Smart Garments: Levi’s & Google Partner to Create Smart Jeans

Google has created a conductive thread that can be embedded into textiles on the loom, essentially turning a fabric into a touch screen. This new thread can be included in any existing loom or machine, allowing the garment with the thread to be created for mass-creation. The only other component needed is a small Bluetooth controller that can be hidden in a pocket. The fabric can then be paired with other gadgets through the Bluetooth capability.

Since this conductive thread can be used by any existing loom or machine, it makes mass-production seem possible in the near future (as opposed to a project like Google Glass which was only available to a small population).

Levi’s is expected to release a pair of “smart jeans” in early 2016. “So imagine a pair of jeans where you can invisibly control media playback on your smartphone, silence an incoming call, adjust your home’s smart lights, send simple messages to friends, and more. All without pulling out your phone, just by tapping and swiping on the fabric.”

Text Stefan: Return of SMS (instead of mobile app)

A friend recently recommended texting “Stefan.” ( Who is Stefan? You can text him too: 646-759-0904

After texting Stefan, you occasionally receive a text about certain items from an exclusive line of streetwear that can only be purchased by responding to the text message. Through texting, the service drives a very personal connection to the consumer. Moreover, this discovery process pushes the product to the consumer in a much different fashion than most online purchases are found.

Digging a bit further into this trend, I found a bunch of other similar services. My favorite was a service called Cloe (available in NY and SF). Instead of an app, one just has to text Cloe, who responds with a personal SMS like a personal assistant.

Why I’m Curious: I’m intrigued to see how this behavior may become more common. In terms of UX, it’s easier to send a quick text and get a direct response rather than spending time scrolling through the internet or even through an app. Plus to start, it is also la ow barrier (no download!). Though it seems outdated, SMS service apps may be the future…

Related Link: Fast Company

Virtual Date Over Ramen Noodles?

What are you supposed to do while you are waiting for your cup of instant noodles?

Instead of just waiting simply at your brand, Nissin Foods created a deeper experience by creating a “virtual date” with a Japanese actor, Takumi Saitoh. It’s a simple idea, but I found it fascinating especially knowing that Japan has a population crisis (lots of single men and women and less marriages).

It’s certainly a quirky way to create an emotional bond with the product, though it only caters to straight women; there is no option for a female date. However, I truly like how it integrates the offline with the online demonstration. I’m not sure if this would be successful in the US due to different cultural norms, but it certainly is a new way to wait for your ramen noodles.

Read more:

WSJ Article


Brands Consider Moral & Social Responsibility for Campaigns & Projects

Volvo is widely known as a SAFE automobile brand. Though the message of being a “safe” brand may not be that appealing to millennials, Volvo instead incorporated the “safe” brand image with a campaign that benefited the larger community. More and more research shows the importance of corporate social responsibility/ good, specifically to millennials.


Volvo instead executed a campaign that aligned with their brand image, and helped the greater community and was even able to tie it back to cars, by creating a spray that illuminates cyclists.

Why I’m Curious: As brands realize the increasing importance of social responsibility, brands will also need to align with the ideals that their brand stands for, and then execute and demonstrate these beliefs. As brands become more strongly linked to their established ideals/values,consumers will also develop deeper and more emotional ties to these brands.

GEICO Creates “Unskippable” Ads

YouTube allows users to skip after watching the first 5 seconds of a video. GEICO focused on the core message of “savings” which was the only message that was conveyed within that short time span. Therefore, even if the user skipped the preroll, he or she still was the most important message.

However, the videos continued on and ranged from 30 seconds to over a minute. Most users were curious to know what would happen after the ad “was over.” After the user is told they are unable to skip “because it’s already over,”  the user is curious to see what will happen in the video. The various spots show the actors “frozen in time”, as time continues on; the spots show the people slightly moving or hanging from strings as they are “frozen,” just being funny and silly rather than stressing a brand message.

Why I’m Curious: GEICO was able to create a “new” type of ad that was specifically formatted to the various restrictions and within their viewing environment (which was YT here). While this may not be a best practice, it was certainly a first and therefore gained attention for the brand (which often happens). However, the larger question remains. Are regular consumers noticing this? Or is this just something new and shiny for those within the advertising industry?

Brands Steal Spotlight From One Another: Doritos

Doritos has asked consumers to create their own ads since 2006, guaranteeing at least consumer ad to be featured during the Super Bowl.  The spots typically generate views, as well as healthy debate about which user generated spot is the best.

Thus far this year, two other brands have also joined the Doritos party. Newcastle recently created a spot that poked fun at Doritos, by blatantly showcasing Newcastle beer throughout the commercial. SumOfUs created a fantastic spot, which ends with a major twist, highlighting PepsiCo’s role in deforestation (thereby initiating negative conversation around Doritos ). The ad had a lighter and fun story-line and took such a drastic turn at the end:

Why I’m Curious: In the past, brands attempted to be disruptive in larger conversations (that were really consumer driven). Brands are continuing to be disruptive, but instead of playing off of consumer conversation, they are are inserting themselves into other brand-initiated conversations. Since brands can predict and therefore plan for other brands’ campaigns (especially ones like Doritos’ Super Bowl campaign that have become institutional), it allows for more creativity and time. It will be interesting to see how far this can go and to what point, people will find this entertaining.

Consumer Virtual Reality is (Almost) Here. Brands Should Pay Attention

Virtual Reality is one of those futuristic technologies that has felt tantalizingly close to going mainstream for the past decade (See this Sinbad movie gif from 1996 if you don’t believe me). One of the biggest challenges is that it is prohibitively expensive and technically challenging to capture VR content. That all may change thanks to Samsung’s Project Beyond, a multi-camera device built to capture 3D footage for use with Samsung’s Gear VR headset.

Beyond (which was announced at Samsung’s developer conference) has 16 individual high-definition cameras arranged as a disc—capturing its surroundings with overlapping coverage, stitched together to create a 3 dimensional world. According to Samsung, Beyond captures and processes 35 megapixels per frame—roughly a gigapixel per second.

Beyond is designed to capture content for use on Samsung’s Gear VR, which is scheduled to release in beta before the year is out. The headset, which relies on users slotting their Samsung Note 4 into the frame, falls short of the quality Occulus Rift, but has been reviewed favorably overall.

Why I’m curious: Samsung’s VR system holds promise to lower the cost of VR technology, paving the way for brands  to create and sponsor immersive content that would allow consumers to experience products and brands in an entirely new way. Consider shopping for an Audi in an interactive VR environment or listening to a label’s new artist at an immersive live-stream of their concert.

Unfortunately, Samsung didn’t set a firm release date or price for either device, but given the Note integration and the war with the iPhone, affordable virtual reality may finally be less than a year away.

Watch the Beyond demo here

Pantene’s Integration W/ Your iPhone Keyboard

First off, this was the first time that I’ve heard of BrightKey (, which I love because it’s such a simple app but provides users with some control and customization over their phone (which is constantly being used).

Pantene partnered with BrightKey to release a custom iPhone keyboard, focusing on the color aspect of the mobile app and leveraging 11 of Pantone’s swatches.

Why I’m Curious: The author of the article showed dismay at the integration; he envisioned further integration of Pantone’s capabilities such as providing endless colors (opposed to only 11), allowing consumers to communicate by sending “swatches of color” to specify certain colors, or perhaps even changing their font to a certain color.

However, I found the integration to be interesting since it makes the brand Pantone synonymous with color to the average consumer, thereby keeping the brand top of mind for a consumer (when potentially thinking about new color options for their home). This is an app that is useful and something that spreads awareness and brings Pantone top of mind to a wider audience (as opposed to an interior design focused audience), and touches the average homeowner/renter.

Netflix’s Reactive OOH Advertising

As technology allows marketers to try innovative methods of advertising, the latest capabilities are often leveraged in terms of real-time executions in digital (whether through social or interesting targeting capabilities). However, it’s always impressive when digital and OOH are well-integrated. Netflix leveraged fun GIFs from their different movies, with contextually relevant copy (whether news, weather or time (weekday vs. weekend, time, etc)).

I think the ads are captivating, and also fun, providing some capability to show a character’s personality through the selected GIF, while also being contextually relevant to the audience.

I’m curious to see how technology will allow marketers to further integrate digital with OOH and traditional methods of advertising.

IKEA Brings You To The Future

IKEA recently created a campaign around bringing people into the future. The video showcases a hypnotist asking random shoppers if they want to be hypnotized. After a couple agrees, he takes them through different stages of their lives together (with their daughter at 6, 18, and older), and puts them in different set-up scenes at IKEA. It’s a great way to showcase how IKEA can be the resource to decorating your home, and a clever way to showcase certain set-ups (like the kitchen, bedroom, etc) with the focus being on the entertainment.

Why I’m Curious: I’m delighted by this because I find the video truly entertaining, and it simultaneously reminds me of how IKEA’s stores have great set-ups for different settings (bedroom, kitchen, etc) to truly feel make the consumer feel as though he/she is at home. It also makes me think of IKEA as a resource for my “home” instead of just a place to get bookcases and chairs.

Connecting the Digital & Offline in Shopping

MVSE brings together both the benefits of online shopping to the store. As someone who has grown accustomed to shopping online, it’s exciting to see the online perks (such as accessible detailed product information, customer reviews, other suggestions (what goes with this, etc?) also shown in a retail setting.

A user is able to use their smartphone to scan into the touch-screen into the fitting room, which tracks everything that she tries on and can view details of the product on the touch screen, as well as contacting a sales associate quickly. By tracking the items that someone tried on, the company can also share when that goes on sale or can provide coupons for that item if they share it through social. The mobile app will also help build up a personal profile to understand the customer better.

Why I’m Curious:
Though I like to try something on before purchasing, I hate waiting in lines. If I could use my mobile app to help me keep track of what I liked in a store, and easily purchase it later at home (though that wasn’t really featured in the video), I think it could really help the consumer journey! Also, if I could easily keep track of items that I’ve tried on and when they go on sale, it also provides utility to the consumer!

Hudson Yards Project is building a connected neighborhood next to Starrett Lehigh


The largest private real estate project ever is being built right next door to mcgarrybowen’s home in the iconic Starrett-Lehigh building. This project is unique in that it’s being built from the ground up, and developers are capitalizing the opportunity to build a future-forward, all-inclusive neighborhood.

The developers are collaborating with NYU to create a “data-rich research environment” to quantify and analyze a number of verticals. Data could be collected for air quality, recycling, activity levels and health, or mobile browsing data. Most of the stream of data will come from building systems or smart “Internet of things” devices and appliances. But some will be supplied voluntarily by those who opt-in to the program, supplying access to sensors and apps on their smartphones.

Why I’m Curious

I’m sure we all hear rampant use of buzzwords like Internet of Things, Big Data, connected cities, and hyper-contextualized personalization. I’m so excited to see a project that is actually considering how to make those concepts accessible to a greater population. Since Manhattan is already incredibly developed, it often seems like there is little room for growth. This project shows that the future is rife with opportunity for NYC to become a part of the future of our connected world.

[via FastCompany]

The greatest app ever made.

Screenshot 2014-08-01 10.46.28

Oh great gods of Android, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Do you love cats? Do you love anonymously driving a loved one insane? Then I have the app for you. About two years ago uber genius, Kyle Venn, wanted to learn how to create Android apps. With some inspiration from an infamous Reddit trolling and good ‘ol American ingenuity, Venn created Cat Facts. Good things take time.

Cat Facts is simple. Download the app. Choose someone that you want to bedevil from your contacts. Schedule the frequency of said bedeviling and hit go. Done. Cat Facts will do the rest by sending your chosen recipient a random fact about cats at your chosen time interval. GENIUS.

Download it now. And if anyone needs Scott Murphy’s phone number, email me.

(via The Verge)


General Mills recently launched a new cereal, Peanut Butter Cheerios.  Whether that sounds delicious or not the campaign around it certainly is.  In order to promote the new flavor of Cheerios they created a campaign around dads instead of moms.

Why I’m Curious

Cheerios created a hashtag #howtodad that received over 600+ mentions in the first week and positive sentiment around the campaign from not only dads but moms as well.  They not only highlight the benefits of being a dad but show dad in a positive aspect.  Most brands are showing dad as a dummy or goof where the mom has to step in a show him how to do the simplest of tasks.  It is no wonder that the campaign would receive positive feedback as it champions the dad and naturally neutralizes the parents roles as equal partners.

Sustainable Glasses Made of Wood Sales Plant New Trees Worldwide

SEED eyewear is a new start-up, which follows the ‘One for One’ concept with their sunglass line.

For each pair sold, SEED will plant five new trees in forests around the world

According to SEED, it is estimated that 3-6 billion trees are destroyed each year for various reasons. While deforestation itself is a massive undertaking to combat, SEED has partnered with tree planting organizations worldwide to ensure that with every purchase, a new tree is properly planted.

They aim to support the places, which rely the most heavily on their forests for survival, beginning with Haiti, Ethiopia, and Madagascar.

The creators are a pair from Slovenia who combines their love of fashion and design with their global consciousness for the planet. An Indiegogo campaign is currently underway to raise funds for the line of eyewear made 100% from bamboo, making the glasses both lightweight and able to float in water.


 Why I am interested?

Glasses made of woods? And for each pair sold, a tree is planted? At first, I did not find this concept very logical and when I learned that Bamboo was one of the fastest growing plants in the world, durable and known as the renewable substitute to other types of wood, it made sense.

The coolest thing about this concept is to see that new fashion trends can have positive ramifications for the environment.

Wrigley’s Gum Advertises In Place of Utility

Though a very simple idea, Wrigley’s Orbit gum was able to advertise their product in a clever and innovative way. By placing a sample of the gum in a coffee sleeve, Orbit gum makes sure that it’s in a convenient place for consumers when they think about getting rid of that “coffee breath.”

Samples are often a great way to get people to try your product, but successful executions on providing samples at the most relevant place and time are much harder to find.

Why I’m Curious: Simple, easy design and approach on putting Orbit in front of the consumer at the right time PLUS it provides utility. Simple always wins.

“Exhilaration” By Emile Sandé Feat. Jaguar

Recently, a wave of musical artists and brands have made prominent appearances. Two months ago it was in the form of Shakira’s “La La La”, sponsored by Activia. Now it’s Scottish singer Emile Sandé, banding together with Jaguar as part of their new campaign.

Sandé’s aim in this partnership is to both crowdsource a new song by using “photos, words or sounds” to describe feeling exhilarated, using #FeelXE on social media – the same hashtag for the Jaguar XE Sports Sedan. This new song will be dedicated to the sedan and will be unveiled during an “audio-visual” spectacle to mark the launch.

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 10.22.12 AM

Why I’m Curious:

With the rise of content-based marketing, and on the heels of the success from the Activia sponsored Shakira spot (becoming the most shared ad, surpassing Volkswagen’s “The Force”), this new collaboration between Emile Sandé and Jaguar brings high attention to this type of strategy. In addition to linking to a celebrity, this also allows Jaguar to jump through some of the licensing hoops for ads. Although the cost of this effort is unknown, it appears to be both an efficient and effective way to blend brands into content, aside from the norm.

Augmented Shopping Assistant Helps Shoppers Find Products And In-Store Deals

Google, in collaboration Walgreens and the mobile shopper platform Aisle411, has announced a new augmented reality shopping assistant that makes in-store deals “pop out” and helps shoppers find products on the shelves more efficiently.

A video released by Google (below) shows shoppers pushing a shopping cart equipped with a tablet. Each tablet uses Google’s Project Tango indoor 3D mapping technology to accurately and precisely sense its location within the store.

As shoppers move down the aisle, the tablet displays the exact locations of items on their shopping list and alerts them about deals on nearby products.

A gaming element has been introduced as well, allowing shoppers to earn rewards points by walking down certain aisles indicated on their store map.

The program will be piloted in retailers across the country in the coming months.

Why I’m Curious

I’m always interested in brick and mortar retailer’s efforts to offer connivence and service on par with their online counterparts. This latest effort is interesting because it goes a step further than in-store push notifications of deals. The precision of indoor mapping technology lets retailers know where you are, which products you’re nearby, and presumably (if you are using a shopping list feature) what’s in your cart. Using this information, retailers can gain insights about what you shop for and how you shop for it. They may know that you like buying certain items on a Monday, and offer you personalized rewards or incentives to get you shopping at their store more frequently.

It wasn’t that long ago when large-scale mapping projects such as Google Earth seemed mind-bogglingly cool, and now they are something that we take for granted. I’m curious to see how the indoor mapping revolution plays out and what new conveniences and annoyances come out of it.


Yahoo Developing Map Algorithm To Find Scenic Routes

Yahoo Labs is adding a dimension to their navigation algorithm that aims to provide more beautiful, quiet, and happy ways to get from A to B. Researchers at Yahoo Labs sourced images from Google Streetview (irony surely not lost on them) and crowdsourced user opinions about which streets were more beautiful via, then assigned an attractiveness variable to each location. When calculating a route, the navigation tool considers beauty alongside distance and traffic to generate a path that’s not only efficient but pleasant. The full study is available via Cornel University Library open-access archive.

via Gizmodo

Yahoo Scenic Map Algorithm

Why I’m Curious

Jokes about using their competitor’s tool to conduct this experiment aside, I’m impressed by Yahoo’s effort to identify whitespace in a market so dominated by Google.

This also serves as an example of infusing emotional storytelling in to a digital space that we usually consider utilitarian. As an integrated agency, we often discuss how we can translate the emotional impact of traditional mediums like video in to the digital experiences we build for our clients. This is a great example of “Show, Don’t Tell”. Providing a tool that responds to a human truth like our enduring desire for beauty in modern spaces that are increasingly un-beautiful is an elegant way to reflect the brand’s values. This execution also positions technology an altruistic hero, using a virtual tool to help us re-discover the physical places we inhabit.

Finally, the crowdsourcing inquiry (beauty is subjective, after all) generates an interesting new body of data with implications for disciplines like city planning, design and architecture, and psychology.

A Cup which Automatically Knows What’s Inside And Tracks Drinking Habits

Vessyl is a drinking cup with an electronic display that can detect what’s inside and tracks consumption in real time.

The 13oz tumbler features sensors that can identify the liquid inside.

When the vessel is filled up, its contents are displayed on the side, along with calorie information that helps drinkers watch their weight. As well as the instant identification, Vessyl can be connected to owners’ smartphones to track consumption in real time and create a history of users’ intake across a variety of metrics.


Why I’m curious?

Does anyone have the feeling that drinking coffee, juices or diet soda is not caloric at all?

We spend entire days swallowing different drinks without knowing exactly what they are composed of.  Now, users can check if they’re consuming too many calories, getting enough hydration, or keep tabs on their caffeine intake.

In addition to keeping an eye on what you eat, you will now also keep an eye on what you drink!!