented winner $1 million if their :30 spot takes down "the big guys" and becomes the first-ever consumer-created commercial to claim the No. 1 ranking in USA TODAY's annual Ad Meter.

Five finalists will be selected and announced in January next year. The winner will be determined by fans' popular online vote. Each of the five finalists will receive a cash prize of US$25000, as well as a trip to the Super Bowl itself.

Via: Earth Times

Credit Card Phones Soon In US Stores

Visa has officially gone mobile, having announced a deal with Google and its new Android mobile operating platform to take advantage of new marketing technologies and pioneer mobile payment methods.

AdAge reports that with Android, users will be able to opt into a Visa system to sign up to for direct offers from marketers. Communications are sent directly to their phones, upon which the could click an "Offers" button on his or her phone to see what the latest deal might be. Then, through a "Locator" feature, which uses Google Maps, the customer can find exactly where the nearest retailer offering the deal is located.

In terms of credit card functions on your phone, Visa and partner Nokia said they will begin a trial to allow Visa payment services, including remote and contact-less payments, money transfers and alerts on the next-generation Nokia 6212 Classic, available in the US next month.

With more than 3.3 billion phones in global circulation - far more than Visa's current subscriber base of 1.6 billion cards - the potential for cellphones to take over as potential financial-transaction devices seems like a smart move.

Via: AdAge

Comic Storybook Boosts Asian Wine Sales

A Japanese anime comic series called “Kami no Shizuku” - which translates to “The Drops of God” is based on a wine enthusiast whose quest it is to find 12 of the best wines in the world.

PSFK describes the story as partly mystery but mainly a richly detailed and surreal wine review.

Reportedly, the comic series has sparked an overwhelming demand for wine in Asia, with mentions of specific wines becoming instant overnight sales phenomena. In some cases, the specific wines would literally triple in sales.

The comic is read by 500,000 Japanese each week and the sway it has over the wine market is spreading throughout Asia. Some wine importers say they have never seen such a powerful single influence on their business.

In Taiwan a single reference to a relatively obscure French brand led to dozens of cases of the wine being sold within a few days.

With the comic also being translated to Korean, the Telegraph says that sales of wine has increased from less than a third of the alcohol category market to around 70% of all alcohol sales.

Via: Telegraph, PSFK