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]

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.

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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!!

Call Someone You Love

Matt Adams created a touching campaign to take a break from our busy lives and call someone you love.  There are over 10,000 working pay phones in NYC alone, and this short video reminds us that a quick phone call can make your day. He placed a sign over the phone, taped quarters on the top, a placed a hidden microphone on the receiver and a recorded video as people made calls with the antiquated technology.  The response was amazing and many people stopped to make a call.

Why I’m Curious

This simple act created a shared experience for random New Yorkers.  While technology is certainly improving our lives, sometimes it’s nice to take a break. We stare at screens all day and this video is a nice reminder that it’s the people in your life that matter the most.  Also, the phone used in the video is powered by Verizon.

 

 

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.

Link: http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/shock-top-beer-one-smooth-talker-fun-series-bar-and-liquor-store-stunts-158771

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 pizzamogul.com.au 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.

 

https://www.pizzamogul.com.au/#!/home

Pley is a Netflix-esque service for LEGO fans

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A new rental service called Pley allows customers to rent and return LEGO sets. The service is perfect for those who love the challenge of building a set, but don’t care to keep it around the house.

Users set up a queue of the sets they’d like to rent, and the price varies from $15-39 based on the size of the set. Play sets are sanitized and shipped with the official instructions and a shipping return sticker. Those who decide to keep the set can be billed for it at a discounted price.

Why I’m Curious

As an avid fan of The LEGO Movie, Pley’s appeal to nostalgic Millennials is not lost on me. I’m sure the service is marketed to mothers and their children, but it’s a valuable service for any 20-something who’s strapped for storage space.

via LifeHacker

The Soundhawk will enable users to hear only what they want to hear

Soundhawk uses existing wireless, smartphone and sensor technologies in their smart listening system to help wearers cancel out background noise and focus on what they want to listen to. The listening system consists of a wearable device called the Scoop, a wireless mic, a mobile app, and a charging case.

The Scoop is placed in the ear like a Bluetooth headset. The in-ear device has two microphone sensors that allow the device to adjust to the environment. It connects to the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth 2.1 and can also be used like a normal wireless headset, allowing the wearer to make hands-free calls or access Siri or Google Now.

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Why I’m curious 

This amazing new technology, that gives focused hearing and gives users the ability to press an OFF button for specific noises, might be the start of many more devices that could help deaf people.

At restaurant, cinema, in a date, meeting, … With Soundhawk it is now possible for anyone to enjoy one of this moment without being distracted by peripheral noise.

 

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. http://worldcup.visa.com/teletransporter/

There’s also video content from 32 different countries, showing a video clip from that country. http://worldcup.visa.com/. 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.

 

 

Bic wants to crowd source the universal font

Bic launched a new campaign where they are taking ballpoint to digital by crowd sourcing a universal typeface.

With a microsite, the brand is asking users to contribute digital samples of their handwriting and Bic will combine them and convert into a “universal typeface”.

The experiment, a joint effort by DDB Düsseldorf and MediaMonks, also lets users break down contributions by age, gender, industry and even individual contributors. The goal, according to DDB Dusseldorf managing direct Dennis May, is to show how penmanship is both unique and personal to people around the world.

The experience of the site is something to take note of.  It connects your phone with the computer using a code.

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The collective handwriting will also become a font that Bic will release to the public in August!

http://digiday.com/brands/bic-goes-digital-crowdsourced-universal-typeface-campaign/

Why I’m Curious:

This experience seamlessly brings Bic’s product and brand to a fun digital experience.  It utilizes crowdsourcing to create a unique font that users can later download.  The gratification of having a piece of their handwriting contribute to this universal font highly motivates users to be part of this experiment.

One critique about this campaign is they could have pushed it to be a little more sharable and social.  Currently after completing the experiment, users get to share the image below.  Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 11.30.35 AM

The brand could have made this piece of content a little more sharable by allowing users to personalize it.   Instead of simply typing in random letters during the experiment, users could have written a sentence or spell out words that they can then share after.

Overall, I really enjoyed the second screen experience as it reminded me of Google’s skeeball game that was released last year.  Let’s try to consider that when we concept for digital campaigns!  

Link

Sassy Robot Calls Out Your Obnoxious Friends on Instagram

Robot Holds Instagram Interventions For The Most Cliched, Overused Posts

Ringly sends phone notifications in a discreet and fashionable way

Ringly is a ring which inconspicuously notifies the wearer of incoming phone notifications. If info is coming in, the ring will vibrate and flash a tiny light, so the wearer can be aware of communication without sacrificing social etiquette or style.

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Co-founder Christina Mercando, a start-up alum with a background in fine art, created the ring because she was sick of missing texts and calls from friends and family, but also felt like a jerk for keeping her phone constantly in view. It connects to an iPhone or Android and alerts the wearer to incoming texts, calls, calendar alerts, or emails. It also allows for push notifications from Tinder, eBay, Facebook, and Twitter.

Why I’m Curious

This product is built off a great insight about consumer needs. I would like to see this service, as well as others like it, built with intense personalization capabilities. Users should be able to dictate precisely who, when, where, and what they are notified about. For instance, a person might perhaps only want to receive notifications from certain friends on the weekends, or when they are not at work.

[via NY Magazine]

Insoles that can charge batteries by walking… it now exists!

Cellphones and electronics are more and more multipurpose and as everyone uses them 24/7, they run out of battery very quickly.

This is why a 15-year-old Philippines-based future engineer set out to find an alternate way of generating energy.

It is a small generator fixed in your sneakers insoles that produces energy while you are walking.

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Why I’m curious

I am so exhausted about having no battery on my smartphone at 3pm just because I have used GPS for 10mns, listened to 5 songs and sent 3 pictures through snapchat… this is why I bought a rechargeable case but guess what? It cost me $100…unbelievable!

If I would have heard about charging my battery by walking, I would not have hesitated. Moreover, you can build it on your own, it is quite simple and cheap. And cheaper technology is so much easier to adopt.

Let’s go and think further… If a young 15 year-old lady found out how to produce energy by walking, let’s imagine shoes that you could buy cheaper than classic ones with hardware in it in order to help the state produce more energy. Let’s imagine this phenomenon becomes a fashion trend and that thousands of people contribute to this cause.

Link

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?

 

it’s hip to be hair

Old Spice continues to get weird with the launch of the microsite “That’s the Power of Hair.” To promote its new line of men’s hair care products, the brand created an interactive site where you’re greeted by an Old Spice pitchman. After a short exposition on the virtues of Old Spice’s hair care products, the pitchman’s hair crawls off his head and into position at the foot of an old school looking keyboard. From there, you’re invited to type in the Huey Lewis song of your choosing, and the hair artfully rattles off its best rendition.

Check it out here.

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Why I’m Curious?

Old Spice has firmly staked its claim on this particular type of bizarre humor…A humor that succeeds on the power of seemingly random combinations of niche/cultish pop-culture touchstones (see also: Wolf Dog).

Executionally, the full-screen video is pretty slick, and I thought it was a clever turn to ask users to type in a Huey Lewis tune versus having them simply select from a library…You gotta dig deep! Also presents the illusion that that hair piece knows his whole repertoire (versus the still impressive 29 songs it actually can play).

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.

a teaser for a trailer for an ad

True to their irreverent brand personality, Newcastle Brown Ale calls BS on the convention of Super Bowl ad trailers. So far, the campaign consists of a teaser (for a trailer), a microsite (http://www.ifwemadeit.com/), and a social extension under the hashtag #IfWeMadeIt.

Teaser below:

 

Why I’m Curious?

The overblown hype around Super Bowl commercials is (and has been) ripe for parody, and I’m glad somebody stepped in and acknowledged it. The execution fits perfectly with the “No Bollocks” stance/personality that the brand has been working towards in recent years, and it’s seen pretty solid response in the day or so that it’s been live (#IfWeMadeIt: http://bit.ly/1c7UYZF).

Like Being Trapped in a Horror Movie…

A new game created at USC’s Interactive Media and Games Division gets scarier and more difficult if the player shows signs of fear.

 

from Discovery News:

The game uses a Garmin cardio chest strap to monitor a player’s heart rate to gauge the gamer’s “fight or flight” response. Players assume the role of a “neuroprober” at the Neurostalgia Institute where gamers must recover the horrific, repressed memories of traumatized patients. Players must solve puzzles, find Polaroid photos and face nerve-wracking, terrifying scenarios to rid a patient’s subconscious of each memory. However, if the heart monitor detects the gamer is showing fear, then the game becomes more difficult.

Why I’m Curious:

This game combines so many things I’m fascinated by–horror, psychology, game innovation. Biofeedback is a powerful feature to make game experiences more realistic and immersive. With funding, this could be a powerful (and terrifying!) new feature in commercial video games. It could also be used in therapy for patients with phobias and anxieties.

Will Squat for Rides

A vending machine that offers free rides to passenger was installed in a subway station in Vystavochaya, Russia this week. But nothing is truly free – so passengers have to perform 30 squats within 2 minutes to get their ticket.

From Digital Trends,

Of course, for those keen to avoid turning up at work stinking of sweat, cash payments (30 rubles/$0.93 for a single journey) continue to be accepted.

The special machine is part of a wider campaign being run by Russia’s Olympic Committee to promote next year’s Winter Games in Sochi and to encourage people to “add elements of sport into daily life.”

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Why I’m Curious

I’m a huge follower of the Summer and Winter Olympics and I’m always really interested on how the locations prepare and create hype over the events. Then adding something digital made me even more excited. I thought it was a great way to not only create a scene at a subway station, but also a unique way to get people talking about the Olympics in a positive way.

Toms Curates Sustainable Goods From Other Brands In Its Socially-Conscious Marketplace

To ensure a brighter future, TOMS and 30 different companies came together to compile a new form of online retail, one that is full of social responsibility and supportive causes.

TOMS Marketplace is an online destination that hosts a big collection of products that ranges from accessories to sports equipment – 200 socially conscious products to be exact. The site made its debut today, and is meant to be a place where people can share meaningful stories and build deep relationships by giving those in need the necessities of life.The Marketplace is also a platform where social entrepreneurs can gather and address the problems of the world as a whole.

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Many of these companies follow the same One for One ideology of giving, but in their own distinct and important way. Some products use a portion of their process to support education, fight hunger, or fund forestry. Others offer people financial support by creating employment in regions that lack economic opportunities. Companies that have signed on board include The Honest Company, Lemiem, and many others.

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Products sold on Marketplace range from $5 to $500. While the site is still in its preliminary stages, companies that are currently featured have committed to delivering their mission statements of the highest standard. This goes beyond just free shoes for people in underdeveloped areas, it a chance to create a completely different lifestyle for those less fortunate than us.

Why Am I Curious?

The Toms brand is built on being socially responsible, and I find it really great that they are taking this to the next level by enabling other socially conscious companies to take advantage of their klout and reach. This in return only solidifies Toms as the selfless and socially conscious brand that it is because this is not technically about selling more shoes but about enabling smaller brands to get exposure and people being able to support a wide variety of causes.