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 Though it seems outdated, SMS service apps may be the future…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.

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!

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.

Pizza Mogul

Pizza Hut created an app, where users can create their own pizza creation and label it/take ownership of the creation. The user also receives a small monetary kick-back when others buy “their” pizza.

Why I’m curious: This taps into the strong entrepreneurship of the millennial generation. While it does require some work from users to engage with the app, it’s easy to see how users will share their creation (though it’s really just a Domino’s pizza). The execution has a clear objective to drive sales, and drive loyalty among their bigger fans.!/home

Homeless Fonts


Arrels Foundation created a great campaign raising awareness around the homeless in Barcelona; the campaign gave those involved a strong sense of accomplishment in seeing their own handwriting being valued by others.

Why I’m Curious: Different way to come up with a solution/campaign; Unlike most campaigns, instead of looking at how others could contribute to the problem, it looked at the pre-existing skills and how to leverage/highlight

Visa + World Cup

As there are more and more mediums for brands to convey their message, brands have to balance between telling one story across those platforms and also catering to the different audiences per channel.

With the World Cup, VISA is a partner and looks like they are messaging their sponsorship of the World Cup through multiple venues, catering to demographics. For example, a site that feels younger allows you to take a photo of yourself and insert it into a GIF with some of the famous athlete.

There’s also video content from 32 different countries, showing a video clip from that country. The videos from each country show a further and deeper way to personalize the content to different groups.

I’m curious because as digital avenues expands, I am interested to see how brands will become more sophisticated in telling a story across different platforms and cater to different audiences and groups, though the overall story /campaign/concert remains the same.




Dunkin Donuts Follows Starbucks With Loyalty Program

Starbucks currently claims that in the US and Canada, 1/3 of their sales come from customers participating in the loyalty program. Dunkin Donuts recently announced that they’ll be rolling out a loyalty program “Perks” for their fans, though it’s slightly different and based not only on the number of drink purchases but the amount of money spent.

In terms of marketing, I think it’s a smart move and I’m curious to see how Dunkin Donuts will market and promote their new loyalty program and if it will increase their sales. Dunkin Donut fans are already dedicated consumers, so will this help improve loyalty? Or bring on new loyal customers?


VW Makes Picking a Car like Online Dating


Volkswagen relaunched their site recently, and compared it to a dating site. The site is in tune with digital behavior because it allows the user to quickly identify certain characteristics that they are looking for (ex. including color, make, type of engine, leather vs. cloth seat) and enter their budget range and area code to find the “perfect match.”

The process is so simple and straightforward allowing the user to quickly apply filters to the selection. The video compares the site to dating online and definitely caters to a digitally savvy audience.

I’m curious simply because I love the clean design and simplicity. It’s interesting to see how social and online behavior is impacting larger projects such as a site redesign.

That’s Epic Bro. Whatever Happened to Good?: Maxwell House


Maxwell House launches a new campaign revitalizing it’s campaign logo “Good to the last drop” by trying to spin on the positive connotation of good.

Why I’m Curious:
Similar to the new trend of #normcore, brands seem to be leaving their ambitious claims and instead pushing their “average” or “good” qualities. Similarly, Smirnoff recently launched a new video series talking about how their vodka is just as good as other premium/more expensive brands, touting the line “exclusively for everybody.”
There seems to be a shift from brands inspiring their consumers to strive for something bigger, better and improved to the #normcore mentality of “good being good.”

Will this type of advertising eventually translate into sales?


Carlsberg has set up a technology for bars to utilize through their television screens. Those at the bar are encouraged to tag a photo on Instagram with #HappyBeerTime, and by doing so are rewarded with an extra 5 minutes per photo (+ hashtag) for half-price beers

Why I’m Curious:

This is something that we see all the time, especially at live events. Often, the incentive for a user to participate is merely seeing their photo/tweet on the large screen. I love this idea because it sells the product,and also provides a true reward for not only the participant, but everyone at the bar. The program creates a community at the bar, since everyone reaps the benefit of happy hour prices! 


Meet GFY, the new & improved GIF

The “GFY” is a short video using HTML5 technology. Similar to a GIF, a GYF  loops a short video without sound and looks very similar to a GIF. Anyone can make a GYF on The creators claim the 3 major differences are:

  • “Speed – Average is 8 times faster.
  • Unlimited size – No need to use inferior hosts. Have that 25mb gif you want to share? No problem!
  • Nifty features – Play in reverse, slo mo, speed up, or pause and analyze frame by frame.”

On the site, there’s a great example on the site of a cat and baby. To the average user, the two formats look incredibly similar; however, the GYF supposedly takes up less space and thus, faster.

I’m curious because this evolution of the GIF continues to show how visuals (photographs, video, GIF and now GYF) continue to have higher resolution and better quality, leading to more compelling content on social.

Read more:

Love It, Hate It, Just Don’t Forget It

This summer, Marmite created a controversial ad that featured families that had “forgotten” about their Marmite jars; the crew collected these jars and passed them on to families that would use and appreciate them. (The analogy of Marmite jars to abused or neglected animals raised complaints about downplaying such a grave situation, but in my mind–also created an emotional connection to the product.)

Why I’m Curious:

This ad played up the polarizing aspect of it’s brand and saw a +14% increase in sales in the 8 weeks that the TV ad was on air, compared to the 8 weeks prior. I’m curious because brands are often scared to take a strong stand or focus on a polarizing quality, and yet brands that are taking the plunge are seeing positive results.

I see more brands taking a stand, being a bit “controversial” and being rewarded for it. (It doesn’t necessarily have to be about its own brand. For example, CVS announced they will longer sell tobacco products, which will result in a $2 BILLION annual loss. Clearly, the brand is hoping for a greater brand affinity/potential growth and is taking this huge risk.)