Friday, May 30, 2008
US-based video and DVD-rental chain Blockbuster will soon be launching a pilot test of in-store kiosks as an additional entertainment distribution channel, allowing consumers to download movies and other content onto portable devices in two minutes. Eventually, Blockbuster envisions an “ATM-like” experience for entertainment dispensing.
Initially, the content will be fairly limited as the company is still in negotiations with various studios.
If successful, the kiosks could over the coming years also be rolled out in locations outside Blockbuster stores, such as at airport gates and eventually introduced to the international market.
It seems like an interesting concept in theory, but with the proliferation of web connectivity, would potential users still want to stand at a kiosk and download a movie instead of doing it from the comfort of their own homes?
Last year, a new crowd sourced project called WEbook came to life which allowed writers, editors, reviewers, illustrators and others to join forces to create works of fiction and non-fiction, thrillers and essays, short stories, children's books and more.
Once a book's authors deem their work ready for public opinion, they can submit it for a voting cycle to determine if it's worthy of publishing. Users across the site cast their votes, and the WEbook team chooses from among those with the most support which will be published under the WEbook imprint as books, eBooks and audiobooks.
WEbook published its first book a thriller titled Pandora earlier this year, with plans to publish another 3 to 5 books this year.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
The tracker can also determine what item is being looked at, then larger pictures, slideshows, or more information can be displayed on nearby screens to further enhance the display and hold the attention of the viewer.
How it works is that at least one detector will be configured to detect the gaze of shoppers. A processor can then calculate how long someone looked at a particular item. It then identifies the most looked at items and even how often longing gazes were directed on a particular object.
Sounds really invasive in theory, but if it enhances the shopping experience of a potential shopper by showing items that are relevant to him or her, would we really even notice?
A product that has achieved such phenomenal success with so much user initiated content must be doing something right. If only Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg can find some way of making money off it..
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Now Coors Light is extending its presence in the new media with efforts on the social networking Web sites Facebook, MySpace as well as YouTube.
To promote yet another feature - a new wide-mouth Coors Light can, two clips of the “perfect pour” have been posted on YouTube.
The Facebook application, due to launch next week, enables consumers ages 21 and over to send friends “Code blue” alerts on Facebook, inviting them to meet up for a Coors Light. They can also use Facebook maps to direct their posse to a nearby bar.
According to Forbes, China will be the the second largest playground behind the US for both Adidas and Nike after this year's Games in Beijing.
With Adidas being the official sponsor of the Games and Nike the endorser for most of the athletes competing during the Olympics, the endorsement strategies between the two companies will come to a head-on collision in the northern hemisphere summer.
About a third of the competing athletes will change into the Adidas gear on the medal stand, but wear their Nike sneakers during game play. That means all the action shots will be in Nike gear, but the winners in Adidas.
With Adidas having paid approximately $100 million in cash and merchandise donations for the partnership rights, whether they'll ultimately win in market-share is far from certain.
Monday, May 26, 2008
PSFK brought to our attention US retailer Macy's latest initiative. Called eSpot Vending, the retailer have installed vending machines stocked with personal electronic items ranging from cameras to iPods.
In the age where connectivity and lifestyle have intermixed, the race to supply technological enablers had long arrived. Great to see some brands finally doing something about it on the consumers' terms. Presumably, the machines accept various forms of payment other than the traditional model of coin usage.. otherwise quite a few piggy banks may have to be broken every time we feel the need for a new iPod.
Some interesting and unexpected findings were unearthed in a
Other perceptions debunked by the study is that contrary to perceptions that fast food being the poor man's choice, frequent users are typically male, below middle age and employed, with high incomes averaging 15% higher than the sample group's average household income. These high-flyers are also by no means couch-potatoes. High-frequency fast-food users are far more involved and more active than the average consumer.
Less than a third of fast-food patrons dine in. Repeat business and brand loyalty are highly dependent on positive drive-through experiences. Convenience remains the catchword to understand consumer choices between outlets.
Less than a third of fast-food patrons dine in. Repeat business and brand loyalty are highly dependent on positive drive-through experiences. Convenience remains the catchword to understand consumer choices between outlets.
Friday, May 23, 2008
In an attempt to cash in on consumers’ desires for personalised products, Mars Snackfood will launch a new website next month called M&M’s faces. Consumers will be able to log on the official website, upload a photo and order unique batches of M&M’s with the uploaded photo as well as a personal message printed on the candy shell. To mark the launch of the initiative, TV, print and digital media will be utilised to ensure awareness.
The idea of printing personalised messages on M&M's started as a small R&D project in 2004. A senior executive who had confidence in the project then urged the company to test whether the printed product would sell online. After an initially slow six months, when the company sold about eight bags of personalized candy a week, orders eventually grew to a point where the company decided to add more manufacturing capacity dedicated to making M&M's for the personalised candy business.
Mars has a heritage of allowing consumers to define M&M's. In a 1995 promotion, consumers voted blue to be the next M&M colour. Last year, Mars launched the My Inner M&M effort that directed consumers to create their own animated M&M's character on BecomeAnMM.com.
Livegrids alerted us to a walking robotic Coca-Cola vending machine in Tokyo.
Allegedly, the over-sized robot rather impolitely pinches the heads of passers-by who have an alternate cool-drink brand preference. How the robot discerns one brand from another in the hands of people is anyone's guess.
The vending machine robot have been made to the likeness of desktop toys sold in Japan which feauture the regular as well as Coke Zero.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
In very much the same vein as the Nokia N82 campaign earlier this year, a Swedish student has created a self-portrait with the help of GPS technology.
However, instead of mapping and creating the drawing with the Nokia N82, Erik Nordenankar enlisted the help of courier company DHL to create the world's largest drawing. Below is the very professional looking GPS device which was sent around the world.
It's unclear whether the idea was "inspired" by the marketing folks at DHL but executed in a way to make it look like a personal project or whether this was in fact a student project. Either way, it's great coverage for the DHL brand.
To learn more about The Biggest Drawing in the World, click here to view Erik's blog, including some "making of" clips.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
One of the luxury brand’s really successful pieces in their collection is the exclusive Titanic-DNA watch which had a two-and-a-half year waiting list back in 2004 when the watch was launched.
The Swiss watchmaker has now introduced a follow-up series of writing instruments which was inspired by numerous elements from the Titanic. There will be a variety of pens within this range, each made of different materials and with a limit of 88 pieces available for each variant.
According to Vialuxe, the pens are “presented in a variety of materials, including palladium, brass, PVD, stainless steel or gold, each Romain Jerome Titanic-DNA shows off a charming array of elements that are taken from the constructive features of ships, including rivets, a propeller, and a wheelhouse steering gear, which operates a propeller that draws ink into the pen nib; this latter feature is visible through a sapphire glass porthole. The barrel of each Romain Jerome Titanic-DNA writing object is adorned with a ring of oxidized steel, which is a fusion between actual material from the sunken vessel, and steel obtained from the Harland & Wolff shipyards, where the RMS Titanic was built”.
Jason sent out a reminder a few days ago as to why Tennis, as a spectator sport, really is not all that exciting...
Enter Lacoste. As part of their celebration of the brand's 75th anniversary, the French brand who made their name in the manufacturing of tennis apparel have unveiled a beautifully "imagineered" and futuristic 3D spot predicting what the sport would be like in 2083, 75 years from now - complete with futuristic racket, apparel and gear, as well as the balls coming from under the floor to the analysis wall.
The campaign, called "Let's reinvent the game", includes a accompanying website. Click here for a glimpse into the future of tennis.
The site allows the user to design their own car, with the ability to customise the colour and rims, ultimately showcasing the car through an interactive music video. Users also have the ability to manipulate the music and interact with the surrounding objects in the video once they have completed the customisation process. There's also a cell phone application which one can download.
The site also includes a “GLK backstage” link where the obligatory stats for the vehicle are shown.
The site is rich in new media which means the loading time in SA feels way too long. Presumably, the premium compact SUV is targeted at someone who is slightly older and a lot more sophisticated than me, with far less time for adver-games, customisation of cars and electronica music. One has to question whether this great idea was implemented on the wrong product by Mercedes.
Click here if you have the patience, time and curiosity to load the webpage and see for yourselves.
When TV became a mainstream advertising medium, most of the programs were delivered live. As a result, many advertising spots were delivered live either as an integrated part of the show, or as a live demonstrations between shows. Some products, among them Timex watches and Polaroid instant cameras, made their reputations through spots that offered audiences such live demonstrations.
As marketers strive to counter the growing ability of viewers to skip or avoid spots, live sales pitches are being reconsidered for their potential stopping and staying power.
Part of the appeal of live spots for many major US networks is said to be that live TV commercials, much like the “live reads” of commercials radio stations, is their feeling of spontaneity.
Sometimes, you’re at the liberty of the talent” delivering the live spot. You give them a script, but they could also go off the script, you have to be comfortable with that”, said Kevin Collins, vice president and associate media director at Initiative in
Other networks that have recently reworked the live advertising formula are MTV Networks and ABC in It’s not all rosy for advertisers though. Typically, live commercials are the result of collaborations between the writers of the network show and the agencies that work for the sponsor, meaning that the quality of the creative output is not always a certainty. A further potential stumbling block for live commercials is the higher cost compared with filmed or taped spots. That is partly because of the additional work involved and partly because live spots often run a minute or two, rather than the conventional 15 or 30 seconds pre-recorded spots.
It’s not all rosy for advertisers though. Typically, live commercials are the result of collaborations between the writers of the network show and the agencies that work for the sponsor, meaning that the quality of the creative output is not always a certainty. A further potential stumbling block for live commercials is the higher cost compared with filmed or taped spots. That is partly because of the additional work involved and partly because live spots often run a minute or two, rather than the conventional 15 or 30 seconds pre-recorded spots.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Google launched a beta test version of its Google Health service on Monday for archiving medical records and finding medical services.
The site - which is currently available for health-care purposes in the US only - is a personal portal that can be used to upload, store and view personal information; retrieve records from partners; investigate health matters; set alerts such as a reminder to take medication; and run applications that can, for example, keep track of how many miles a person has walked.
Google has said upfront that the service will never sell a patient's information and will only share it with the patient's permission. Users can also revoke rights to share at any time.
The company was silent on how it hopes to make money from the new innovation, besides driving more traffic to its search engine, which shows ads alongside search results, and exploiting the offering to keep users coming back for more.
A longer-term possibility may be that Google Health could be free for ordinary patients, but health professionals that need to archive data could be charged a managed-storage subscription fee.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Along with the launch is also a national polling effort that utilises user-generated content in the form of voters' responses gathered online and via mobile devices and distributes the results across the Web via a site,vw.com/whatthepeoplewant, online banners and outdoor executions.
VW's outdoor element in the buzz-building campaign is equally impressive. The execution is in the form of a 3,685-square-foot interactive billboard in New York's Times Square. It pictures the bug parked behind his microphone, alongside the headline "The people want their voice to be heard." VW is the first brand to utilise an interactive technology which allows a two-way dialogue with passersby via SMS.
Using their cell phones, pedestrians text their yes or no responses to the poll questions appearing on the sign, and through WAP technology, their texted votes are recorded live on a news ticker. As an added bonus, participants can purchase T-shirts displaying the poll of their choice and the name of who submitted it, a detail which is also displayed beneath each question on the Web site and online banners.
It's an interesting and highly interactive campaign which makes the user feel as if a corporate company is listening to them and looking out for them. Whether VW are planning on acting on some of the things that matter to the people is entirely another matter.
The show - called Nike 702 - aimed at offering attendees a sense of what Nike has accomplished over the years and ultimately highlight their credentials as the sporting world's most cutting edge and technology driven brand.
The exhibition revolved around 100 of Nike's finest accomplishments in the sporting arena, ranging from its roots in running to accolades in basketball, soccer and cycling among other sports. Actual samples on hand included Michael Johnson's golden track spike, various signature models and apparel as well as various interactive displays.
There have been many more gaming titles released over the past 12 months such as Halo 3, as well as the next installment of the "Call of Duty" series. Consider further the family-orientated Wii gaming platform, the $18 billion industry is clearly quite a healthy and profitable one.
So how are marketers capitalising on this buoyant platform? EA Games' evergreen Sims franchise have already had BP on board for the petrol giant's educational green campaign. More recently, IKEA have produced an add-on in order to turn "your Sims' living room into a haven of comfort and relaxation" with a whole range of IKEA furniture and decor. EA have also struck a deal with Ford previously to enable Sims players' characters to own a Focus or Mustang car. To date, 2.7m Ford add-ons have been sold.
By keeping the branding and messaging relevant to the gaming platform and adding value to the user experience, brands can certainly gain a whole lot of return on their investment, especially with gaming on the increase.
Friday, May 16, 2008
This time, the fast food giants have gone with a fun print campaign called “Wake up with a premium roast coffee” featuring wind-up toys depicting a Worker, Mechanic, and a Salesman, all jobs that require starting fresh early in the morning. The toys are shown seemingly sleepy and without energy, and are invited to wake up with McDonald’s new premium roast coffee.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
In their bid to create an even richer experience for users, Google have added new features to Google Maps. Wikipedia articles and geotagged photos enhance the information of the location a potential user is searching for.
According to Tech Crunch, Google has also integrated real-estate listings if you click on the “show search options” link. One can search by real estate, businesses, locations, user-created content, and mapped Web pages.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
National Geographic photographer Randy Olsen was hired and contributed over 20000 photos and many hours of video footage, spanning from the Australian Outback to the Yukon in Canada.
Taking it one step further, Toyota have launched a traveling photo exhibition and lecture series in various cities worldwide. The effort is also being followed up in a 30 minute TV show, as well as a coffee table book and print campaign. You can view the online element of the campaign by clicking here.
Pretty decent return on investment I'd say.
There has been yet another viral campaign doing the rounds lately, this time courtesy of Levi's. In this video, one can see clips showing a bunch of acrobatic friends doing jumps and backflips into a pair of jeans. The idea sounds simple enough, but for me, the execution has more than a hint of Axe's "Get a Girlfriend" campaign to it.
Nevertheless, the video has been viewed around 2,6 million times on YouTube to date.
Contagious Magazine had an interesting write-up recently on the effort, citing the lack of overt branding and just "lo-fi"enough to make us think that this is bona fide user-generated content.
Trend Hunter, on the other hand, seem to have their doubts about the genuine-ness of the clip and suspect strongly that this was a Levi's effort. You can read their write-up by clicking here and decide for yourselves. Either way, with so much coverage and so many views, I'm sure the initial objectives set by Levi's have been more than adequately met.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Nike launched a new social networking-type program called 1/1 earlier this month in an attempt to build a community of artists around the Nike brand and the theme of soccer.
The site invites users to join the 1/1 community and submit a football-themed piece of artwork which is then displayed in the online gallery from which 11 winners will be shown at a real-world exhibition in Basel, alongside the work of 11 professional creatives. Ultimately, one artwork will be used on a limited edition pair of shoes.
There're still a couple of days left for you to submit your inspired design as entries close on the 18th May 2008!
Luxury brands worldwide are latching onto viral communications like never before. Tommy Hilfiger have recently launched TommyTV, Cartier has launched a series of short films with French filmmaker Olivier Dahan, whilst Belvedere Vodka launched their Let It Rain campaign.
AgendaInc comments that while many online video initiatives are merely traditional, mainstream campaigns posted online, their opinion is that the PPR Group, in particular, have demonstrated a real understanding for the medium and are executing it in ways that are clearly a cut above their competitors.
The two best examples cited are the Sergio Rossi viral from the Shoe Love series, as well as Prada’s Trembled Blossoms.
Monday, May 12, 2008
GodTube.com, a YouTube knockoff for the evangelical set, is one step closer to building a kingdom on earth.
The site shows Christian videos and features a flip-through Bible and prayer blogs, had recently won a $30 million investment courtesy of a big London hedge fund. The investment valued GodTube at nearly $150 million.
When it was formally introduced in August 2007 , GodTube was the fastest-growing Web site, as rated by comScore, attracting 1.7 million unique visitors for the month. The traffic remains about the same today. “People thirst for more than just a once-a-week relationship with the Lord and Savior,” said Jason Illian, Big Jump Media’s chief strategy officer. “They desire something that they can live out 24/7.”
Absolut Vodka's latest campaign called "In an Absolut world" has taken the Free Economy to the next level.
In Berlin, the vodka giants introduced Absolut ATM's which gave away FREE CASH during a very happy hour.
In total, 12,000 Euro were given away for free. For their return on investment, Absolut Vodka recieved huge amounts of news coverage in TV, press, online and by word of mouth. It is estimated that the witty campaign generated more than 1.5 million media contacts.
Wouldn't bet on this campaign being extended to South Africa, sadly.
Friday, May 9, 2008
The site has separate pages for products, celebrities, brands, TV shows and movies and links them to various actors, athletes, business icons, musicians and politicians.
For example, Pepsi's page has links to YouTube clips of Pepsi commercials featuring celebrities and candid photos of Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Alba with the soft drink.
In addition, the site has pages for cars, pets, organizations, places and events that all connect back to celebrities.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
In terms of sustainability, the green trend, energy use and carbon footprint have been in the spotlight or quite a while now. But in a recent PSFK article, futurist Marion Salzman says, “the era of apparently limitless clean water supplies is ending, and I think clean water is going to be the big eco debate of this year.”
The article also states that the United Nations estimates that a worrying 1.1 billion people lack access to safe water globally, and that by 2050 that figure will double to more than two billion. To worsen the picture, many country's high pollution levels and unrealistic water management practices will only drain the world's resources even further.
Currently, the cost of implementing water-saving and purification initiatives are highly expensive, but will we not pay a far heavier price for it later down the line if we don't do something about it now?
Crocs, the makers of aesthetically-challenged but (what many claim to be) the most comfortable walking shoes in the world, have unveiled a new city walk-about and travel website in their latest attempt to cut through the advertising clutter.
The site provides high-definition video presentations of local shops and restaurants in various US cities. There's minimal Croc branding on the site and within the content, apart from maps that list and direct viewers to Croc stockists, as well asthe presenters in the video clips wearing Crocs.
Check out some of the guides on the official "Crocs:City by Foot" site.
The US Television Bureau of Advertising commissioned Nielsen to conduct a survey on consumer media habits earlier this year. The results of which completely blows the theory of "Death to the TVC" completely out the water, at least for now...
Ad Age reports extensively on the findings but here are some interesting snippets:
- The 25- to 54-year-old demographic spend 53% of their total daily media hours with TV, more than all other mediums combined.
- The survey also showed that TV advertising overwhelmingly remains the most influential with 81.4% of the 25-54 adult segment, compared with advertising on internet (6.5%), newspapers (5.8%), radio (3.9%) and magazines (2.3%).
- Of the over 1200 surveyed, it was also reported that TV had the most persuasive advertising (69.9%), as opposed to 9.5% for newspapers, 7.5% for radio and 8.1% for magazines. Internet advertising scored lowest in persuasive advertising, at 5.1%.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
The battery-powered car is said to comprise mostly of carbon fibre, full Bentley leather interiors and a custom designed Bentley steering wheel. The manufacturer has committed the odd-looking car in several British races this year. It'd be a great victory in our quest for alternative fuel sources should the car do well and gain some recognition and coverage. Sadly, the car won't be available as yet to the public.
To find out more about the car and the development team, click here to visit the Bentley site.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Google have commissioned artists to design igoogle search pages designed by artists including fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, Nigo of The Bathing Ape, Dolce & Gabbana, and more.
Now you can have a useful AND pretty homepage by clicking here.
With this profit and attention, the opportunity to do something socially responsible with the medium has arrived. This year's Xbox 360 Games for Change Challenge will represent the first time a game development category has been available during the Imagine Cup, a student competition requiring entrants to write and develop their own games.
This year, students will face the ultimate test of their creative and technical skills as they create a game that is not only entertaining but has a social message about creating a sustainable environment.
The theme of Imagine Cup 2008, “Imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment,” is a challenge to top student technologists around the world to actively contribute to the mission of protecting our world for generations to come.
What a story it would be if the solution to some of the problems we face today are solved by some video game-loving students!
Friday, May 2, 2008
Now another group is parodying Facebook. Idiots of Ants, a UK comedy group, has created a video in which Facebook mannerisms are applied in real life encounters. It's hilarious, but also makes you think about how irrational the social networking concept really is... and should make all Facebook addicts feel a little sheepish.
Trendhunter brings to our attention some interesting Microsoft UK initiatives.
The software giants are seemingly planning to launch the "Senior PC", targeting the more than 17 million UK citizens who are described as “digitally excluded”. The machine, which Microsoft is developing in partnership with charities Age Concern and Help the Aged, utilizes a simple and intuitive interface that caters to older users.
But that seems not enough. Reports have suggested that Microsoft are also working on an ad-funded PC and one that uses a “social software licensing model” for the household that cannot afford their own PC.
“In partnership with Milton Keynes council, this machine will come preloaded with a ‘digital literacy curriculum’ - a step by step guide to how to get online, be safe and perform simple computer tasks,” the BBC says. “Initially it will be given to a thousand households and this will be gradually scaled up to 10,000.”
The recently launched Nokia 3110 website features their new environmentally friendly phone, the 3110.
There's not much in the way of technical features of the phone on the site, but rather focuses on the ecological aspects of the project. The messages are conveyed through various testimonials by the key members on the 3110 project.
The site is rich in animation but sadly lacks interactivity, giving the users really little reason to go back to the site. There are also no devices that allows the message to be spread virally, which I found quite disappointing.