P&G For The Win

P&G got the gold with their latest Olympics commercial – as one of AdWeek’s ads of the day this week. It tugs at the hearts strings while adding to their #BecauseofMom campaign. Have a watch.

From AdWeek:

Despite focusing on a quartet of icy winter sports, the new spot, “Pick Them Back Up,” is as warm and fuzzy as it gets. The video follows four future athletes—a skier, ice skater, snowboarder and hockey player—from their first (not so successful) baby steps to their Olympic debuts. But the ad isn’t really about the athletes, of course. It’s about the dedicated moms who were there to pick them up when they fell (which is quite a lot), ice their bruises and warm their freezing toes—and send them back out to try again.

Why I’m Curious

Storytelling is all the rage these days. Commercials are becoming longer and brands are becoming the ultimate content creators. Is the way of the world to create longer stories or are we going to see the :15 second spots stick around?

Intoxication Nation

From Thirillist:

The Blowfish that’s not associated with Hootie is an over-the-counter hangover remedy (that at least one of our editors is legitimately addicted to). So naturally they want people to get, like, mad hungover.

They apparently also want to pit the 50 US states against each other in a hangover death match, and so compiled tons of cool stats on drinking in America, which they distilled into a slick set of interactive drinking maps that let you know exactly how your home state parties.

The first tab on the Intoxication Nation page shows you  a bunch of tweets in real time from people who are #drinking – the second tab is dedicated to the hashtag #hangover.

Click me to see more!

Intox

Why I’m Curious

This is an interesting branded experience that people want to engage with. It’s interactive, it shows stats in infographic form, taps into the competitive nature of the audience and integrates seamlessly with real-time social sharing. Are more brands going to be looking to use cases such as this to see how they can better engage their audience with lightly branded, interactive pieces that really make people want to engage? As a marketer, I sure hope so!

McDonald’s Experiments With Mobile Orders

From Mashable:

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Not lovin’ waiting in line at McDonald’s? There’s an app for that.

The fast food giant is testing a mobile payment application in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Austin, Texas, according to Bloomberg. With the app, you can order ahead and pick up your food at drive-thru windows, curbside or in the restaurant. Burger King and Chipotle already allow for mobile phone-based ordering; Burger King has a $10 minimum for such orders.

The McDonald’s app includes special offers, coupons and a loyalty program. Mobile payments is just the latest tech trend the Golden Arches has embraced in recent years. Some 11,000 of the brand’s restaurants in the United States also include free Wi-Fi, and some locations have rolled out NFC-enabled “Happy Tables” that transform tables into virtual racetracks.

Why I’m Curious

What does this mean for the teenagers of the world? Are first jobs going to become virtual customer service jobs?

Vine Community Unites to Support Filmmaker’s Battle With Cancer

From Mashable

Ryan McHenry, creator of the viral “Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal” Vine videos was forced to put all work — including his film — on hold when he learned he had cancer. But his friends on Vine decided to help raise money to support him through an Indiegogo campaign called “Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cancer.”

But this isn’t just a fundraising campaign. Organizers introduced the hashtag #WeLoveRyan as another way to show support.

“Together, a lot of us decided it would be great to not only raise some money for him, but let him know the rest of the world is thinking about him,” Zenisek said. “The support, and Vines and tweets people are directing at Ryan will be just as helpful as the money we’re raising.”

The campaign runs through Sept. 13, 2013. If you would like to donate, check out the Ryan McHenry Won’t Eat His Cancer page on Indiegogo or use the hashtag #weloveryan.

Why I’m Curious

How can we continue to use social media to impact the community at large, rather than simply as a keep in touch / marketing tool?

Is FOMO the new YOLO?

An astonishing 56% of social media users suffer from FOMO, also knows as the fear of missing out. You know those friends who annoyingly pick up their phone every time a Tweet, Instagram or Facebook update pushes to their mobile when you’re in the middle of telling them an all-too-compelling story? Yep, that’s FOMO.

Social media is quickly becoming an addiction. A few days away and your inbox, Twitter stream, you name it, really gets overwhelming.

From Mashable:

As technology enables us to stay more connected than ever, the addiction continues to grow. In fact, a new survey conducted by MyLife.com revealed 56% of people are afraid of missing out on events, news and important status updates if they are away from social networks.

SocialNetworkAddiction

Why I’m Curious

It’s been a source of irritation for many of my friends and family (myself included) when those nearest me are more concerned with their electronic device than the real-life conversation in front of them. Is FOMO going to become a clinical diagnosis, a disease like any other addiction? Can we break the cycle now? If so, how?

Olympic Pool Transforms Twitter Emoticons Into Light Show

(From Mashable)

Artist Jennifer Wen Ma and lighting designer Zheng Jianwei have transformed Beijing’s Water Cube into an interactive lighting display that runs from dusk to 10 p.m. daily. The installation visualizes the emotions of Chinese social media service Sina Weibo’s millions of users with its ever-changing color.

Nature and Man in Rhapsody of Light at the Water Cube uses a custom software application that sifts through millions of emoticons and smileys posted to the site and translates them into a glowing light show.

 

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Why I’m Curious

We’re seeing social media come into other aspects of our lives regularly. Everything from vending machines that accept Facebook likes as currency to social emotocons that change the look of real life objects. How else are we going to see social media changing the world we live in?

FAA May Allow Electronic Devices During Takeoff and Landing

FAA1

Big news for anyone who is a frequent traveler!

(From Mashable)

The Federal Aviation Administration is primed to finally let flyers use their phones, tablets and other digital devices during taxiing, takeoff and landing, per a report.

The Wall Street Journal reports an advisory panel will recommend the FAA make changes to its low-altitude gadget use rules later this year.

The panel’s decisions aren’t set in stone yet. Reportedly, however, it may suggest flyers be allowed to use electronic devices in airplane mode during takeoff, landing and taxiing. It may also expand the window for passengers to surf the web or send emails via 3G or LTE.

Why I’m Curious

Why did it take this long? And what’s next? Will the FAA ever allow users to talk on their phones during flights as well? How will they be able to regulate that from happening?

 

Fiat Abarth 500 is too fast to follow

Here’s an innovative use of Twitter. Fiat’s Abarth 500 has zero followers — and intends to stay that way to prove a point. When you try to follow the account, you’ll receive a direct message stating that you can’t do so because the Abarth 500 is just too fast:

(From Mashable)

Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 8.57.47 AM

Why I’m Curious

Fiat clearly believes that this one interaction will have more social benefit than ongoing Twitter messaging. It’s clearly made an impact so far. Will other companies follow suit? Is social messaging going to evolve into one big splash or will companies continue ongoing messaging streams?

Special K Store Lets You Pay With Instagram Photos

The Kellogg brand’s freestanding store in Sweden offers a free box of its upgraded Special K to anyone who snaps a picture and tags it with #nyaspecialk, which is Swedish for “new Special K.” Just show the cashier your pic to get the booty. Why Instagram? Jan Hedegaard, the Nordic marketing director at Kellogg, says the app is more popular in Sweden than Twitter, which is the typical home of hashtag promotions.

Special K

Why I’m Curious

Pepsi is giving out free mini cans of their product for people who like their page via “like” vending machines, and now Special K is asking users to instagram to get free product. We’re seeing more and more integration between in-person and social media, will this become a trend?

Pepsi’s latest machine

These days, rather than competing via huge TV ad campaigns, it appears the Coco-Cola vs. Pepsi battle is over vending machine technology

Pepsi’s latest weapon is the “Like Machine,” which dispenses the company’s soft drinks to fans who Like the brand on Facebook. As this video shows, you can either Like Pepsi on your phone or use a touchscreen on the machine to log your Like — and you’ll be rewarded with a free drink of your choice. Pepsi piloted the machine at a Beyonce concert in Antwerp, Belgium, and has been encouraged by the response, so don’t be surprised if you see one popping up nearby at some point.

Why I’m Curious

We are seeing advertising go from traditional media to all out integrated campaigns that include digital, social and word-of-mouth. What’s the next step for advertising?

Tablet with Disappearing Keyboard

Last year at CES, a new type of keyboard was unveiled that could change the way we use tablets and touch screen devices forever. The Tactus Keyboard, a special fluid-filled layer that could be baked into a tablet or smartphone to provide users with a physical keyboard that could recede back into the screen when it wasn’t needed.

Since it’s unveiling, the company has been hard at work on a prototype. Tactus confirmed  that it has partnered with touch panel experts at Synaptics to create a reference device — a 7-inch Android-powered tablet — that it will begin shopping around to OEMs and carriers at the end of June.

Despite the complexity of the device, it’s anticipated to have comparable pricing to that of the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire.

Why I’m Curious

Evolution of technology and devices is happening at an exponential rate. If we can get layers of this type in devices that were once only known to be flat, what’s next? Will we be seeing a 3D version of Yoda as we Facetime with him?

Getting inside the game

Gamers have always fantasized about more engaging play experiences — being “inside” the game. Every early attempt at virtual reality, or immersive gameplay, has come of as cheap or hokey

But since the multi-million dollar Kickstarter for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, those dreams of exploring immersive game worlds are closer to reality. Currently, the Oculus Rift is in the hands of a few hundred developers and enthusiasts, and they are currently working on crafting experiences to fit the hardware.

Why I’m Curious

What’s next in the world of gaming? Will virtual reality devices pull us away from the real world or encourage us to go explore?

 

Hyundai Suicide Commercial

Hyundai recently launched a commercial that’s bound to get your attention:

Why I’m Curious:

Commercials continue to push the limits, first with language as we saw with Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” commercial and now one that has you sitting in suspense, wondering just what’s going on.

Kmart ‘ships it’s pants’

If you can’t find what you want in a Kmart store, they will find it online at Kmart.com and ship it to you for free. This concept isn’t exactly new — E-Commerce, YOLO — but the Kmart commercial that goes along with this campaign is play-on-words brilliance. So simple, so effective.

Why I’m Curious

How are ads going to continue to push the limits and blur the already large gray lines more to grab attention?

Ketchup Helps You Manage Your Social Life

Ketchup, a new app available on the App Store, has launched to let you keep track of all the activities you said you’d do with someone, or even ping a friend on the fly to go to a movie sometime, grab drinks, or whatever.

Since the app uses Facebook to connect, chances are you have some way of getting in touch with friends you’ve chosen to hang out. That way, Ketchup doesn’t get mixed in with all the intricacies of planning, but still helps you figure out what you’re going to do with friends.

Of course, keeping your end of the contract is still up to you, it simply means not flaking.

Why I’m Curious

Are we going to rely more and more on apps to manage our lives – and how will this change the way we interact and manage our relationships?

A violin made of lasers

Technology lecturer Dylan Menzies doesn’t play the violin in the traditional sense. Instead he uses software and lasers to translate the positioning, speed and motion of a traditional wooden bow into music.

Why I’m Curious

Is technology going to change the way that we approach traditional music-making? Will the skills that so many have acquired fall by the wayside because we can make the same, if not better music, through technology?

How to use Vine

Will Sasso, it is said, is an actor. If you were to, say, look for all of his Vines, you would also discover that this is the only man in the entire universe to use the medium correctly and, what’s more, you will laugh all day long at his tiny, tiny videos.

Why I’m Curious

Vine is one of those social mediums that keeps people scratching their heads. People who use it, love it. But what’s the right way to use to channel and how are we going to see brands starting to jump on board?

Leap Motion Demos Gesture-Based Computer Interaction

While at South by Southwest Interactive, conference go-ers could have the opportunity to try out Leap Motion’s upcoming gesture-based controller and use it with existing apps.

Why I’m Curious

Gesture-based computer interaction takes the way that we interact with our physical environment on a daily basis and brings our interactions with technology to life in the same way. This is going to open a lot of doors and take technology to a new level.

Nars Pinterest Campaign

Nars launched a Pinterest campaign where they partnered with three relevant pinners to offer early and exclusive access to a new product collection.

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Why I’m Curious

Instead of asking their partners to guest-pin on the company boards, Nars is tapping into the potential of the extensive followers of these users in order to spread the word to a larger audience. Pinterest holds a lot of potential as a highly visual medium and I’m curious to see how this campaign unfolds, it’s success and how Pinterest campaigns will continue to evolve.