Now Boarding: Disney and KLM Surprise and Delight Children

To celebrate their partnership, Disney and the Dutch airline, KLM joined forces to create a one-of-a-kind experience geared toward children.  The event focused around the Disney animated movie, Planes.

Initially, the program involved having kids submit their artwork to be animatied children’s artwork, but quickly it turned into more. Children were invited to go on board (while the plane stayed in place), watch the movie on screen, and with some super-cool special effects, experience exactly what was happening to the movie’s main characters.

Right this way for a video:

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Why I’m Curious:

This is the perfect partnership and pairing of a brand.  These children and their families will remember this (as will their friends and family) and forever have a positive association with both brands.  Experiential marketing is not always cost-effective and does not have scale/reach so is sometimes ignored.  This, however, has legs well beyond just the children that got to go on board.

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Virtual Penguins Lead Visitors to Tokyo Aquarium

Using augmented reality, an app for the Sunshine Aquarium in Tokyo guides visitors from the closest public transit station to the aquarium. But forget the arrows and “turn left, now turn right” directions – waddling penguins guide the way.

Watch the video to see how this fun experience helped solve one of the aquarium’s unique business challenges.

Source: PSFK

Why I’m Curious

The aquarium could have easily leveraged traditional GPS navigation, yet by opting for a more creative and rich experience that still offers basic utility, the elements of surprise and delight were harnessed to convert something quite functional into a conversation piece.

But the biggest takeaway: Injecting a functional, tech-driven idea with creative charm can make everyday technology worthy of press and viral reach.

Arcade Fire’s Google Chrome-Powered Music Video

For their new “Just a Reflektor” video, Arcade Fire uses Google Chrome technology to let you interact with the music video on your smartphone.

First you must connect to the Just a Reflektor site on your desktop then follow the instructions on how to connect your phone. The project links your computer to your smartphone through a webcam, turning your phone into a visual effects controller with halos, reflections and wireframes in the video adapting to every movement.

Additionally, this project is open source so users can play with the web code (primarily JavaScript and WebGL) to build their own customized experience.

Why I’m Curious

Instead of going with a traditional approach to sharing a music video, I appreciate that the band has created an interactive user experience with their content. It’s a neat application of Chrome technology that we haven’t seen music artists use quite like this. Although it might realistically be annoying to hold up your phone to your webcam while the whole video plays, the project has a personalized element in that it adapts to your movements. That and the fact that it’s open source are enough to attract existing and prospective fans’ attention.

Audi’s Augmented Reality Car Manual

Audi has created a replacement manual for their A3 in the form of an augmented reality app called eKurzinfo.

eKurzinfo covers over 300 different elements of the car, all of which can be easily identified with the iPhone’s camera. In addition to identifying various parts of the car, the app can help owners learn how to fix them as well. For example, if the engine is overheating and the warning symbol comes on inside the car, you can scan it with the app to find out how to deal with the problem, which may be as simple as topping up the coolant.

Why I’m Curious

We’ve been seeing a lot of augmented reality applications over time and many of them are purely for entertainment purposes. I thinks it’s great that the automotive industry is adopting this technology to offer practical functionality to its customers.

Turn your tablet or smartphone into a holographic projector

While it’s not totally a hologram, this new kickstarter project—HOLHO—brings us one step closer to holograms with its projector. Essentially the new device comes in different shapes and sizes (i.e. a small-pyramid that sits above one’s tablet, or even four-sided pyramid etc.) at a starting price of $47.

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The way in which the device works is that it is first placed on the top or bottom of a phone or tablet, and then using the Holho app it takes videos and divides them in such a way that works with the pyramid devices to show different visualizations.

Why I am Curious:
I am always curious about devices/solutions that test the limits of our realities. While this is still in its early stages, and may later be seen as bulky, I am interested to see how real holograms will eventually be integrated into our daily lives. Will holograms eventually replace augmented reality? Will they replace things like skype or face time etc.

Ikea’s Virtual Furniture App

 

Shopping for furniture is always a hassle, but what if you could see how the furniture would look in your space without measuring and going to the store? Ikea makes it easier to make a decision with their AR Ikea Catalogue App. 

 

All users have to do is scan the product from the paper catalogue, put the catalogue on the floor to adjust for scale and hold the phone up. They app places the furniture in the room and users can see if the furniture will fit, if the colors work, and how it would work with their lifestyle. 

 

Why I’m Curious

AR has usually been an entertainment feature — think Starbucks’ AR holiday app:

 

 

But this app not only provides entertainment, it also provides utility. It solves for a major pain point and is sure to drive increased traffic to their online site and drive online orders. At first glance, this AR app is in line with Ikea’s overall business strategy, serving a time-strapped budget consumer in that it allows the user to provide some self-service consultation at home. Traditionally, Ikea’s cost advantage is achieved by requiring the consumer to self-serve by selecting the design of the furniture, picking it up from the warehouse and shipping the furniture home themselves via car. Thus, Ikea’s margins are traditionally driven by in-store purchases, where they save on shipping costs. Because this is driving online purchases, costs associated with shipping may offset total revenue by increasing cost of of goods sold. Therefore I question, whether this will actually be a good move for the home furnishings giant. 

Haagen-Dazs Serenades You While You Wait For Your Ice Cream to Soften

From creativity-online:

Haagen-Dazs has launched a “Concerto Timer” app that entertains brand fans while they wait for the two minutes needed to let their Haagen-Dazs ice cream soften slightly (or “temper”), to reach its full consistency and flavor.

Impatient eaters who are ready to dig into their cartons of Haagen-Dazs even if the ice cream’s still hard enough to warp a spoon now have a little musical buddy to soothe their hungry souls. The brand’s new Concerto timer appemploys the generally poorly utilized tech of AR, but in a delightful, useful way. Aim your phone at a container of the ice cream and it will summon a violin-concerto playing muse, who will perform a tune for the two-minutes it takes for Haagen-Dazs to soften to prime devouring consistency. Apparently, this is the first iOS mobile AR app that integrates 3D Kinect technology and video data.

Why Am I Curious?

While I think it is up there in the list of relatively less useful apps from brands list, it is kind of delightful at the same time, and after all the app store is kind of a junk drawer at this point. The app itself solves somewhat off a non-problem or something that consumers did not really perceive to be an issue but i think it is kind of brilliant in how the brand tries to infuse itself into every second of brand experience while reinforcing its image of a classy ice-cream connoisseur.

MARS App: An Augmented Reality Guide to Life

Navigating something can be difficult. Whether it’s a new town, car, or blender, a little extra information when you’re first getting acquainted can be useful. But unfortunately, we don’t always carry those around. But we do usually have a phone, which is where the PAR Works MARS app comes in.

The app, which was up for a SXSW 2013 Interactive Award, basically makes life easier by cutting down on the time needed to figure something out. It enables anyone to embed information about a place or product by taking a photo. Once the info is uploaded to the database, other users can take a photo to recognize the place or product and pull up the info using an Internet connection. (more at Digital Trends)

Why I’m Curious

MARS has a ton of potential to make it more convenient for consumers to access information or manuals, find out where to buy a product they like, or receive a discount at a store – just by snapping a picture. I think augmented reality service like MARS are definitely something we will be seeing more of in the future. But for now, the process seems a little clunky – will customers or companies manage uploading? Will the data only be accessible through the app? Can you save data once you access it (in case there’s no Internet connection)? In any case, I’m looking forward to seeing where application likes MARS are going.

Toys and Apps Are Yet to Play Nice Together

Efforts to Link Tablets to Dolls and Board Games Falls Short So Far, but Industry Continues to Try

90% toy-industry efforts at combining real-world toys with applications were unsuccessful in 2012 (TimetoPlayMag.com). Jakks Pacific recently unveiled an enhanced-reality app that, through a device’s camera and display, made Disney characters appear to be interacting with toys.

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Mechanics: The DreamPlay line of products use image-recognition software in a tablet app to link to related plastic toys—for instance, when a device’s camera points at the drum set from Disney’s “Little Mermaid,” the crab Sebastian appears to sit at the drums on the tablet screen while banging out a rendition of “Under the Sea.”

But industry observers are split on whether it will be successful, and they are concerned that tacking technology onto old ideas shows desperation.

Read the article here.

Why I am Curious

Last year, trying to show how the toy industry could remain relevant in the tablet age, Hasbro Inc. unveiled an iPad-enhanced version of its classic Game of Life. Instead of spinning a wheel in the center of the board game to take a turn, players spun a wheel on the iPad. The idea bombed.

Among the other flops, Mattel Inc. outfitted Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars with special conductors to control games on a tablet.

The point is, it shouldn’t be about technology, but the way kids use it: “I don’t think children play with toys and look at a screen at the same time,” (Sean McGowan, an analyst at Needham & Co).

Transparent Fingers

It’s the classic conflict presented by touchscreens — they display beautiful content that reacts instantly to your every move, but you can’t operate them without obscuring part of your view. A team at the National Taiwan University in Taipei is taking an neat approach to solving the problem, however, with tiny screens that you can wear on your fingertips. The team envisages the technology being used with flexible displays that fit over your nails like polish, but sadly notes that such a screen is not yet commercially available.

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Instead, the current NailDisplay prototype is a thimble-sized 96 x 64 OLED screen which syncs to the phone and displays relevant information. Touch a virtual keyboard with your thumb, for example, and the display will show you which “key” is being pressed — effectively letting you see “through” the digit. Another use case imagined is as a screen for a device that otherwise wouldn’t have one, such as an iPod shuffle. The team says it wants to investigate the possibilities for multiple devices at once, as well as the potential for eye-tracking software to improve the sensation of a “transparent finger.”

source: http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/30/3931624/naildisplay-gives-you-transparent-fingers

Why I’m curious: Not for the screen on your finger when it’s blocking the screen, but the concept of adding a screen via your finger to an object that doesn’t have a screen is interesting. Behaviorally we are learning to by pass the surface and just focus on the experience.  As we continue to find ways for technology to fit seamlessly into a users day to day, I wonder where this will net out.

AR app makes newspaper easier for kids to read

Tokyo Newspaper (aka Tokyo Shimbun) partnered with our Dentsu Tokyo family to create an augmented reality mobile app that would make reading the newspaper much more engaging and easy for children.

The mobile app uses augmented reality to have animations, and cartoons appear over articles. By pointing the phone’s camera over a bulk of text, Kanji characters were replaced by Hiragana characters that made the article to read. Some articles featured pop-up characters with commentaries, while others included animated headlines. The Tokyo AR app can be download for free on iTunes, and has already received positive reviews from parents.

Why I’m Curious: I think this serves as a fantastic example for us to see how the agency developed a creative solution for a universal problem in such a relevant way for the brand. By creating this more interactive app, they made traditional newspapers more appealing to kids, which can lead to more family discussions, and also contribute to the child’s education and learning.

McDonald’s App Lets Customers Track Where Their Food Came From

From PSFK:

Where did the meat in your hamburger come from? In Australia, McDonald’s (which is known as “Macca’s”) has introduced the ‘TrackMyMacca’s‘ iPhone app. It uses your phone’s GPS to find out what restaurant you’re in, image recognition to see what you’re eating, and the date and time to track the exact ingredients that went into your food.

Augmented reality then turn the tables into a ‘farm’ and allows you to learn about the food. The app promoted transparency, which McDonald’s Canada made headlines for earlier this year with how they photograph their food.

‘TrackMyMacca’s’ works with food that comes in specially marked boxes, including the McChicken burger, Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish, and Chicken McNuggets. Augmented reality is used to provide interactive information about McDonald’s and it’s supply chain, turning the iPhone into an ingredient tracker.

The free app lets you get to know some McDonald’s favorites inside out, finding out where the ingredients in the actual food you just bought came from. Check out the short film about the app below:

Why Am I Curious?

I do like how McDonalds is using every single technology and media out there in a creative way to hone in on and get across their single minded brand message of transparency and engaging the consumer in interesting ways without being preachy. Also i think it is important to note how far they are willing to go to demonstrate the authenticity of their claims because after all, I cannot imagine untangling the supply chain data so that consumers can have a customized augmented reality experience depending on time and location can be easy. I think it is great example of using data not just to target the customers to try to sell something but to inform and educate them.

Get off your butt and explore your world, through a game!

Google recently launched a mobile game you play in real life called Ingress.  More on Mashable, but the gist is that Niantic Labs (the google smartphone app team) has done something to release strange energy that you have to discover at “portals” near creative places like art installations and museums:

Why I’m Curious:

The main thing that interests me about this game is the fact that it relies on the user getting up off the couch and exploring their community.  It leverages exciting technology and makes finding new and interesting hubs of creativity around you into a game.

IKEA Introduces AR App

IKEA Now is a new free app that lets users see how furniture will look in your home before you buy them.

From PSFK,

IKEA Now offers the ability to take a photo and read more IKEA product information. Business Insider reports that while you aim your smartphone camera at a certain place within your home, you can pick an item from the app’s catalog and “insert” the augmented reality image.

The first version of the app features the 50 most popular pieces of furniture, but the developers announced they hope to add more as well as integrate social sharing.

Why I’m Curious

IKEA and other furniture stores have offered consumers virtual rooms to see how various pieces could fit into a certain size space. However, IKEA went a step further, allowing consumers to see the room, not a 10-inch version on their computers.

I’m curious to see what happens when social sharing is integrated into the app. Then it will not only allow the user to see how the furniture looks, but also solicit opinions from friends and family. It almost gives buying furniture the quality of buying clothes

Store Trek: Shop From Your Sofa

Online shopping is great since you can do it from the comfort of your own home. But you miss the thrill of scanning the aisles and shelves at the brick and mortar store. So why not combine the best of both worlds and essentially make a shopping video game that results in real purchases? Well, that is exactly what Store Trek is.

UK software company, KeyTree, has created new shopping experience that lets you explore the aisles of the store on your TV using XBox Kinect. The first store taking advantage of this technology? Tesco (of course). (more at 12ahead)

Why I’m Curious

Personally I’m a big fan of online shopping, but no matter how nice a webpage looks, it’s never quite the same as being in the store. The Store Trek program is a really interesting way to tie both experiences together and the initial thrill of a new shopping experience will definitely grab the attention of customers as many of Tesco’s other executions have.

I’m curious to see how an AR experience like this could have more layered on top it – will there be a more social experience next? What about a virtual supermarket sweep?!

Blippar: Welcome to Augmented Reality

At the recent PSFK CONFERENCE LONDON, Jessica Butcher, CMO and Co-Founder of Blippar, gave live demonstrations of this new augmented reality app. It allows users to interact with images and objects in a way never possible before. For example, a user could hold their phone over a pack of gum and image would ‘come to life’ with digital animation and information. Each object that’s compatible with the app becomes an app of its own, creating individual interfaces specific to it.

Butcher highlighted the use of a universal platform, which allows marketers to produce engaging content and transform advertisements from beyond static images to interactive sites in which they can engage with consumers.

Apps like Blippar show the potential of augmented reality to go beyond just a one-off advertising tool. In fact AR can be implemented into all kinds of daily routines, such as bringing up to-do lists when users scan a notepad, or showing them the transportation service when they scan a metro ticket. This could increase the appeal of advertisements, as well as revolutionize the way in which the digital world reads print.

Why I’m Curious: Along with a lot of you reading this blog, I love digital awesomeness. Augmented reality is the type of trend that makes my awesomeness radar skyrocket. What a brilliant way to turn the simple things of everyday life into an interactive experience. Blippar just makes life more fun as it gives you a new lens with which to view your world. This app offers obvious utility for brands to create gamified experiences with their otherwise static products. I’m curious to see where these elements of augmented reality will take the online and offline consumer experience.

JOHNNIE WALKER CREATES ‘INTERACTIVE’ FACEBOOK COVER PHOTO

Edelman, together with BBH, has developed a campaign for Johnnie Walker that makes use of the brand’s Facebook cover photo, turning it into a live, interactive stream of Instagram photos.

The new FB application on its official Facebook page changes the cover image every time the page is refreshed. The constantly-changing covers feature four Instagram-based photos taken by three of world’s foremost Instagrammers, which the brand has commissioned to take over the Johnnie Walker instagram feed over the course of next four weeks. Staying true to its philosophy, the brand will take the Instagrammers on a four different inspirational brand related journeys. Photos include journey-related inspirations as well as  exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpses of the iconic whiskey’s world.  The Instagram images are automatically fed through to the Facebook Page via the unique app to create an interactive timeline by live-streaming Instagram photos.

The campaign, which launched on August 27th, will be live until late September. Fans of the brand are also invited to capture images via Instagram with a dedicated hashtag, where the most impressive ones will be streamed to the brand’s Facebook page starting from late September.

Johnnie Walker’s Instagram feed went live on the 27th August 2012, and the campaign launched on the 3rdSeptember 2012. , the account has already garnered more than 2,000 fans in a week.

Why I’m curious:

This is a smart Instagram launch strategy by leveraging existing Facebook strong presence to quickly build an engaging Instagram community. (Johnnie Walker has over 4,000,000 Facebook fans globally). This campaign integrated Facebook and Instagram in a unique and innovative way, and allowed the brand to tell the story of its vibrant heritage seamlessly on both platforms via consumer-generated content and collective creativity.

A Different Look at Drinking & Driving

-Kristie

Everyone knows you shouldn’t drink and drive, and there have been s campaigns that attempt to stop adults from getting behind the wheel after a few drinks. Insurance company Allianz teamed up with OgilvyOne Brazil to install “Drunken Mirrors” in the bathrooms of bars and clubs, with the hopes of giving partygoers a different view on drinking and driving.

From PSFK,

These mirrors look like normal mirrors, so it comes as a surprise when they pause just a moment too long before changing. In other words, the mirror’s own reactions are delayed to simulate how a person’s reflexes are slowed down after a couple of drinks.

Why I’m Curious

There have been countless campaigns to try to stop drinking and driving, but hardly any take this approach. A majority of campaigns play up the potential horror of losing a loved one or being responsible for a death yourself.

The Drunk Mirror looked like a game at first to consumers in the bar, until the messaging appeared on the screen. I think it’s a great example of how emerging tools and technology can be incorporated to a variety of campaigns – whether their objective is serious or playful.

‘Smart’ Table Can Identify Different Types Of Baked Goods In One Second

A new system developed by Brain Corporation in collaboration with the University of Hyogo is able to identify different kinds of baked goods on a tray, in just one second. The technology, which was trialled recently at a bakery in Tokyo, improves efficiency as new and part-time staff don’t need to learn all the various pastry names and prices. The machine automatically gives them the knowledge they need to assist customers and calculates the price, cutting down on serving time.

The items are placed on a light table at the counter and identified by a camera. A green outline on the screen confirms that an item has been identified correctly. If there’s any doubt, a yellow outline is shown, and item names can be selected from a list of possibilities. Repeating this process makes the system even smarter. The developer’s next move is to use the visual recognition system for other items that can be distinguished by shape and color, like vegetables and medicine.

Why I’m curious:

We’ve seen a lot of technology being used nowadays to streamline transaction process including mobile wallet and mobile coupons. With this specific type of technology, self-checkout can be made possible in a lot of categories and therefore might make offline purchase as efficient as online.

Olympic Hotel Uses Smartphone To Control Check-In, Room Service & TV

Samsung’s Galaxy S III is not only the official smartphone of the 2012 Summer Olympic games, but it is also a pretty nifty gadget to have if you happen to be staying in London’s Stratford Holiday Inn.

Guests staying in one of the 40 VIP rooms will receive a Galaxy S III smartphone with a customized Holiday Inn app capable of checking in and out, locking and unlocking doors, controlling the AC, ordering room service, and controlling the room’s TV.

Additionally, the app will be updated regularly with the latest Olympic event news, schedules and information, ensuring that all VIP guests are connected to the games no matter where they are.

Why I’m curious:

Unlike other smartphone launch giveaway campaigns targeting tech bloggers and influencers, Samsung made a smart move to distinguish itself by focusing on lifestyle-driven approach while still maintain the innovation component. By letting hotel VIP guests experiment with the cutting-edge mobile technology during their stay in London, and combined it with the timely Olympic events,  Samgsung successfully translated technology specs into a brand story around innovation and utility. However, where’s the social component in this app?