A New Kind of Pop-Up: Cape Town Street Store

The growing prevalence of drug addiction and rising unemployment in Cape Town, SA, has seen a rise in homeless rates over the past few years.  City-dwellers have been discouraged in the past from donating money directly to homeless people because “it can feed a cycle of anti-social behaviour that keeps people on the street and away from help”, according to the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) – The Daily Maverick.

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 12.53.32 PM

Based on the insight that people generally want to help but aren’t sure how, two M&C Saatchi agency folks created the Cape Town Street Store.  The store was a pop-up for homeless people in the affluent Greenpoint neighborhood in CT.  Neighborhood residents were solicited (mainly via social media) to drop off unused items, which were then neatly displayed for homeless customers to browse through. Customers were allowed to choose three items.

The team behind the event has made all of their materials – including designs for the cardboard hangers – available to download freely from open source files on a website in the hopes that other cities and countries will adopt the concept.



Nibblr snacks on the subscription model

As subscription surprise and delight services (think Birchbox, Craft Coffee, Kiwi Crate) have gained popularity, more brands are emerging to offer a similar service across industries.  General Mills recently launched Nibblr, a subscription-based snack delivery service aimed at female office workers, 25-35.

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 3.57.05 PM

Consumers subscribe to a box of snacks that can be delivered weekly, biweekly or monthly. The number of deliveries — six boxes for six weeks, 12 boxes for 12 months, etc. — is up to the buyer. Each box contains four individually packaged snacks made mostly of dried fruit and nuts, about 70 percent of which are 150 calories or less.

The product was developed by General Mills’ internal innovation department, 301 Inc., which aims to generate ideas outside of the company’s traditional business segments — cereal, yogurt, convenient meals, etc. — which have their own innovation teams.  Nibblr has its own unique branding and doesn’t tout its GM affiliation openly.

via @adverblog

Why I’m Curious

It’s unique to see a big brand like General Mills experiment with spin-offs, and  I’m interested to see how their foray into a direct-to-consumer model will pan out.  The subscription model is certainly a popular one, and no one has thus far dominated the healthy snacks market. As low calorie snacks are increasingly coveted by health conscious millennials and Gen X’ers, Nibblr looks promising, with the right marketing and customer response.


Robust, integrated holiday campaign by John Lewis

John Lewis has just launched their holiday campaign for 2013 and it is CUTE.  The spot alonereportedly cost £7m, but the production is beautifully crafted and works well across different mediums. via @Adverblog

A few reasons why I love this:

  • Heartwarming STORY about two old (and adorable) pals
  • Beautiful imagery – OWNABLE characters, look and feel (especially since they have invested in merchandise and an entire Bear & Hare line)
  • INTEGRATION!!  Annotations in YT driving to the bear & hare Twitter page (they also each have their own Twitter handles… a bit much, perhaps) and another driving to a more robust Bear & Hare page on the JL website
  • IT’S ALIVE: The B & H page  gives people the opportunity to bring the story into their homes / lives / celebrating, with extensions to an iPad app, card maker, merch (cuddles with B & H!!!) and the Lily Allen track featured on the video

Why I’m curious

Given the popularity of the campaign thus far, I’m curious as to whether John Lewis will make its Bear & Hare characters an evergreen (for at least a few years) focus of their holiday campaigns, and beyond.  Also curious, to my point above, how long they will continue to maintain three separate Twitter handles for these characters, and what their overall social engagement levels will be.

Android Kit Kat hosts 3D-printed ‘Chocnology’

To promote Android’s latest Kit Kat OS, Kit Kat South Africa partnered with Google and Native VML to create the world’s first 3D printed chocolate exhibit: Chocnology.  Described as an intersection of chocolate and technology, the designs were created by South African artists using the Android OS and online 3D modeling tools.

Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 11.56.07 AM

“To produce the artwork, a 3D printer that traditionally uses a plastic-based filament was manipulated to use chocolate as its raw material, allowing the creation of intricate, three-dimensional sculptures” – CreativityOnline.

Chocnology works are on display from Thursday November 7 until Sunday November 10 at the Museum Of African Design (MOAD) in Johannesburg. Fans can follow the gallery opening and tweet their own experiences at @KitKatSA using #Chocnology.

Why I’m Curious

The Android Kit Kat relationship is clever in itself, but bringing it to life in a tangible (and delicious) way is incredibly creative and buzz-worthy. This could have easily felt gimmicky for other OS’s, but the stretch in 3D technology is a great fit here, given this is a new operating system named after a beloved chocolate bar.

Banksy’s cryptic month of art in New York

Famous British street artist Banksy is unveiling new work all month on the streets of New York City.  The mysterious talent announced Oct. 1 on his site that he’s going to be “attempting to host an entire show on the streets of New York.”

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 2.34.18 PM

His site, banksy.co.uk, was redirecting to banskyny.com, and a telephone number sits alongside each piece of art. After dialing in, observers can enter the piece’s code for an “audio guide.” (Which in Banksy-style, proves to be not very revealing.) Dial 1-800-656-4271 and then either 1, 2, or 3 to listen to gems like “You’re looking at a type of picture called graffiti, from the Latin ‘graffito’ which means ‘graffiti’ with an O.”)

He is also posting his art, along with clues about its location and the audio number on Instagram. He also surfaced on Twitter the day his New York show started, with almost 10,000 followers after only five tweets (the Tweets don’t seem to have a connection to the art). – via @Creativity-Online

Why I’m Curious

I’m curious about the the social and mobile elements he is incorporating into each of his pieces. The  information you get from dialing the phone number is extremely vague, sarcastic and ironic (the music at one point on #2 completely covers the audio) – much like the artist himself.  The fact that he’s posting to Instagram and Twitter (albeit, Twitter hasn’t thus far added anything to the experience) seem more commercial that he’s appeared before. While these items may seem interactive, they are still just one-way communications from Banksy to everyone. The most interactive part of the ‘show’ so far has been the tagging over his artwork. As Creativity Online mentions, Banksy has long been critical of people who label graffiti as vandalism, so it’s unclear whether he wants people to come and tag his pieces or not. I’m wondering if that’s the point…

Kleenex helps you stay healthy this flu season

Kleenex wants to get people buying tissues before their cold or flu actually strikes. To help consumers know when they’re likely to get sick, it’s launched myachoo.com, a site which acts as a predictor of germs and where they will strike next. US users simply type in their Zip Code and the site provides up to the minute Centers for Disease Control data on colds in their area. It goes beyond other cold and flu trackers like Google Flu Trends or the Cold-FX app, by predicting where germs will strike within the next three weeks — not just showing where they already are. Preliminary tests suggest the tool is 90% accurate.

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 4.39.36 PM

A accompanying TV campaign from JWT, New York, shows the shame of people who’ve been forced into unfortunate alternatives when they didn’t have Kleenex, such as sneezing into their hands and then wiping them on the family dog. via @AdAge

Why I’m Curious

Kleenex went ten steps beyond just telling people to prepare for flu season by creating a valuable utility to help people anticipate and prepare for winter. The tool not only anticipates cold in the users’ location, it also provides tips for staying healthy and offers a coupon download. It seems like this idea could have very easily and effectively extended to Facebook, in terms of sharing the info with family and friends and having people send each other coupons.


BA taps the Twittersphere to launch the Dreamliner

British Airways is marking the launch of its Dreamliner fleet by running a competition today that pits the state-of-the-art aircraft against a virtual plane, the ‘Tweetliner’.

BA race

The competition is a live race between the virtual Twitter plane and an active BA A380 flight from London to Los Angeles.  The Tweetliner is powered by #racetheplane tweets, and anyone who uses the hash tag will be entered to win 1 of 5 free flights from LHR –> LAX.  The live race can be tracked here: http://racetheplane.ba.com/uk/

Why I’m Curious

This is a simple and extremely low cost way to promote BA’s Dreamliner. I’m curious whether its simplicity will hurt it, to some extent, since the execution itself isn’t anything new.  That said, why not tweet for the chance to win a trip?!  At the moment the contest has been running for 2 hours, according to the site, and there have been limited tweets (under 20 today alone, and at least 1/3 are from BBH, who is running the promo).  It was originally meant to fly from London to Toronto on a Boeing 787 but seems to have switched at the last minute to London to Los Angeles on an Airbus A380.


Airbnb debuts ‘Hollywood & Vines’ film

Last month, we wrote about Airbnb’s Hollywood & Vines project, which crowdsourced 6-second Vine clips to produce the first Vine film about travel and adventure. The best Vines,  selected by the brand and award-winning screenwriter Ben York Jones, were compiled to  create a story about “the transofrmative journey of a simple piece of paper”. Director Miles Jay of B-Reel was then brought on to direct the film by tweeting out Vine directions to create the various scenes.


More than 750 submissions came from 14 U. S. states and nine countries, including Hong Kong, Kuwait, South Korea, Finland and Portugal. 100 Vines were then pulled and edited into the final film, “an artful story about travel, adventure, and finding your place in the world.” The final contributors to the film also each earned $100 credit for an Airbnb stay. Airbnb has released the film online and will debut it on broadcast on the Sundance channel tonight, Thursday, September 12 at 9:55 p.m. ET. – via @Creativity-Online

Why I’m Curious

I was initially skeptical of the quality of the output from this initiative, but Airbnb has created a beautiful video that represents that represents travel and adventure in a wonderfully creative way. I’m curious to see whether other brands will follow suit and continue to find new uses and collaborations on existing and evolving platforms.

Android’s next version: KitKat

Google announced yesterday that the next version of its Android mobile operating system will be called “Android KitKat,” after the chocolate brand that is owned by Nestle globally and controlled byHershey Co. in the U.S. The moniker continues Android’s tradition of giving sweet-themed names to Android releases, beginning with Android “Cupcake” in 2009, continuing in alphabetical order through “Jelly Bean.”


Kit Kat’s website has been transformed to a technology parody where KitKat 4.4, ‘The Future of Confectionary’ is treated like a device itself.  The site also features a video that pokes fun at Apple’s product reveals/demos to show off the new high tech specs of the famous chocolate bar.

Promotion for the Hershey-branded mobile OS will include a tactic made famous by fictional chocolatier Willy Wonka: Hershey will distribute 50 million Kit Kat bars bearing the Android logo and a few of them will have winning tickets redeemable for a limited number of Nexus 7 tablets, as well as Google Play credits, according to a Google+ update from Android. – via AdAge and Creativity-Online


Why I’m Curious

This is such a clever and unexpected partnership between Google and Nestle, even more so because no money has been exchanged in the process (apparently).  In this sweet tech barter, Android gets a sweet new buzz from Kit Kat packs and Kit Kat’s tech savvy and credibility will see an immediate lift. I’m curious to see how the partnership continues to unfold and if Kit Kat’s 4 bars will translate to great reception…

Airbnb launches crowdsourced ‘Hollywood & Vines’ project

Vacation rental site Airbnb has launched “Hollywood and Vines,” a campaign asking consumers to contribute six-second clips, the best of which will be included in a short film about travel and adventure.

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 12.18.21 PM

From August 22 to August 25, Airbnb will deliver “shot instructions” via Twitter at @airbnb. Participants can pick a shot (eg. Fly a paper plane) and shoot a Vine, then share them via #AirbnbHV. The final Vines will be collected and the best ones will be edited into a longer film, to be aired on television on the Sundance Channel (among others). Those whose Vines appear in the film will get a $100 credit for an Airbnb stay. – via CreativityOnline

Why I’m Curious

This is a neat execution from Airbnb. The promotion speaks to millennial travelers and emphasizes Airbnb as a travel brand for adventurous people.  The concept is simple to understand and participate in, and while the incentive is not huge, it feels ‘just right’. While Vine is a great platform for ‘saying less with more’, more and more brands have been flocking to Instagram’ new video function instead of joining Vine.  Airbnb’s ‘short’ challenges, however, do seem better suited to Vine.

Four Seasons Launches Pinterest Trip Planning Service

As more and more travellers take to Pinterest to plan their next adventure, Four Seasons introduces Pin.Pack.Go, a new trip planning service that re-imagines the way travelers share and receive travel recommendations. An industry first, Pin.Pack.Go leverages the power and popularity of Pinterest to connect guests with Four Seasons local experts worldwide.

“Photo sharing platforms such as Pinterest are transforming the way our guests plan their trips, share ideas and select travel destinations,” says Elizabeth Pizzinato, senior vice president, marketing and communications, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Pin.Pack.Go extends the culture of service at Four Seasons far beyond our property walls creating new opportunities to provide guests with personalized recommendations and insider knowledge well before their trip begins.” – via Hotel News Resource 



Here’s how it works:

  1. Create a Pin.Pack.Go board on Pinterest.
  2. Leave a comment on the Pin.Pack.Go pin http://pinterest.com/fourseasons/pinpackgo/ indicating which Four Seasons you’ll be visiting.
  3. The Four Seasons hotel you specified will follow you on Pinterest. Follow back and invite the hotel to pin as a collaborator on your board. The hotel’s local experts will pin recommendations filled with insider knowledge and hidden gems.
  4. Pack and Go!

Why I’m Curious

This is a brilliant way for the Four Seasons to engage with travelers in the early stages of their trip planning process.  Leveraging Pinterest – where a large percentage of their target leisure traveler looks for trip inspiration – to provide a new form of customer service is a wonderful way to build brand loyalty.

CoCreator is speed dating for entrepreneurs

TBWA and Business Gurus  launched a new mobile app, CoCreator, which it’s marketing as a “business speed-dater” aimed at connecting startup founders and CEOs to those who can help develop their businesses.

Screen Shot 2013-08-09 at 10.42.44 AM

CoCreator was the idea of Preethi Mariappan, executive creative director of Digital at TBWA Create Lab Berlin and Ulrich Proeschel, VP of Business Development TBWA/Europe. It’s meant to work in six simple steps. First, sign up using your LinkedIn profile and your elevator pitch. Then specify your chosen area of collaboration. Third, browse the available experts related to your field. Then connect with those best suited to your needs. After that, converse with those who show interest in your idea. Lastly, develop your business with the help of your new collaborator.

“The idea of CoCreator is in our DNA, and businesses that disrupt their market feel at home in our culture. Why not create another story like that of our own creative legend Lee Clow and Steve Jobs, who met just over 30 years ago? Back then Steve was the co-founder of a young technology start-up. The rest is history” – Ulrich Proeschel.

Why I’m Curious

It can be extremely difficult for entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground. Seed funding often requires proof of concept (numbers, critical mass) which is near impossible if you can’t get your idea in front of people.  CoCreator is much needed industry tool that could do wonders for first-time entrepreneurs. TBWA is not only showing their support for the industry, they’re showing their support for their people / talent and creativity in general. Citing the Lee Clow + Steve Jobs collaboration as their key source of inspiration and framing Apple as a start-up truly highlights the potential of such a platform. I’m curious to see whether industry professionals flock to it to aid new businesses and what will be in it for them…

Easynest connects solo travelers… with a shared hotel room

Easynest is a new social travel site that connects travelers who have extra space in their hotel rooms with those looking for a place to stay.  The site’s main aim is to help people save money on their travels, however it also provides a way for them to make friends (or friends with benefits…) while they’re away.

Screen Shot 2013-08-02 at 2.54.40 PM

“Considering hotels charge the same amount for a double room regardless if the guest is using both beds, Easynest helps those who have already booked a room to fill any empty beds with others who share their travel plans. Users first log into the site using their Facebook details, after which they can search for matches and determine if they like the look of the hotel, as well as the potential partner. If they don’t, they can list their own plans to let others find them. Those who have booked can set the rate the other party pays, which is typically 50 percent but can be lower. If a user is interested, they can simply initiate communication through the site” – Springwise.

Why I’m Curious

We’ve been seeing many travel apps and sites emerge that focus on connecting travelers with each other and with locals to augment their travel experiences and make them more authentic/memorable/exciting.  Easynest takes this to a whole other level and seems like something that Virgin would offer if it operated hotels.  This is very much a combination of Airbnb / OK Cupid / How About We and I’m curious to see how far people/travelers are willing to go to make a new friend on vacation, with the obvious risks of being stuck with a psycho for a weekend.

Intel & Toshiba to release their THIRD SOCIAL FILM

Intel & Toshiba are launching their third social film, The Power Inside, directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon (Blades of Glory), moving it away from its more serious predecessors (The Inside Experience and last year’s award winning The Beauty Inside).

“The social aspect of the film will ask people to audition to play the part of the invaders — with a twist. People will have to upload a photo from their webcams to the Facebook page, and facial recognition software will add the requisite hirsuteness to their visages. If they want to join the team of the “Guardians,” they’ll have to upload a video of themselves removing mustaches.

Appearing in this year’s films are Harvey Keitel (“Reservoir Dogs”), Craig Roberts (“Submarine”), Analeigh Tipton (“Crazy, Stupid, Love”), Reid Ewing (“Modern Family”) and Zack Pearlman (“The Inbetweeners”).” The film will be much more effects-heavy than its predecessors, and Zoic will handle the VFX” – Creativity-Online.

The film will also include appearances of Spotify, Sykpe and Skull Candy, forming mini ‘ads within the ad’.

Why I’m Curious

As more and more brands move toward creating content, Intel and Toshiba have found a nice formula that works for them: famous/semi-famous actors & directors + social + compelling storyline = success.  Rather than crowdsource the entire project, they invite fans to participate and be seen in a way that is still entirely controlled by the brand, yet  seems extremely participatory.

Blinkbox Promotes Game of Thrones with Dragon Stunt

British movie and streaming service, Blinkbox, created a wonderful stunt to promote season three of Game of Thrones.  A team of three sculptors worked for over two months to create a bus-sized dragon skull that they places on Charmouth beach on Dorset’s “Jurassic Coast”.

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 9.49.16 AM

The Coast has yielded a range of spectacular fossils spanning Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods (including giant marine reptiles, intricate crinoids and ammonites) and is therefore a popular tourist and hobbyist attraction.

“The stunt was inspired by a scene which saw Arya Stark discovering a dragon skull in the dungeons of King’s Landing” – AdAge.

Why I’m Curious

Dragons are some of the most enchanting characters in Game of Thrones and are often used to reference / promote the show.  Creating a ‘washed up’ dragon skull in a popular fossil destination is a brilliant execution and sure to create a lot of buzz around season three.  I’m curious whether the agency found any correlation between Charmouth beach visitors and Game of Thrones fans, since it’s known to be a ‘good family beach’ and not necessarily within the GOT target. In any case, word of mouth and press are sure to make this a success.

HelmetHub aims to save your head

HelmetHub is a helmet rental machine that aims to provide safety equipment to people using bikeshare programs.



When Citi Bike launched in New York a few weeks ago, many people were concerned about the safety of inexperienced bikers flying down the bustling streets of NY and getting themselves into trouble… A key concern on the safety front is the absence of helmets, as most casual bikers don’t own one and therefore fly around the city exposed and unprotected.

“HelmetHub wants to place vending machines next to bike docking stations that allow users to collect and return helmets for the duration of their ride. The machine – currently still in the prototype stage – is capable of stocking 36 helmets and would be regularly checked for damage or vandalism to the equipment in much the same way the bikes are. The machine is also solar-powered so they can be easily installed without disruption. A screen on the side lets users know how many helmets are left and where the next nearest station is” – Springwise.

Why I’m Curious

Head lice.

I think this is a great idea and would add value to bike share programs, but the idea of sharing a hat with New York City is frightening, to say the least.. If there is a way to sterilize helmets inside the Hub, I am all for it. If not, I think we’ll need a third station to go next to bikes and helmets: showers.  Purell would be brilliant to shack up next to docking stations, too.

Molson Canadian Places Locked Beer Fridges across Europe

Canadian beer company Molson Canadian wanted to instill some national pride across the pond so they stocked beer fridges across Europe that could only be opened with a Canadian passport.

Fridges were placed in Canterbury, the white cliffs of Dover, London, Northern France, Cassel, Brussels, and rural Belgium.  The execution made Canadians extremely popular with their European counterparts, which certainly gave their pride a boost.

via @PSFK

Why I’m Curious

I love the out of the fridge… I mean box… thinking here. Targeting Canadians the way Molson did while they are traveling is an unexpected, yet brilliant way to both instill national pride and favorability toward the brand.  It’s a wonderful association to have and a great story for people to tell.

Petcube enables owners to remotely play with pets

Petcube is a camera and robotic laser that lets owners check on – and play with – their pets when they’re out of the house.

“Developed by Ukraine-based trio Alex Neskin, Yaroslav Azhnyuk and Andrey Klen, the Petcube takes the form of a stylish 10 x 10 x 10 cm box containing a wide angle camera, microphone and speaker. The device is connected to the household’s wifi and – through the Petcube mobile app – owners can then view a live video stream of their pet from any location”. – Springwise

What if Sparky is out of view?? There is a speaker that allows people to call their pets AND  a controllable laser pointer that users can control to entertain their pets. You can even make the page available to your friends so that they can play with Sparky while you (and they) are at work.

Why I’m Curious

With so many pet owners working and leaving their pets at home during the day, something like Petcube can fill a big void… of guilt. Being able to monitor your pet AND entertain / interact with them while you are out during the day is certainly comforting and allows for a virtual connection to them when you can’t be there.  The social element of inviting friends to play is a nice touch as well – now your pet can have multiple lasers chasing it around all day.

Corona transforms the moon into a slice of lime

Corona teamed up with astronomers, universities and planetariums to turn the moon into a lime wedge on a billboard.  With the help of its partners, Corona captured orb at the precise moment it descended onto the bottle placed on the billboard, in the precise shape of a lime wedge. The result is “Luna Corona” which will happen twice.

Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 1.39.31 PM

*This video shows the first Luna Corona from last month and the next LC will take place on  Saturday, June 15, between 8:45 and 11:00 p.,m., at 15th St. and 9th Ave in New York.

Watch the Luna Corona video here.

via @Creativity-Online

Why I’m Curious

Rather than just putting up a regular old billboard for people to see and then ignore, Corona’s moon wedge tactic is brilliant because it gives people a reason to come back to the billboard, creating multiple opportunities for engagement.

This execution also builds on a trend we’ve been seeing with brands incorporating SPACE into their campaigns, for example KLM’s Claim Your Place in Space and Red Bull Stratos.

IBM’s OOH ads make cities smarter

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 3.37.33 PM

Many of us are aware of IBM’s Smarter Planet corporate initiative, which highlights how forward-thinking leaders in business, government and civil society around the world are capturing the potential of smarter systems to achieve economic growth, near-term efficiency, sustainable development and societal progress.  For example, solutions to traffic congestion, smart grids, water management, greener buildings, and more.

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 3.30.38 PM

Smarter Planet ads are often seen in business and tech-leading publications, both online and in print. IBM’s latest OOH ads really bring this proposition to life:

“Cities can be difficult places to live. Despite all they have to offer, they often make lives difficult for its citizens, with stairs where there should be ramps, no shelter when it rains, and nowhere to sit your weary self down. Ogilvy & Mather Paris and IBM’s “Smarter Cities” campaign try to ease things for you, by turning their ads into useful, smart solutions. By adding a simple curve to a poster, they turned them into places to stand under when it rains, and someplace to sit when you’re tired. With some modifications, they also turned them into a ramp for bicyclists to easily traverse”. – via @Creativity-Online

The ads drive to the Smarter Cities Challenge [people4smartercities.com] where the company is crowdsourcing ideas for building Smarter cities.

“IBM launched the Smarter Cities Challenge to collaborate with local governments and co-fund technology-based solutions to city-specific urban challenges. Through the Smarter Cities Challenge, IBM aims to help 100 cities across the world address urban issues with $50 million worth of IBM technology and expertise”.

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 3.41.51 PM

Why I’m Curious

Demonstrating real value in a tangible way in an excellent way for IBM to extend its Smarter Cities proposition to more people. This initiative truly demonstrates IBM’s commitment to address key problems in cities to make the world a better place using their technology and solutions.  While this initiative clearly demands a large budget and scope, I’m curious about how smaller companies – tech or otherwise – can create simliar CSR programs.