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.



Shock Top is one smooth talker

The next time you’re perusing the shelves at your local beer shop and you hear a voice coming from the cooler, there’s a chance it’s a sixer of Shock Top Belgian White trying to chat you up.

In a series of Youtube videos, the brand’s Mascot, Wedgehead, smooth talks bar-goers and liquor store shoppers.


Why I’m Curious:

This is Shocktop’s attempt to humanize the brand, literally, and I’m a fan.  Their positioning of “we know that Shocktop is the best beer, so we don’t have to talk about it.  Let’s talk about something else” indirectly pokes fun of other beer brands and these stunts are rather entertaining and witty.

Using stunts as video content has been a trend on social in the past few months.  From Carrie to the Chobani Bear, “shockvertising” is taking the internet by storm with one viral video after another.

One thing that leaves viewers thinking after watching Shocktop’s videos is how the brand did it and whether these clips are real.  Unlike Carrie & Chobani, Shocktop did not include a behind-the-scenes portions in these videos to ensure audience that these are authentic stunts.  Let’s see whether they’ll have a follow up.

Make Pizza, Make Money

In Domino’s Australia latest campaign, Pizza Mogul, customers can design pizza and upload their creations onto the companies online menu.  Each “mogul”, or pizza creator, must then determine the best way to market their product.  The more pizza they sell, the more money they make– typically between 25 cents and $4.25.  Any percentage of these earnings can be donated to charity.  Moguls sign up on and are encouraged to share their creations on their own social networks.  It’s a very straightforward process that involves three steps: create your pizza, post it on the menu, and market it.

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Why I am Curious:

Domino’s latest campaign shows the power of creating content as a brand and the appeal of crowdsourcing.  Leveraging that, they have positioned themselves to boost their digital and social presence.  Domino’s Australian chief executive, Don Meij, hopes that 30,000 people will sign up in the next six months.  We’re excited to see if this campaign will get the attention they expect…especially since they’re spending $5 million.  Regardless, they’ve created a winning formula by combing two things people love– pizza and making money.

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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

Ikea figures out a way to build an Instagram ‘website’


Beyond hashtag campaigns, Brands have struggled to make Instagram an actionable platform.   Taking the opportunity to take a crack at this challenge, Ikea Russia’s agency has found a clever way to make the platform work for them in an interesting way.  Ikea’s instagram account  ikea_ps_2014 is able to function exactly like a website—with 12 image tabs displaying different product categories (total of 34), all of which have their own Instagram accounts.

The effort is to promote their new “Ikea PS 2014” collection, which tapped into 14 young designers from around the world to target its younger urban audience.

Why I am Curious:

I absolutely love this idea and how out of the box it is.  I’m curious to see what happens as a result of having so many Instagram accounts to make this happen.  I wonder if they will be deactivated once the campaign is over—therefore losing the following that was built up.

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

Newcastle Celebrates July 3rd

Newcastle is back at it disrupting national American events, this time their focus is on July 4th.  If you remember their “non-Superbowl” ad, it seems that they are taking the same approach.

Why I’m Curious

Instead of celebrating July 4th and America’s independence from England, Newcastle would like to celebrate July 3rd.  Being that Newcastle is made in the U.K. this July 3rd holiday will be celebrated simply for the purpose of if the Brit’s won the Revolutionary war.  Stephen Merchant, an obvious Englishman, is all for the July 3rd celebration and goes in to discuss why America would be so much better if England won the war.

I really like how Newcastle keeps shaking up these American traditional events/holidays.  Droga5 and Newcastle are capitalizing on the buzz that is taking place already around the holiday and adding their own spin.  Instead of being like every other brand posting American flags and BBQs they take the opposing side and do the opposite.  This is an approach that most brands dream of doing but never know how to execute properly.  It will be interesting to see if this is the new trend for Newcastle and if any other brands will take this method on.



Ikea built a website inside Instagram

To help push Ikea’s intensely odd PS 2014 collection, the furniture seller’s Russian division hired ad agency Instinct to build a marketing campaign within Instagram. Navigating to the Instagram account ikea_ps_2014 on your smartphone — it won’t format correctly in your browser — will open up a “website” within the app, consisting of 12 images.

Why I’m Curious:

Native advertising win


IKEA PS 2014 Instagram Website from Instinct on Vimeo.

Oreo Spot Tells the Story of Mel’s Mini Mini Mart

The Martin Agency created a long form video for the Mini Oreo “Wonderfilled” campaign. Reminiscent of Wes Anderson and Dr. Seuss, it’s a whimsical tale of a mini roadside shop that sells only Mini Oreos.


Why I’m Curious

Long form video is picking up in the digital space as a new medium for brands to tell their story. From Beats by Dre to IBM, many brands are dreaming up creative ways to entertain their audience. An interesting fact about this video is that the team at Martin sold the idea by building a set and shooting the first version in their garage over a weekend. I’m interested to see if this video boosts Mini Oreos sales, and if it will lead to similar work in the future.


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?


Yup, Sex Still Sells

Describing this video for [client name redacted] would completely ruin the experience. Just take a look for yourself.

Why I’m Curious

This piece is dripping in millennial appeal. The sexy dancing of a Britney Spears video, the twist ending of an R.L. Stine book – it’s pure perfection for an audience that’s grown up with a sex and adrenaline-fueled taste for pop culture.

So here’s what we can learn: when trying to reposition anything for a younger audience, look to what they’re actually engaging with in mass. Pairing new school with old school can offer unexpected contrast that helps a communication to generate buzz.

Taco Bell “Breakfast Phones”


Big News.  Taco Bell has been experimenting with a new menu recently.  In order to compete with the big fast food chains of the world their new menu now consists of breakfast foods.  Bizarre, we know, but Taco Bell has taken an adventurous spin to promoting the new menu that might just persuade fans.

Why I’m Curious

Taco bell has sent their top influencers and true lovers of their menu Samsung phones and labeling them “Breakfast Phones.”  When fans receive the phones they will be sent on a number of missions to complete with their “Breakfast Phone.”  Fans that finish their missions will be awarded with various prizes from a year of Taco Bell breakfast to a Waffle Taco hoodie.  

This is a great way for Taco Bell to promote their new menu especially since fans might be skeptical about a breakfast menu.  Also very smart for Samsung to partner in this launch as their new GS5 phone comes out in the next couple weeks.  Details for the missions are to be determined but hopefully they incorporate a taste testing for the new menu.

Wake Up to the Scent of Bacon…Without Bacon

Why wake up to a boring alarm clock when the sound and aroma of sizzling bacon can act as a substitute? Fans of Oscar Mayer bacon can now enter to win an iPhone attachment that does just that.

In an attention-grabbing move, the brand launched a feisty microsite ( where bacon enthusiasts can learn about the device, watch a video – and of course – flip through a glossy, parallax-based stream of product benefits. Let’s not forget that fans can enter to win the device, too.

Oscar Mayer Bacon Alarm

Source: PSFK

Why I’m Curious

In some advertising circles, “stunts” are considered a dirty word. Yet in our people-are-now-publishers world, they’re becoming the new go-to way to drive social conversations at scale. Just look back on the past few months of what’s been shared to Curious Fridays – almost all of the celebrated work is bold, highly creative and often “stunty.”

Sure, publishing a TV spot to social will drive some engagement – put anything out there and someone will “like” it – but this new model of content is much more ambitious, creatively inspired and attention grabbing enough to function at social scale.

The point? Everything we create is inherently “social” – whether it’s a microsite, branded video or product development. The trick to harnessing the power of social is ensuring that creative is novel enough to warrant sharing. Call it a stunt, campaign or whatever you wish, bigger, more wild ideas will always get more people talking. And that, my friends, is not just a crispy, pan-seared trend.

Missed Connection: Chromeo

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Chromeo, the electrofunk group recently listed a missed connection for “White Women.”  This poetic yet sultry listing is actually an ad for their new album release, hence the “White Women” title.  The ad/listing features lyrics from one of the songs on the album, “Come Alive” that is supposed to launch May 12, 2014.

Why I’m Curious

Social media and the internet has really changed the way music artists promote their music and make it available to their fans.  In this day and age an artist can’t grow without advertising through social media.  I thought this was a really clever idea by the duo, Chromeo.  Not only are they hitting their target audience who most likely reads missed connections but they found a fun and interesting way to promote their album in which no artist has done before.

This ad/listing reminds me of the Mindy show advertisements on Tindr where users could swipe to like Mindy and it would automate a message promoting the show.  These types of ads draw in users and fans because it is out of the ordinary and excites the audience.  If I happen to be on missed connections and saw song lyrics of an artist I am definitely going to at least look up the band/group to learn more.  I hope to see more advertisements in this form as they can really create a lot of buzz.

Coca-Cola Social Media Guard cures people’s addiction to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

While social media is a fun way to connect with friends and family virtually, often it takes away the excitement of an of in person contact—eye contact, facial expression recognition etc. BUT Coke has come up with a solution…..the social media guard—which ironically just looks like a dog cone—and makes it impossible for people to look down at their phones. The company has branded the cones and viewers can actually purchase them if they want.

Why I am curious:
The brand is extremely successful in social so it would seem they would not go for a tactic like this, but it’s nice that they still emphasize that real life tangible experiences are better then online. I think they have spun this in a cute and funny way and I am curious to see if anyone would actually buy the cones. Could be funny.

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.

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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.


Ajax Social Wipes

To promote Ajax’s new product, Spray N’ Wipe, the brand created a landing page that allow users to clean out their social media feed.  Users simply have to login with Facebook or Twitter and the tool will help them clean out accounts that they want to unfollow.

The site scans users’ social media pages to identify possible “stains” to wipe.

Why I’m Curious: 

Ajax perfectly transfered Spray N’ Wipe’s product benefit to social media.  It is a very simple execution that highly resonates with social media users and even benefit them.  When thinking about your next social campaign, think about the one product message that you want to tell and translate the same idea to an online behavior.

The Mindy Project matches up fans to lead characters’ fake tinder profiles.

The Mindy Project matches up fans to lead characters’ fake tinder profiles.

In a strategic effort to increase its audience/following, Fox has teamed up with Tinder to stir up some publicity for a Mindy Project Tinder themed episode airing later this year. For the promotion of this episode, the show has created fake dating profiles for the main character Mindy as well as another cast member Danny. Tinder users holding a promising outlook for a virtual hookup will find her profile stating:

“Tiny doctor in a big city looking for love, friendship, or a donut that’s so good it’s spiritual. I’ve got a Reese Witherspoon personality, a Nicki Minaj body, and Frnak Sinatra eyes (they turn blue in the summer, I swear). Looking for the Channing Tatum to my “girl from Step Up.” Swipe right if you like a high-powered firecracker of a woman who has it all but only recently figured out her DVR. To see more about me, tune-in to THE MINDY PROJECT this Tuesday at 9:30/8:30c on FOX.”


Why I’m Curious:
I love to see promotional efforts that are a little more outside the box. People often despise banner ads because they are invasive to their actions and or distracting. Utilizing popular platforms in a way that is native to that very environment is a more clever and strategic way to reach the target demographic they are going after. The only issue I might see with this is that if someone has never heard of this show and swipes left, the Mindy Project may easily miss an opportunity to reach a new audience.

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?

Kanye vs. Creative Director

A new website, Kanye vs. Creative Director, created by Concept Farm challenges visitors to flip through a series of quotes while attempting to guess whether it was said by Kanye West or a creative director.

From PSFK,

[It’s] A fun and lighthearted way to comment on the arrogance and pomposity that can sometimes be found in the industry, see if you can correctly guess who said “I’m too busy writing history to read it,” or “I don’t have to explain anything to you!”

The site also allows you to submit your own outlandish quotes you’ve heard from West and creative directors alike. You can check the site out here.


Why I’m Curious

I’m always interested in quirky things agencies put out themselves that reflect the industry in a fun way. This clearly wasn’t benefiting any of their clients, but after the multiple write ups and guest appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!,it’s a great way for the agency to promote itself within the industry