State Farm Brings Back “Chaos in Your Town” – This Time on Mobile

Couple years ago, State Farm introduced you to “Chaos in Your Town,” a website that let you plug in your home address and witness a robot wreaking havoc on your neighborhood. Now, the insurance giant came up with the second iteration of the campaign — except this time, it’s mobile.

The mobile iAd uses the GPS capabilities of your smart phone, replacing the manual address input requirement from 2011. The result is a movie featuring that robot going on a rampage in your current location.

One of the challenges was to drive users to call State Farm and get a quote that didn’t feel forced — some interactivity was incorporated to that part of the ad, where you’re asked how you want to respond to the robot. This also helped with the challenge of driving users to call State Farm and get a quote in a way that did not feel forced.

It’s no surprise the insurer is bringing back Chaos in Your Town, which racked up some pretty impressive numbers in terms of consumer engagement in its previous stint. In the first 10 weeks of the 2011 Chaos in Your Town effort, with a digital media spend around $700,000, the campaign

  • Garnered more than 900 blog mentions
  • Saw more than one million user-generated films were created
  • Resulted in more than 200 million user-generated impressions

In the following 20 months, without any paid media support, the campaign went on to generate 6+ million additional user generated videos, bringing the total to about 7 million films.

Why Am I Curious?

I think the most interesting part of this example is how much engagement and interactivity it brings into an ad. Sure it is using Google StreetView images as opposed to actual Augmented Reality but the end result still seems to really stand out from rest of the online ads and draws users to engage with the ‘game’ while still giving a strong brand message at the end.


The Scarecrow

Chipotle has done it again – their newest effort, “The Scarecrow,” is another grand short-film statement from the restaurant chain about the world of industrial food production. The centerpiece is a free, arcade-style adventure game for the iPhone and iPad that reflects the video.



In the game, you’re challenged to “fly through the city of Plenty to transport confined animals to open pastures, fill fields with diverse crops at Scarecrow Farms, and serve wholesome food to the citizens at PlentyFull Plaza, all while avoiding menacing Crowbots.” And if you get at least three stars out of five in each of the game’s worlds, you get a coupon for free food at Chipotle.

Why I’m Curious

Chipotle is knocking on the door of the gaming world, using a short film and a well known musician (Fiona Apple). I think this is a creative partnership and gives Chipotle an advantageous edge in their market.

Power Matrix: Siemens Energy Game

Siemens maintains its dedication to sustainability with a browser game to raise awareness and teach people about new forms of energy. Power Matrix starts you off with a rural territory where your future city will develop. The goal is to provide your new city with a sustainable power supply through a mix of various energy technologies while keeping a budget. You can trade excess energy, buy additional power generated by others, and even build an energy network to fund an energy research department that provides more efficient solutions and new technologies that are lower in emissions.

Why I’m Curious:

The amount of information required to create this must have been massive and I think it’s an impressive use of big data and analytics in an engaging and socially conscious way. The game flows through different energy sources and accounts for the effects they have on the community and environment. Although it’s a game, the truth is, the energy technologies presented are all available now, to be invested in and used to address the energy and economic concerns being faced all over the world.

Additionally, I think the idea and practice of CSR isn’t going anywhere, and will only become a larger part of the conversation as companies explore innovative ways to create and distribute truly innovative content that supports their corporate philosophy.

Candy Crush Saga: A Killer Social/Mobile Combination


If you own a smart phone or have a Facebook account, chances are you’ve heard of or at least evaded the Candy Crush rage. The simple bejeweled-esque mobile game has reeled in a whopping 15.5 million players so far and tops the charts as one of the highest grossing free apps on the market. The game forces players to depend on their Facebook friends to grant them access to new levels, or else it’s $0.99 a pop (and there’s a lot of pops, pun intended). It’s a killer yet simple combination of social and addictive game design.

From ABC,

“The game, which was released for mobile phones in November 2012, has topped Zynga’s Farmville 2 and other popular mobile games such as Texas HoldEm Poker, Bejeweled Blitz and Subway Sufers. But why? What is it about this game that’s really no more than a simple puzzle game that has made it so popular? It’s a combination of mobile and social elements, says the makers and experts.”

Why I’m Curious:

Before Candy Crush I took pride in having a clean record when it came to these bandwagon social/mobile game rages. These games often have either the addictive or social piece nailed down, but not often do you see both being integrated so well. The dependency on one’s Facebook network that the game has garnered can reduce even the most conservative social networker to a shameful spammer. I am confident that Candy Crush has set a new bar and has facilitated a new upcoming wave of social integration in mobile gaming.

Getting inside the game

Gamers have always fantasized about more engaging play experiences — being “inside” the game. Every early attempt at virtual reality, or immersive gameplay, has come of as cheap or hokey

But since the multi-million dollar Kickstarter for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, those dreams of exploring immersive game worlds are closer to reality. Currently, the Oculus Rift is in the hands of a few hundred developers and enthusiasts, and they are currently working on crafting experiences to fit the hardware.

Why I’m Curious

What’s next in the world of gaming? Will virtual reality devices pull us away from the real world or encourage us to go explore?


Online game demonstrates where urban dwellers seek privacy

A new online game from BMW Guggenheim Lab called Public/Private explores the topic of privacy in cities by focusing on where it is sought out by city dwellers. Users pin areas where they seek privacy and how often, creating a unique visual graph that can be compared with results from other people in the same city, as well as from cities around the world.

Public/Private is an extension of two research projects conducted over the past seven months as part of the BMW Guggenheim Lab Mumbai. These explored the meaning and character of privacy for residents of one of the world’s most densely populated cities.

Public/Private, which was designed and developed by the New York-based design studio Collective Assembly, invites users to share their expectations of privacy as experienced in a variety of spaces, like home, work, and play. The responses produce a visual graph and as more feedback is gathered, a complex picture of privacy in urban settings will emerge.

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Follow this link to play:



Perrier’s Secret Place

Perrier has created an elaborate new online gaming experience called Perrier Secret Place. The game takes viewers through a laundromat and into a speakeasy, where they can choose to explore the hidden world of intricate and mysterious rooms as one of 60 characters.

“Tonight you can be anyone you want,” says the concierge. By clicking on any character in the game, you suddenly see the world through that person’s eyes. These are actors, not animations, and you feel as though you’re really exploring an elaborate movie set or play. One with bottles of Perrier everywhere.

The goal is to find the “golden woman” and her hidden bottle of Perrier. The bottle prompts the user to enter into a drawing to win an exclusive invitation to one of the world’s biggest parties: a party in St. Tropez, New Year’s eve in Sydney, Miami Art Basel, Carnival in Rio and the closing of the Ibiza season.

Why I’m Curious

I appreciate how Perrier has added a fresh spin to gamefied content. The “choose your own adventure” style of this interactive experience is unique in that it allows the user to select their perspective of the environment. Sometimes the likeness of a brand can get lost in the creative. Perrier combats this with strategic product placement enmeshed with highly involved activity throughout the experience (e.g., the goal is to find a bottle of Perrier), a key to driving home brand awareness and resonance. Further, the incentive is very much on brand, relevant to the experience and an attractive motivator for their target. The game is available through desktop, iPhone and Android, bringing wide accessibility to a wide audience.

Peek Inside the Virtual Toybox with Disney’s INFINITY

Disney’s new INFINITY Gaming Platform (to be released in June) allows children to play with their favorite toys in a brand new way: by translating physical objects into keys for unlocking a virtual world.

Besides being a great move for their franchises by building on established characters and plotlines, the INFINITY game is a nod to how kids actually play with their toys.

As John Lasseter, the chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, told Mashable, “Look at how [Toy Story toy owner] Andy played with his toys,” Lasseter said. “He had a Buzz Lightyear, a Cowboy Woody and Mr. Potato Head and played with them all alongside one another.”

Moreover, Lasseter says that the way Disney looks at the experience of Disney Infinity isn’t as changing or expanding the storyline of the renowned franchises, it’s about letting kids play with different characters within one universe.

By seeing characters coexist (that wouldn’t normally live together) inside a virtual world, or by creating their own virtual worlds with the “Toy Box” feature, Disney is also erasing the limits imposed by the pre-set rules, worlds, and characters built into most games. It’s a virtual version of the toy box, in the truest possible sense.

Why I’m Curious:
Play is a vital part of childhood and we’re seeing technology redefine play more than ever in recent years. As kids become more focused on single-player digital entertainment, they’re necessarily moving away from the traditional structure of play, which has promoted socializing and imagination-building with physical manipulatives. What’s interesting about INFINITY is that it allows a physical toy, which by itself is a fun thing to play with, to unlock a virtual world where kids can play with friends, reinforcing the physical world rather than replacing it.

As kids growing up in the digital world get older, to what extent will they expect all physical goods to be coupled with some kind of virtual/interactive enhancement? And as we move toward an “internet of things,” at what point will INFINITY’s premise be less specific to games for children, and more commonplace in everyday things?

Dick’s Sporting Goods: Get Winter Ready

From Creativity Online:

You know how hard it is to get up and ready in the morning, especially in the winter months when you’d rather stay snuggled under the covers in your jammy-jams? Well, Dick’s Sporting Goods, along with Anomaly and Stink Digital have turned “rise and shine” into a game, Get Winter Ready, to promote the retailer’s winter collection.

It stars four buddies on a winter ski trip, and the goal is to get them all dressed so they can hit the slopes before sunrise. The gameplay doubles as a winter lookbook, as players are supposed to locate the various Dick’s goods they’ll need to wear. The experience was built entirely in HTML and works across mobile, tablet and PC devices.


Why Am I Curious?

Gamification is big, we all know it. It helps users engage with the brand longer, keeps the brand top of mind. The reason I particularly liked this game is because it not only doubles as a smart and engaging product catalog but also makes a good old sweepstakes promotion more engaging and entertaining. It is more than asking for consumers to fill out a form but also getting them to “earn” their right to be a part of the sweeps which helps the brand to expose them to their products and remind them the great amazing memories associated with skiing.


Blu Dot Introduces Musical Chairs on Twitter

Furniture maker Blu Dot created an online version of Musical Chairs utilizing Twitter. The company will be giving out its new Hot Mesh Chairs to the winner of “Tweet for a Seat”.

The game is fairly simple, Twitter users must tweet a secret phrase (such as “Some chairs got it. Some chairs don’t. #bludot”) to grab a seat when the music stops, and the fastest ones will grab a seat in the next round. The game continues until only one person remains, earning the Blu Dot Hot Mesh Chair. Games began on December 3rd, and participants can follow Blu Dot on Twitter to find out when the next game is.

Why I’m Curious

I think the idea is fairly simple, but creates a great opportunity for people to be engaged and actively promote a brand on Twitter. The idea of doing an action to secure a seat has been implemented in other campaigns for plane tickets and sports games, but having the entire experience on Twitter instead of incorporating miscrosites or Facebook apps is interesting and can make the entire experience simpler as well.

App Lets Users Incorporate Their Surroundings Into a Video Game

From PSFK:

Litago is a Norwegian milk brand that is well-known for letting customers decide on new flavors. Recently, the company teamed up with Los & CO and B-Reel to create an interactive mobile game called ‘Snap ‘n Play.’ The app allows you to construct a level by taking a photo of your surrounding with your smartphone camera. The image is then analyzed and processed before a playable level is constructed in an instant.

According to B-Reel, the app “relies on an advanced image analysis algorithm to evaluate and trace the most fitting level construction in the users snapped image, finding shapes, edges and contrasts to create a contour that will act as a platform base.”

Users can also “edit” the level to optimize the gameplay, such as changing or adding obstacles, platforms, bonuses, and enemies. Once the level is created, it’s then fully shareable through Facebook and lets other players try to pass the level.

Why Am I Curious?

This is sust a neat use of technology to keep users engaged with a game that may otherwise be somewhat mundane or would blend into the other plethora of smartphone games. As it has been stated a million times, customization is key to engaging consumers and the fact that Litago is giving consumers a way to customize a game  – in endless ways nonetheless – is not only a recipe for unending procrastination but also a smart way to keep users engaged with brand for longer periods of time all the while staying on message. All around neat!

Google Introduces Movember Games

For each week of Movember, Google Australia is launching a new game that is controlled by a mustache. These face-tracking games are only available through Google Chrome. The project is a collaboration between M&C Saatchi’s digital agency Mark and digital production arm, MAKE Gamers.

Week one of the games series started with Lame Mo, which invited beginning moustache growers to strengthen their mo by lifting a barbell using their top lip.

Why I’m Curious

Google always comes up with interesting ways to bring people together, and I think this is a great example of that. A lot of people already participate in Movember, but these games are a way to give participants more fun through the experience and to raise awareness for a good cause.


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.

‘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?

Social Shaming: A New Incentive For You to Stick to Your Diet

Having trouble sticking with your diet? Well, what if all your friends found out whenever you opened your fridge when you shouldn’t?

Created for a diet program Meta Real in Brazil, the Virtual Fridge Lock is a magnet that locks to your fridge and posts on their social networks when they go for an ‘unauthorized’ snack. The user’s friends could then either shame them into compliance or offer helpful motivation to stay on-track with the diet.

Created by JWT of São Paulo to help Meta Real’s new clients stick with their weight-loss programs at the most tempting of times, the device uses peer pressure and social embarrassment to motivate people towards better behavior.

Why Am I Curious?

This is interesting because this is the opposite of the ‘social machines‘ trend (remember the GE Social Fridge that pops open after 10 people check-in to it on Foursquare, revealing cold beer?). As opposed to social activity automatically triggering a physical action, in this situation a physical action triggers a social activity. It is interesting but there is something i find somewhat offensive about this application, and I am wondering if there can be other applications of this trend that goes beyond using social judgement as a training tool.

Get the Card That Combines Credit Cards And Picks The Best One To Use For Purchases

People often apply for and acquire various credit cards to use for different purchases, depending on the benefits that each credit card promises to give them access to. However, carrying numerous credit cards and picking the best credit card for simple single-item purchases or more can be a hassle. To this end, Wallaby, a new financial service currently in beta phase, aims to be the ‘one card to rule them all.’

Wallaby is a cloud-based digital wallet that stores the information about all of your credit cards and automatically picks the best card to charge in each transaction, based on your preferences.  Signing up for the service entitles you to a physical card linked to all your credit cards that will intelligently select the best credit card to use for a particular purchase. If you find yourself paying for gasoline, for example, Wallaby can automatically select the credit card that gives you more returns, such as a discount or miles for subsequent gas purchases.

Why I am Curious

Mobile wallet and mobile register are revolutionizing the payment industry in every possible way. I’m curious to see how big a role mobile device gets to play in this area,  and how many of those features (digital wallet, mobile register, check-in, real-time coupons) can be combined together to offer users relevant benefits. In the meantime, I’m curious to see how financial brands would react to the fact that brand experience are getting diluted in the payment process more and more. And if this industry trend will become a bigger question for every brand to answer as to how can a brand offer both brand experience and convenience?

McDonalds Train Schedule Board Shows Delays As Potential Burger Eating Time

McDonalds in Warsaw, Poland figured out a creative way to make waiting for the train a little less boring for passengers and a little more profitable for their store in the train station.

In cooperation with Polish State Railways, McDonalds capitalized on its proximity (a mere 50 meters away) from the main hub of Warsaw’s Central Train Station by creating a ‘Hamburger Timetable.’ The timetable displayed real-time train information including departure time, destination, track number, and train platform alongside wait/delay time in hamburger and French fries eating potential.

Results: McDonalds saw an increase of 4,500 customers in the first month of the campaign.

Why I am Curious

Digital media have been used heavily in targeting moving consumers and driving them to  nearby stores. Tactics include real-time product updates, coupons and gaming elements. Mobile especially has become a powerful channel in this battle among retailors. However, often times, retailers are too busy throwing discounts and offers at consumers yet falling short on delivering relevant brand experience. McDonalds’ example interests me in that it epitomized the strategy of providing both utility and brand experience in a seamless way that essentially driving up business sales.

Share Your Wi-Fi With Strangers To Earn Free Bandwidth

Karma is a new “social telecom” service that allows users to pay for and share Wi-Fi anywhere.

The plan works like this:Users pay $69 for the hardware, which has a 4G connection and lasts up to eight hours on a single charge. By buying the hardware and signing in to the network with users’ Facebook ID, they automatically get 100mb of free data. From there, they can buy as many GB of data as they want for $14.99 each. Once you activate your Karma network, it remains as an open one, so people in the covered area can try to hop onto the network and steal some bandwidth. Karma is giving them a free 100mb of data as well for using the network if they sign in with Facebook (they can’t get on otherwise). More importantly, you also get 100mb of free data for every person that uses your network. Hosting up to eight devices, the Karma hotspot partners with Internet providers to provide bandwidth service.

The company plans to launch the product by the end of 2012 for $69 each. It runs on Clearwire’s network and offers service in 80 cities across the United States.

Why I’m curious:

There are at least two game-changing components in this new product. The first is the idea of rewarding users for sharing data. It’s not only a smart idea of pushing out the hardware product, but also creates first of its kind loyalty program in mobile space. The second is socializing WiFi usage by linking the account with Facebook. Karma has also just announced a deal with American Airlines and Uber, which will offer free Karma hotspots to frequent fliers and cab users.

U.K. Channel will only take its programming cues from social-media buzz

Social media influences TV viewing habits, so Channel 4, the U.K.’s second biggest commercial TV station, is launching a whole channel dedicated exclusively to the shows that create the most buzz on Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

The new channel called 4seven launches July 4th. It will reserve the 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. weekday slots for the shows that created the most buzz on social media during the previous 24 hours. The rest of the shows on 4Seven will be reruns of the most popular ones of the week.

Why I am Curious

The buzz around interactive TV has been going around for a while. The technology hasn’t really been adapted by mainstream, however, we certainly see the huge impact social media have on TV industry. I like the idea of a broadcaster listening to its audience and serving up what they want. Advertisers will also enjoy the confidence buying spots around shows that have already been given the thumbs up by the audience.