Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lego's Augmented Reality

Danish toy manufacturers Lego has attempted to make use of augmented reality technology in their latest marketing effort.

An interactive terminal can be found at the point-of-sale in selected toy stores and Lego stores with a special software program developed exclusively for the Lego group. Together with a camera and display screen, the software reveals a fully-assembled 3D animation of the contents for selected boxes of Lego sets.

As the technology increases in sophistication in the coming years, the level of interactivity would naturally increase too - making the shopping experience that much richer for customers.

Via: Notcot

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Adverts That Grow - Literally

At this year's Detroit Motor Show, Toyota showed off the 3rd generation Prius - further highlighting the hybrid and green credentials for the brand.

The communications for the new Prius at the show was rather interesting in itself. Toyota gave away thousands of paper cards with seeds embedded in them.

The front contains a simple tag line that says ‘Good ideas grow. Literally.’ The back has the planting instructions, which are essentially burying the card in soil and watering it. Each card contains a mix of annual and perennial wildflower seeds.


Give A Little, Take A Lot Later

Towards the end of 2009, the Python team, fed up by the tens of thousands of clips illegally uploaded to YouTube by fans, took an unusual step to combat falling sales of their DVD's.

Instead of removing each illegal clip on video sharing site such as YouTube, the team made their intellectual property officially available, labeled, sorted and categorised in high-quality, with a call to action asking people to buy the official DVDs.

According to FastCompany:

"The trick of making Monty Python videos available for free online has boosted DVD sales of the comedy sketch show. If you compare DVD sales figures on Amazon before and after the creation of the Monty Python YouTube channel, the boost apparently tallies in at around 23,000%."

Not a bad return for a little generosity is it? Perhaps there's a lesson for a lot of brands who are still clinging onto what they feel is rightly theirs? Time to consider a bit of giving before the taking...

Via: FastCompany

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cadbury's Latest Viral - The Eyebrow Dance

Having made it big virally in 2008 with the drumming gorilla, Cadbury - through Glass and a Half Full Productions - has launched their latest effort in the hopes of recreating the past successes.

The latest feature shows off some facial acrobatics from a pair of schoolchildren who are involved in an eyebrow dance-off. Have a look below..

Friday, January 23, 2009

Reality Shows Flighted Exclusively In-Store

Endemol, the production company responsible for hit reality shows such as Big Brother, Deal or no Deal and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition have recently introduced a new show with a twist.

Instead of having to tune in regularly on TV to catch your latest installment, the show, named "Waiting for a Ride", will instead be shown in various retail locations in two-and-a-half minute episodes and updated monthly.

David Armour, VP-Endemol Digital Studios, said digital out of home was an appealing new area for Endemol to invest in original content because of its ability to reach younger audiences in targeted, on-the-go environments. But like any new content platform, the show will be measured and even filmed differently than a typical TV series.

The show promises to be very much more engaging than other reality shows in order to keep consumers. In addition to reaching Access 360's (the outdoor digital media owners who teamed up with Endemol on this venture) estimated monthly in-store audience of 43 million young adults, the series eventually will be distributed online, with exclusive behind-the-scenes content, as well as additional mobile call-to-action elements.

Roman Tsunder, president and founder of Access 360 Media has said that the cost of the spots will be one fifth of traditional TV rates, making the medium a logical choice for marketers as well.

Via: AdAge

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Kraft Foods' Inspired iPhone Marketing

When a marketer creates something that's actually useful, consumers don't really see it as straight marketing, or they're at least willing to accept advertising as the payoff.Kraft Foods have certainly proved it in the US with their iPhone application launched in December last year. Called the iFood Assistant, the application is subject to a once-off 99c download fee, as well as other advertising when used.

Despite these annoyances which could potentially turn consumers off, the application has reached the top hundred of the devices' paid download applications, and also ranks second in the lifestyle category.

The iFood Assistant's rich interface works well with the handset, and its navigation is similar to that of the iPod. The application offers a host of recipes, browse-able by ingredients, meal type or prep time. Consumers can also register at to save recipes and build shopping lists. Recipes come with instructions simple enough for the novices, and also features daily recipes (made of Karft ingredients) to try and tempt consumers.

Via: AdAge, Kraft Foods

Thursday, January 15, 2009

World Thorium Fuel Concept Vehicle

US designer Loren Kulesus has designed a prototype vehicle for Cadillac which would theoretically be able to run for 100 years under daily use.

According to the designer, there are redundancies and back-up systems built for all the major systems of the vehicle so even if something were to fail on the vehicle it would continue to function.

For example, the vehicle has 24 wheels with individual internal induction motors. All that's required in terms of upkeep on the vehicle is the need for the tyres to be re-adjusted once every 5 years.

In terms of the body of the vehicle, the designer has envisaged that it flexes like a muscle to allow superior road-handling characteristics, as well as allowing for automatic adjustment of the angle of the wheels to the contact surface of the road according to the movement of the vehicle - thereby maximising efficiency to power the vehicle.

Via: Coroflot, PSFK

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lego-Branded Electronics

In an interesting brand collaboration between Lego and digital manufacturers Digital Blue will come a new source of high-tech toys which is set to be Lego shaped.
Later this year, consumers can expect to see Lego-themed digital cameras, walkie-talkies, low-end video cameras, MP3 players and a bunch of other electronic toys - all aimed at children and costing between $30 to $60.While these gizmos will be Lego-themed and classic toy brick-shaped, it might disappoint a few fans that they won't come apart who might be tempted to combine and integrated various devices.

Via: Fastcompany, Kids Tech Review

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Beginning of Anti-Energy Drinks?

It seems the US has given birth to a whole new drinks category.

Led by a product called "Drank" - a purple-tinged carbonated beverage that combines the natural calming qualities of Melatonin, Valerian Root and Rose Hips, the so-called “relaxation” or “anti-energy drink” category is upon us.

PSFK notes an interesting twist in the marketing of the product:

"Wishing to capture a youthful audience, the Houston-based Innovation Beverage Group, is playing up the drink’s hip-hop roots from its slogan promising to “Slow Your Roll” to promotional efforts that include distributing free samples from a Hummer and placing the product in a recent rap video. And while these associations might appear rather innocuous on the surface, given Drank’s obvious similarities to dangerous street concoctions with names like “purple drank” and “sizzurp” that combine cough syrup and soda, the company’s tactics are more than a little troubling."

With the Innovative Beverage Group reporting sales just shy of $1.5 million through the end of September 2008 - a few months after the product launched - there seems very little wrong with the positioning and the marketing of the product.

Via: PSFK, NY Times

Brainy Games

Toy makers Mattel have recently launched a new game with an interesting, futuristic difference.

Mind Flex requires players to wear a headset equipped with sensors that measure brainwave activity in order to levitate a ball and move it through hoops. The sensors detect and measure the output of one brainwave frequency which increases with concentration. The waves are converted into a signal then sent to the game unit, which in turn powers the little fans, causing the ball to float.

Via: Guardian, PSFK

Friday, January 9, 2009

Prove Your Love For The Whopper

There's no such thing as a free meal, but how much is a free Burger King Whopper worth to you? In the fast-food chain's latest promotion, a free Whopper comes at a small price of 10 Facebook friends.

Interested customers need to install the Whopper Sacrifice application on their Facebook profiles and begin the de-Facing process to claim their Whooper.

Considering the sheer number of vague contacts so many of us have on Facebook, the deal might as well be free. So far, according to the promotional site, over 48000 friends have already been converted into meals.

Via: Adverblog, Whopper Sacrifice

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pay As You Fly

A South African company by the name of Airtime Airlines is preparing to change the way we think about airline ticketing with a creative pricing model.
The company will be launching a new system called iFly Airtime, a pay-as-you-fly system that allows passengers to purchase “flying minutes” and book flights using the text message function on their cell phones. The company will attribute values to each leg of their flights at a set number of "flying minutes", regardless of any potential delays.

All reservations must be booked within 90 days of purchasing airtime and all travel must take place within 365 days to eliminate wholesale purchase of flying minutes.
The company will co-brand with cellphone network service providers MTN, Vodacom and Cell C. For those who are unable to book within the requisite time-frame, flying minutes will be made transferable to their cell phone accounts. Furthermore, flyers who sign-up for the frequent flyer program will receive a free phone from one of the above providers after purchase of their first flight.

There are still a certain amount of red tape for Airtime Airlines prior to their planned launch in February, but it'd be interesting to see whether a new player on the market can overcome some well established brands through their innovative and novel offering.

Via: Wired, PSFK

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Certainty (And Brand Building) In Uncertain Times

In the face of so much doom and gloom for all brands, especially in the automotive industry, Hyundai in the US has again innovated in an attempt to set them apart from other manufacturers.

Hyundai's new "Assurance Program" allows new-vehicle buyers or those who lease to return their cars for up to a year after purchase if they lose their income due to a job loss. The free coverage is available to all buyers at participating dealerships and covers up to $7,500 in a buyers' negative equity. A reassuring thought for potential buyers and a great way to ensure that stock continues moving off Hyundai's showroom floors without cheapening their brand in any way.

Hyundai's Assurance Program, when compared to some other US manufacturers who are offering two cars for the price of one comes across as far more cerebral and certainly doesn't have the same smell of desperation as that of the GM Dodge offers.

Communications for Hyundai US are created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and broke earlier this month throughout the US. Click here to see one of the new spots.

Via: AdAge

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Design Your Table On Your Phone

A Swiss company called mSHAPE has introduced a new technology which allows customers to tailor and design their own tables, literally from the palm of their hands.

Interested users can download and install the mTABLE application onto their phones. Thereafter, users are able to select the general table they are looking for, their desired material and dimensions, as well as adding personal touches in the form of decorations. Users can also create a variety dips, dents, and holes on the surface of their table.

Individual designs can then be submitted to the company's website whereby a high-res 3D version of the table can be viewed. Users also have the option of browsing other designs. Once the order has been verified and ordered, customers will receive their unique creations within 12 weeks.

It seems like an interesting way to get more consumers interacting with this particular brand in a novel way, but the extra step of having to log on to the site to view and place their orders seems like an unnecessary hassle which might annoy potential users.