Logo tattoo = raise?

NYC’s Rapid Realty is offering employees a 15% raise if they get the company’s logo tattooed on their person. Some 40 employes have already done so…

Why I’m Curious?

How many people would get an mgb tattoo if a similar offer was on the table?


Coloring The Brand

Longtime color expert Pantone has launched PantoneView.com, a digital subscription service devoted solely to color.

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Catering to all color-conscious industries, Pantoneview.com provides visual inspiration, direction and a global perspective on color from the world’s leading color experts. The platform offers analysis and reporting across nine verticals –  Fashion, Food & Drink, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interiors, Lifestyle & Culture, Material, Sustainability and Technology – and also provides news and live events with experts.

Why I’m Curious: 

Color is a powerful communications tool that can impact how we learn, used to signal action, influence mood, and even cause physiological reactions.  It’s often a reflection of what is happening in culture at any given time and many times we don’t even realize that color is the catalyst for what we are experiencing or feeling.

The way brands use colors is more than a quick decision about what looks aesthetically pleasing – it’s about understanding how color conveys personality and values, mood and the types of people they want to attract.  Having a platform that provides historical information and insight into current and future trends is an incredibly useful tool that will allow us to better understand the role color plays in our lives.


Al Gore Gamifies the Climate Change Conversation

The Climate Reality Project, the organization Al Gore founded, released its latest Internet activism tool: Reality Drop. The new site is a gamified experience that rewards users for “dropping” facts about climate change into different online forums and comment fields on hot articles.

Introducing Reality Drop from Climate Reality on Vimeo.

From Mashable:

You can participate in Reality Drop either by spreading climate facts from the site on your social networks or in hot online discussion boards. You’re also rewarded for sharing articles about climate change from all perspectives on Reality Drop. Stories about climate truths are displayed in green and stories spreading myths are displayed in red.

“Our site will be a place to stay current and find stories about good solutions that are happening in the world,” Maggie Fox, CEO of Climate Reality, says. “I think it will very quickly become a place that people come to learn.”

To create Reality Drop’s content, Climate Reality Project partnered with Skeptical Science, an organization of volunteer scientists who researched and responded to a list of common arguments against Climate Change. Fox says careful attention was given toward using simple, honest language and not using an attitude when crafting the rebuttals.

“It’s actually a lot of work for someone who’s new to the conversation about climate change to shut down denial, but also to serve as a resource,” Fox says. “Our ultimate goal is to get conversation open and flowing. We need to move the conversation forward and not waste time arguing over whether it’s happening or not.”

Why Am I Curious?

I think it is really interesting how the organization is using the power of gamification and social media to reach people who are passionate about the topic, arm them with information and also give them the tools and channels for them to spread these news and change tone and direction of conversations in a relatively scaleable manner.

What i find really interesting and valuable is the curation of content that features both sides of the debate. This really showcases the contrast between arguments and makes it easy for people to find the places where the conversations are taking place. While arming people with information is a strategy that many brands undertake, it is rather passive and this takes the next step and helps people who are passionate on the topic to be able to go on the offensive.

Twitter Being Used to Cast a Movie

From Mashable:

It’s no secret that Twitter‘s data has been shown to predict box office performance weeks before a movie opening. However, the company’s latest venture takes it much further back in the production cycle.


Adam Bain, president of global revenue at Twitter, said he was making the rounds in the Hollywood studios recently when a producer gave him a proposal: “One studio chief said ‘This is amazing. I’ve got a film in production right now and I’m making casting decisions. What can Twitter tell me about a movie that’s going to appear two years from now?'”

That led Twitter to take part in what Bain calls a Moneyball-style effort to find undervalued actors. Bain didn’t go into specifics, but said the actors are being considered not because of their follower counts, but because of their engagement. Bain declined to say which studio and which film Twitter is working with. As for the results? “We’ll have to wait two years,” he said.

Bain, who was an exec at Fox Sports and Fox Interactive Media before joining Twitter, told the anecdote during media-buying firm OMD’s Social Day in New York on Thursday. Also in attendance was Deb Roy, the co-founder of Bluefin Labs, a social TV analytics firm. Twitter announced this week that it was buying Bluefin, which signals a deeper dive into providing data for the entertainment industry.

Why Am I Curious?

I am always interested to see the innovative ways people are starting to view and analyze the massive amounts of social data that is out there and use it to make predictions and smart investments. The initiative Twitter is undertaking is quite an interesting one and i am curious about the results because I do wonder if an actor’s social interactions and personalities before he/she is an unknown have anything to do with whether they do catch their break eventually. In addition to Twitter using its data to predict next big breakout start through their social interactions,  this week, Spotify announced that it would use its streaming data to predict the Grammy winners that are to be announced this weekend. Clearly, the predictive analysis using social data isa trend that is gaining momentum and I am interested to see if the predictions will be valuable enough to see increasingly more applications of it in the near future.

Kotex Sends Personalized Gifts to Influential Pinners

Kotex created a campaign to recognize inspirational women – so they did a little stalking via Pinterest. They found 50 inspirational women and what they liked via their pins, and from there created personalized gift packages, which were delivered straight to the women’s doors.

Smoyz’s CEO, Yael Linen-Zuchman, said of the campaign: “We had a ripple effect and women who were not involved in the campaign posted statuses like ‘What is this deal with all the Kotex gifts, can I have one too?!’ The main purpose was to have woman talk about the brand and the experience and it worked.” (more at PSFK)

Why I’m Curious

The campaign reminds me a little of campaign done for Gillette a while back, but the insight gained via Pinterest made Kotex’s effort far more customized. It’s an interesting example of how a small gesture (that only effects 50 fans) can have a big impact through influential fans sharing on social media. A similar campaign could also be a really great way to reward (and surprise) brand evangelists on social channels.



We knew this was coming…you can’t have all of these beautiful pictures and no one profiting from them. Someone had to capitalize….presenting: Hashpix the new place to buy/sell your favorite Instagram photos.


“To sell on the site, photographers need to apply. It’s starting out by selling selected photos from 12 of the most popular Instagram photographers, who together have more than 800,000 followers on the photo sharing platform.” Read the full article here.

Why I’m Curious

I am curious to see what this could grow into. Could brands with amazing photos start selling them at a profit on Hashpix? Could brands such as Starbucks that use great imagery start using this as a place to promote their creativity? Additionally, it continues the conversation around images and videos and how much more people are using them in social media. It challenges brands to not only have engaging copy, but to be aesthetically pleasing to the consumer as well.

Curating Sweden.

Using Twitter, the official tourism arm of Sweden (Visit Sweden) has come up with an interesting way to promote their country via their citizens: Curators of Sweden. Sponsored in part by the Swedish institute and VisitSweden (both part of NSU, the National Board for the promotion of Sweden), each week a citizen of Sweden is chosen to run the @Sweden Twitter account. I’m unclear on the start date of this experience, but it seems to be December 2011.

Twitterers must be nominated, and they cannot nominate themselves, either. Under the guise of individuality, each of the nominees will be allowed to tweet as they see fit, thus representing the nature of Sweden. And the best part: a new Swede each week means a different perspective each week!

Why I’m Curious

It’s a calculated risk for Sweden to hand over the digital reigns to their people as representatives of their nation. But it also takes some faith, and in turn, truly epitomizes the values of Sweden as a country. It certainly helps the country stand out from both a tourism and world-view perspective. Now imagine some of the world’s largest countries. Do you think they would ever hand over the reigns to their employees – a new one, each week – to tweet on their behalf?

Give to charity by legally downloading music

Fairshare Music out of the UK partners with many of the country’s leading charities to combine legal music downloads with charitable giving. It’s part of Virgin Unite, Virgin’s charitable arm.


Why I’m curious:

The challenge of getting people to legally download music has been ongoing for a while. I like Fairshare’s approach since it incentivizes you to purchase the music legally. Basically, by purchasing music on the site, 50% of your purchase is donated to the charity of your choice. This gives consumers the option to give while they get without it costing a penny more to feel better about their purchase. It’s an interesting way to solve something that has been a problem basically for as long as the internet has been around. I’d love to see something like this implemented in the US.


What Does 2012 Hold for Social Media?

The Social Media Examiner released it’s 30 predictions for social media in 2012. They were submitted by some of the top social media pros and cover everything from how businesses will use social media to what kinds of mobile apps will be most popular. -Tulani

The list covers some great points of view on the future of social media. Two of the predictions that I found most interesting were:

“#1: Businesses consolidate social media activities (via Michael Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner)

As the social media landscape becomes more crowded in 2012, businesses will pick their battles and dig in. What used to be simply Facebook and Twitter is now Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (and who knows what’s next). On top of this, you have many specialty networks like Foursquare, Yelp and Instagram.

The old mantra of “be everywhere” will quickly be replaced with “be where it matters to our business.”

The major four players have all gone through massive changes in preparation for the battle for users. But don’t let a shiny new wrapping be the motivation to focus on social network A or B. Instead, it will be essential to focus where you’ll see results. And that may not necessarily be Facebook or Twitter for your business.”

“#3: Brands embrace real time (via Ekaterina Walter, social media strategist at Intel)

Brands should move to agile marketing and real-time thinking. Gone are the days when it took 6 months to develop and launch a campaign or 5 days to answer a disgruntled customer.

Brands need to master the art of opportunistic marketing and the art of real-time response. To break through the online noise, they need to stand out with their creative thinking around capitalizing on current buzz and trends.

For that, brands need the right infrastructure and agile processes that will allow them to intuitively and immediately pick up on the marketing opportunities. They need agencies that can adapt, react and support them in real time as well.”

Other interesting predictions:

#6: Businesses outsource content creation

#8: Regularly creating unique content becomes essential

#30: Rise of the media specialist

The full article can be found here.

Why I’m Curious:

Very simply put, i’m interested to see if these predictions will actually come true. A number of them we have already seen happening, such as more video and photo social meda sites and brands creating better pages on Facebook with the new Timeline feature. Most of the predictions are based around things that must happen to make a brand or company competitive in the ever growing social media space. Having unique and interesting content and making their social media strategy stand out is essential to brands staying top of mind in the social media space.

A number of predictions also addressed the increased use of Youtube for brands. With the new analytics and the layout of Youtube pages changing, it is becoming a better spot for companies to advertise and more a social networking hub. With the increase of video content, Youtube is likely to continue to grow and evolve as an effective medium for brands.

We are hunted…

No, not haunted. I know, Halloween is soooo last week. Hunted as in, We Are Hunted, a music popularity aggregator that promises to show you the top 99 songs in real-time, based on “sentiment, expression and advocacy” curated through social networks and music blogs. It’s kind of like Hype Machine, but on a much larger scale.

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But wait, there’s more. Curate your own playlists, pull together your social networks and bring in your other wandering playlists (Rolling Stone, iTunes, SoundCloud, Spotify,); download We Are Hunted and other music-finding apps for your mobile and tablet device. Find ’em on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Why I’m Curious

I’m a music geek. I live and breathe via live shows and new albums. And often, I turn to my trusted sources online to help me discover new bands. Rather than trolling my feeds and usual blog suspects, We Are Hunted’s found a way to aggregate a lot of information into one visually compelling story. Granted, take it all with a grain of salt, but it’s a good way to take the pulse of what’s shaking in the music world. And making it all portable just adds to the fun. I may be data-hungry, but next up, I’d love to filter by location, and by platform (what’s popular on Facebook versus Twitter?, etc.).

Quirky & Bed Bath, and Beyond Collaboration

– Sarah

We’ve all had ideas on how to make a product better. More efficient. Less frustrating. More user-friendly. But where do you start? How can you  make a difference?

Quirky just might have an answer.

Quirky, a product subsidiary of BB&B, allows for anyone to submit a new idea for BB&B to actually make. Cost of entry is $10 per random design, and free for particularly commissioned products (this month is an outdoor gardening product), which allows the community to vote on what’s made next. The selected submission is then vetted through Quirky’s staff for scoring in 3 areas: design potential, marketing potential, and viability. If selected, Quirky’s designers and engineers get to work in making the design a reality. And even better, the inventor gets a share of the profit from the completed design’s sales.

A little video to help explain:

But wait, there’s more. Influence. Influence is calculated via “real-time measure of your contributions to a product.” By becoming a Quirky influencer, you can also earn cash by promoting Quirky products to your friends via social sales (yes, social currency is at play here). And if you support or influence an idea during stages of development, you’ll get paid for your contributions, too.

Oh, and Quirky is now the subject of a TV show on Sundance:

Why I’m curious

Crowd-sourcing continues to mutate in many ways, some good, and some bad. In this case, it seems like a great way to open up design and development to people who may or may not come from traditional product design or engineering backgrounds. There is an inherent risk of a submitted design not being selected, and later copied by someone (anyone) else, but that’s the risk you take. And if you just like or want to have influence in refining an idea, the profit model works in your favor, too. The profit sharing payout is a solid reward for sharing your ideas (although, I can’t speak to whether or not it’s truly a decent payout in the end) – some people have made as much as over $39,000 in profit!

Pay with a Tweet: Real Social Currency


A year ago, a new way to trade content online debuted as a simple idea to sell a book. This week, it took home a Cyber Lion at Cannes.

Pay with a Tweet is the first social payment system where people use the value of their social network as legal tender.

Cooked up by the creative wonder-duo known as Innovative Thunder, Pay With A Tweet was created to help build buzz for the book “Oh My God What Happened And What Should I Do?“. And then heavily supported by the good folks at R/GA to bring home hardware from The Webby Awards, The One Show and Cannes.

Why I’m Curious

Sheer ubiquity. Anyone who has something to sell can scrape and add a Pay With A Tweet button to their site. Likewise, anyone who wants something can have it with a simple shout out.

In a world where everyone’s talking NFC payments and virtual wallets, words may very well prove to have the highest value and widest acceptance.


New York Writes Itself

– Sarah


New York Writes Itself is a story-telling platform that bills itself as “a production by the people of New York.” Based on the idea that NY is an ever-changing story, the site invites citizens of the city to register as “scribes.” Scribes are then asked to record conversations and observations about the city; these written records will then become part of the larger “script,” which will in turn be used to inform future productions, be it videos, art installations, posters, etc.

The script is available to anyone for viewing, and can be sorted by neighborhood and category (characters, quotes, scenes) and filtered by date and popularity. Each week, a celebrated New Yorker (dubbed the Chairman) will cull through submissions and present some of the more interesting ones; a group of art and literary talents will select submissions for production.

This collection of stories is being run by Leo Burnett, while it is not currently tied to any brands or clients of the agency.

Why I’m Curious

Generally speaking, NYWI has a lot of potential as an experiment in crowd-sourcing. And it marks a continuing trend in the ad world: content curation. We’re no longer in the business of marketing communication, but curating content that may or may not inspire or influence. Or maybe it’s the same thing, just semantics. Either way, it’s near-certain that this project will be of interest to brands, and LB will need to be able to market it as such. It will be interesting to see how the NYWI experiment plays out.


Brands Can Now Klout-Gate Their Facebook Pages

— Jocelyn

Fan-gating is so 2010. Introducing Klout-gating.

Involver has teamed up with social influence tracking company Klout to release a set of Facebook applications that brands can use to tailor their Page experiences around fans’ Klout scores. The first app is free and was released to brands this past Wednesday, with Audi USA as the first brand to test Involver and Klout’s influence gate on its Facebook Page.

Fans who click to find out their Klout scores will receive a perk — a custom desktop, ringtone or both — based on their scores. The process happens entirely on Facebook, with Involver pinging Klout and retrieving the user’s score in the background.

Why I’m curious:

Why would a brand do this? Blocking access to content unless someone is “influential” enough does nothing but give exclusivity, but not in a World’s Most Exclusive Website way — in an annoying way. By Klout-gating, there’s no Facebook fan acquisition. Instead, you only give quote-unquote “influential” people access, while ostracizing — practically insulting — the masses. And when Facebook is made of 150+ MM users (most of whom likely have questionable “influence”), isolating the common-man might not be the best idea for brands that seek mass appeal.

Project Neon & Kickstarter: bringing a personal passion to life

– Sarah

Project Neon is a mobile app that celebrates the unique, oft-overlooked art of neon signs. Wait, well, let me step back. Project Neon will be a mobile app that maps over 100 of NY’s best neon signs with photos and descriptions, allowing people with a similar obsession to track these signs in the city. While I could go on describing, why not let the video do the talking for me?*

Project Neon app images

You see, Project Neon was created by just one person, with a passion for neon signs, who had a small idea. Project Neon creator Kirsten Hively did the groundwork: photographing the signs, mapping them out, designing the app, but needed a little help in getting the project off the ground. Enter Kickstarter, where she was able to ask for funding and award donators with small gifts for their support.

*I would love to embed the video, but WordPress and iFrame aren’t friendly, and I’ve overloaded on code with no success this morning.

Why I’m Curious

Aside from my own personal admiration of neon signs and general ephemera, I wanted to step outside the world of marketing for a moment to acknowledge something pretty wonderful happening. Kickstarter is nothing new, but it is fast becoming the alternative to large-scale VCs for the average person. It’s an opportunity to take a passion and make it real. And when compared to the example I shared last week, it’s an example of the wonderful world of the internet doing good and making dreams possible. And in the case of Project Neon, well, the project was funded!

Excuse me for moment while my heart swells with pride. Okay, you can go on now.

The Klout Score — the measurement of your overall online influence


Some brands are increasingly leveraging online tools that allow them to identify and reward key influencers, expecting to turn them into advocates.

For example,

Why I’m Curious

Because of its potential implications…

Once these scores go mainstream — and it’s already happening — everybody is going to want a number … a high number. Why? Because personal branding now starts with social influence. Your social score may ultimately be more important than your resume when getting a marketing job. The Harvard Business Review said that creating a robust online presence is the first step toward building a C-suite personal brand.

About the Klout Score: this is the measurement of your overall online influence. The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score.—True Reach is the size of your engaged audience and is based on those of your followers and friends who actively listen and react to your messages. Amplification Score is the likelihood that your messages will generate actions (retweets, @messages, likes and comments) and is on a scale of 1 to 100. Network score indicates how influential your engage audience is and is also on a scale from 1 to 100. The Klout score is highly correlated to clicks, comments and retweets.

Read the article here.

Project Cascade Tracks Content Sharing

The New York Times R&D group has created a technology called Project Cascade, which helps visualize the relationship between readers and publishers in digital environments.  The technology is truly unique in its ability to track how specific events and influencer participation lead to additional activity and engagement with content over the course of time.

Cascade aims to answer some key questions:

1. What is the impact of a single tweet?

2. How much conversation occurs in just 140 characters?

3. Are certain people more influential on certain topics?

4. What variables such as time of day or day of week impact the effectiveness of a tweet?

5. How can the Times gain insights to maintain a thought leadership position in specific topical areas?

Why I’m Curious:

The New York Times has carved out a clear leadership position in the digital and new media space.  With the recent launch of the digital subscriber program, their position as a leading digital publisher is clearly paying dividends.  Beyond subscriptions, the New York Times is also using new media innovation to inform and prove their position as a thought leader.  I imagine projects like Cascade will help the New York times optimize social sharing, package value add media deals, and potentially prove the effectiveness of certain aspects of paid media partnerships.

While listening technology already exists to help marketers track conversation broadly, this technology gets much more granular in telling the story around the sharing of a single piece of content or a post by people with varying influence.  For marketers, this could add new dimensions in how strategies and creative are conceived, implemented and tracked.