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