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

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

 

Why I’m Curious

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

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Create Your Own “Game of Thrones” Coat of Arms

In order to generate buzz for the third season of “Game of Thrones,” HBO launched Join the Realm, a socially connected microsite that lets fans create their own coat of arms. The simple interface allows fans to pick their own sigil, house name, and motto, or will automatically generate one.

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Why I’m Curious

Any tool that gives fans the means to generate creative UGC on behalf of a brand, or show, is a major win. HBO is also featuring their favorites on their site, and have attracted many stars to create their own. Rather than having to spend money on a sweepstakes prize to give people for engaging, the reward is the experience.

Quantified Life: Swedish Energy Company Allows Users to Monitor Energy in Real-Time

– Jordan

Utility provider helps people in Sweden cut their energy usage by creating away to track energy usage in real-time via an app. The experiment took place for 1 year and included over 10,000 citizens to answer one question, “If we knew how much electricity we used, would it change our behavior?”

From Contagious:

Challenge / If we knew how much electricity we used, would it change our behavior? Well, that’s what e.on’s Swedish arm, e.on Energispar, wanted to find out in a recent experiment.

Solution / The brand partnered with energy solutions provider Wireless Maingate to develop a measurement tool, called 100koll, which displays energy consumption in real-time.

Working with Forsman & Bodenfors, Gothenburg, e.on then recruited 10,000 participants to take part in Sweden’s Largest Energy Experiment. Each person was given an app which connected to their homes and monitored their power usage. The data collected was then visualised in five different ways – one was a virtual battle between participants, another was a furry Tamagotchi, whose health depended on each user’s energy consumption habits. The video above shows the games in more detail.

A data visualisation website, open to everyone in Sweden, also enabled people to monitor their progress. Users could see who had saved the most energy, identify which regions of the country were the best at turning off their devices, and even compare their energy-saving efforts to other people with similar sized homes.

In addition to this, everyone was encouraged to share energy-saving tips on the experiment website, and the best ideas were turned into a comic book by esteemed Swedish cartoonist Henrik Lange. These drawings were also used in OOH advertising.

Results / Participants changed their habits and lowered their energy consumption by an average of 12%.

Why I’m curious:

As trends happen, new ones emerge. SXSW was all about the quantified self but maybe the next step with the help of technology will be a quantified life bringing in aspects of every piece of your life and allowing you to optimize and tweak them in real time.

Brands Can Visually Monitor Logo Presence on Instagram

Gazemetrix is a startup by UberLabs that uses image recognition technology to help brands better understand their Instagram presence. Using its ability to identify photographed objects, the software searches for brand logos, so brands can see how their products are appearing on the social networking site.

Of the 25 brands GazeMetrix is tracking, Starbucks is tops in terms of the volume of photos featuring its logo. Runners-up are Coca-Cola, BMW, Monster Energy, Google and Corona.

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Unlike other Instagram-based sites like Gramfeed, Statigram, and Nitrogram, Gazemetrix has grown from a cloud-computing startup and will be able to be applied across platforms. In fact, the software company plans to apply its technology for both Twitter and Facebook; it would also be interesting to see them apply their analytics to Pinterest as well.

Why Am I Curious?

We continuously get questions around how many times a brand mentioned on social media and what people are saying. Yet, we know that especially in the case of social media – where people have the attention span of a goldfish, a photo is worth a thousand words. It is interesting that we can now look into what people are saying about brands via their photos and can take into considerations when evaluating social reach.

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!

Introducing the Instagram Menu

A New York restaurant has implemented an Instagram menu, directing diners to check out pictures of food to help them decide what to order.

From Mashable,

When three-week old Latin-American restaurant Comodo — located in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood — noticed guests were repeatedly snapping pictures of their entrees and uploading them to Instagram, it decided to capitalize on the trend. The restaurant has embraced the hashtag #ComodoMenu and added it to the bottom of its real-life menu, encouraging guests to add, share and check out photos of food offered at the establishment.

Why I’m Curious

It’s no secret people love taking photos of their food, and I think this is a great way for a restaurant to utilize existing user-generated content. I always find myself looking around at other table’s plates for some inspiration, and this provides a curated (and perhaps less rude) solution.

I’m interested to see if other restaurants, or even bars and lounges, adopt this, or if diners prefer the element of surprise when a plate or cocktail is placed in front of them.

Dr Pepper Discovers that Controversy = Engagement

– Jordan

From Mashable:

Dr Peppers Facebook page is currently hosting a particularly controversial ad. The ad depicts a ape evolving into a man through the discover of Dr Pepper. This post has sparked a heated debate between creationists and atheist, discussing everything from differing evolutionary theories to boycotting the Dr Pepper brand.

The post has only been up for a day and has already received 2,500 shares, 25.5k likes, and 3,700 comments.

Why I’m curious:

While looking at this post I began to have another debate, was this reaction intentional? Did Dr Pepper follow suit fromt he Oreos Gay Pride cookie and seek to find a way to create a controversial image that would get a engagement rates from current fans and people who have never even been to the Dr Pepper Facebook page. The post has also been picked up by some major blogs such as Mashable, Business Insider, Huffington Post, CBS, Examiner, and Yahoo.

Im curious as to the outcome of making such a bold statement on a subject that remains to be off limits to many other companies. Would the debate spark affinity for the brand? And is that worth more than the potential consumer that it may have offended? No one knows for sure, but it may hold true that any publicity is good publicity.

Do Your Thing Better with Vodaphone

– Jordan

Vodaphone capitalizes on a New Zealand star to showcase how its network allows you to “be a doer.” With over 200k views the combination of New Zealand humor and celeb talent has  made this commercial a success both on and offline.

Why I’m curious:

The message of doing through a wireless network is one that is becoming a common place among carriers with “Helping you, do what you do, even better.” and “Do your thing better.” carriers need to try and obtain a way to stand out from the crowd.

American Express Instagram Tower at NYFW

New York Fashion Week kicked off yesterday, and thousands of pictures of designers’ latest creations will fill Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. But, sponsor American Express is interested in the fabulously-dressed attendees of NYFW.

From Fast Company,

American Express will provide a unique perspective for attendees, displaying street-style fashion photography courtesy of fashion photographer, writer, and illustrator Garance Doré on three Instagram Towers stationed in the lobby of Lincoln Center, the central hub for fashion’s biannual show-and-tell.

Even though Dore will be working the tents at Fashion Week, those not in attendance can still find themselves on the feed. Fans can submit their own street-style fashion images through Instagram using the tag #AmexFashion and have the opportunity to be selected by Dore for inclusion.

Why I’m Curious

There are few opportunities for NYFW featured user generated content, and I think American Express was able to include consumers in an authentic way. Fashion influencers and fans will be sharing photos from the runway all week, and American Express was able to give them a moment in the spotlight.

With mobile photo sharing is higher than ever, American Express was able to promote themselves as a sponsor of NYFW as well as promote influencers and fans to be a part of the exclusivity.

Diesel Uses Animated GIFs for its Latest Campaign

From PSFK:

Diesel’s latest ad campaign might make you do a double take. At first glance, the ads look like traditional, static outdoor ads, but take a second look, and you’ll notice the ads are actually subtly moving.

Shot by famous fashion photographer Steven Meisel, ‘Screen Tests‘ for Diesel’s Autumn/Winter 2012 campaign is an extenuation of the brand’s theme of ‘portraits for successful living.’ The ads feature young, contemporary models interacting in playful settings, and just as the campaign name suggests. As the ads start to move, viewers are able to engage with the models, to feel as if they are actually present watching the fashion shoot, rather than merely looking at a still ad.

The photographs have been turned into cinemagraphs—unlike their jumpy cousin the animated GIF, the movement in the photograph is more refined and subtle, confined to one distinct area. In one shot, a model exuberantly kicks her feet back and forth, while her face is fixed in the same defiant expression. In another, a model smirks as she captures a Polaroid of her still companion. You need to look closely and pay attention to each photo to be able to see that a model is kicking her feet, pointing a camera at you or swinging the mic back and forth.

With the use of cinemagraphs, Diesel is taking advantage of a relatively new photography technique; in early 2011, Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck were the first photographers to coin and use the ‘cinemagraph’ technique. Diesel’s cinemagraphs will be used throughout stores and on digital billboards this fall.

Why Am I Curious?

I am curious because this is a technique I have never seen before and despite the movement being a subtle one, I cannot help but feel like the model in the image is directly engaging with the audience and commands attention. I am also excited to see that technology is seeping into other formats of advertising – even stills or prints – and that this is giving brands new and exciting opportunities to stand out. I wonder what new ad formats these type of collaborations will lead to in the near future.

adidas Captures Lollapalooza Action With Animated GIF Photo Booth

Via PSFK:

adidas Originals wanted to have a presence at Lollapalooza this month for their new #represent campaign so they reached out to agency Digital Kitchen, who provided their animated GIF photo booth for the event. The ‘Protobooth’ helped connect the event with the social web, with the addition of a site that works across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. Visit adidas.protobooth.dk to see the gallery of animated GIFs from Lollapalooza.

Why I’m curious:

Party photobooths are nothing new, but the party GIF booth is. Adidas takes a classic party favorite and one-ups it, creating a highly sharable, visually engaging medium that can help perpetuate Lolla (and Adidas) long after the event is done. Moreover, at an event like Lolla, you’re catering to tastemakers — people who are inherently interested in self-promotion. Adding the Adidas logo and hashtag those GIFs essentially makes the photographed do the hard part of spreading and sharing your branded content.

Vungle the In-App Video Advertiser

– Jordan

From TechCrunch:

Vungle is a new company that allows mobile app companies a platform to advertise their apps, it does this in a unique way however by creating app segments where a users is shown a 15 second promo of another app and an opportunity to download it. Vungle uses a sort-of in-app ad network to serve of videos and offers developers a simply way to inbed the Vungle code to place within their apps to instantly be part of Vungles’ network.

“The idea is that users will find the video trailers more interesting than a simple banner ad, and will be encouraged to try out the new app or game being advertised. Developers can also opt-in to show these trailers in their apps as another way to monetize their content, even if they’re not participating with ad spend of their own.”

Video

Why I’m curious:

Apps demand a huge part of the market right now and are a place where millions of dollars are spent, but there are difficulties to how you can get your app promoted. A lot of it requires earned media or top placement within the app store, Im curious to see how Vungle does given that they have a unique solution to this app ad problem.

Discover All Klondike Has to Offer by Destroying All It Has to Offer

– Jordan

From Creativity

To promote Klondike’s Choco Tacos (newly available in the freezer aisle, rather than just via ice cream trucks and convenience stations ), the VIA agency created the ‘flavor chamber‘ on Klondike’s website, where visitors are able to destroy either Klondike Bars or Choco Tacos and see what’s inside them. You can choose from weapons such as a baseball bat, a guitar or a pouncing kitten to smash the treat and find out exactly what it’s made of. Of course, you can share the result on Facebook.

*Must check out the chainsaw

Why I’m curious:

I am sure that most of us do not know Klondikes entire line-up of chocolate treats, so Klondike has made it awesome to discover all of its goodies by allowing you to watch slowmotion videos of them being destroyed. I thought it was a very clever way to get people to see up-close video of all their product offerings while genuinely having a great time doing it.

Amazing copy: “Do not attempt to recreate this video, you are only qualified to destroy Klondike bars with your mouth.”

Hugvie Enhances Your Phone Conversations With Hugs

Telepresence robots have already appeared on our virtual pages on several occasions before, but typically they’ve focused on commercial and industrial purposes. The Hugvie, on the other hand, is an uncharacteristically soft, cuddly creation that’s designed to give consumers a more complex feeling of interaction with those they speak to by phone.

The brainchild of Japan’s Osaka University and Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR), the Hugvie is designed with a minimalistic, child-sized human form that could be associated with either gender. Featuring a pocket into which the user’s cell phone can be inserted, the huggable device includes also a microcontroller and vibrators that are designed to match the characteristics of the caller’s voice, according to a report on DigInfo. The vibrators pulse at the same rate as an average human heartbeat with the aim of making the robot more human and tactile-friendly, and the vibrations can become harder or faster depending on the tone of the caller’s voice. The video below demonstrates the Hugvie in action:

Why I’m curious:

It is often said that the technology of smartphones and tablets is an extension of oneself. The Hugvie attempts to bridge the real intimacy of our relationships with controls and haptic feedback that matches the patterns of our communication. Much like seeing a person a smile, receiving a firm handshake, feeling a heartbeat, you feel more connected with some form of sensorial touch and feedback. Among a number of apps that seek to create a deeper and more intimate connection, the Hugvie is another example that supports the emerging trend in innovation and design that makes a technology experience more human.

Snapchat Self-Destructs Incriminating Picture Messages


You just have to send a friend that embarrassing picture, but you don’t want them to be able to keep it. What to do?! Use Snapchat, the app that allows users to turn a timer on photos to limit friend’s access to them.

Snapchat allows users to set a timer up to 10 seconds of when the message would self-destruct after being received. If the receiver tries to take a screenshot, then the sender will be instantly notified. (via PSFK)

Why I’m Curious

The Atlantic had a really great article in regards to Snapchat, and what the author sees as a “a silly entry in a burgeoning genre: products that harness the power not of memory, but of forgetting.” She sees the Internet as something as goes against all things naturally human – we exist in cycles with limited memory, while the Internet is always on and always remembering.

Up until now, the default setting for the Internet is “save.” And the infinite space affords us the option to save everything – from Gmail accounts saving every chat to Facebook keeping all your memories neatly organized on the Timeline. But it seems quite nice to be able to send a picture without worrying about a friend using it as blackmail in the future. And in that respect, Snapchat should really market to celebrities (Rihanna could really benefit…though that would really cut down on all the fun for everyone watching).

Zombie run — Turns Your Exercise Routine into a Zombie Game

 

Zombie run is a narrated app that creates an ultra immersive running experience by using sound to transport runner to a post apocalyptic world, where they are tasked to collect critical supplies while trying to avoid hordes of zombies. “When you’re out running, you’ll occasionally get chased by zombies and you’ll need to speed up in response over the next minute,” said the app’s co-creator Adrian Hon. The story, performed by professional actors, plays out in one to two minute acts interspersed between the music runners already have on their devices. As players progress throughout the game, they start uncovering the mystery of how this futuristic world came to be filled with zombies.The great thing about this app is that the gaming experience doesn’t end when users get home after their run –  they can continue the game and figure out how to use the supplies they collected.

Why I’m curious:

While apps that provide badges or points for running are motivating, they lack the engagement factor that many runners need. They don’t make the act of running anymore fun. I dig the engagement and low entry barries of this app. I also think the notion of building narrative story in a real-world context provides a huge potential of leveraging gaming factor in a more engaging way with simple mobile technology to increase consumer’s online and offline experience.

Super supermarket scanner sweep!

Ever been in the checkout line with a pile of produce, only to discover out of the 8 organic heirloom apples you chose, absolutely zero of them have the scanner sticker attached? As the cashier pages the grocery manager to get a sticker read, the line grows longer, and your 5-minute stop to snag a few things is now an Official Ordeal.

Toshiba recognizes your pain. So much, in fact, the company’s been working on a new type of grocery scanner that can predict what you’re buying. Yes, you read that correctly. Via a small camera, computers are being trained to recognize small differences in patterns and size so that the barcode will no longer be necessary on products.

Watch the video for a more in-depth explanation: 

Why I’m Curious

How accurate will this technology be? Joe and I noticed nothing in bags was being scanned, so we were wondering how the system would read bags. And will this really be any quicker than punching in a key code?

Napkin labs turns your Facebook fans into collaborators

Napkin labs is a company that makes interactive marketing apps for Facebook. Their core product is a suite of four customized apps that turns fans into collaborators. “Brainstorm” is a basic crowdsourcing platform that lets brands ask their community questions and reward the best answer. “Photoboard” is more of a Facebok app of Pinterest that lets fans share inspiring pictures with the community. “Pipeline” turns Facebook pages into open forums where fans can share their suggestions about the brand. And “Superfans” shows fans who participates the most in campaigns, then rewards them.

Why I’m curious:

Dominos adopted its “Brainstorm” app and added 1 million new fans in just 30 days after launching the Think Oven, a page where their consumers can submit ideas on specific questions the company posted. Crowdsourcing is nothing new, but the notion of turning brand’s Facebook page into something more interactive is challenging and interesting. Domino’s campaign in strategically turning their Facebook page into a crowdsourcing platform, asking their fans for help to improve product quality is another interesting example of brand’s trying to be transparent and more human beings.

Will Books Be The Next Social Media Platform?

– Janice

A good way to know the future is to look at what younger generations take as given. Recent surveys indicate that many young people avoid reading e-books because they are not yet part of a larger social network, but that may soon change, says technology writer Clive Thompson. “Every form of media has migrated online and benefited from conversation. The newspaper is broken into articles that get blogged and get turned into conversations.” Often times, he says, the most interesting part of an idea, written in article form, is the discussion that surrounds it on the Internet and not the article itself.

There have already been attempts at making books more friendly to social media, such as Findings, a service which shares highlights passages of popular books, or Amazon’s attempts to involve authors in Q & A sessions through the Kindle.

“Books are going to provoke the best conversations because people think really deeply about them,” says Thompson. “And people bring a certain level of intellectual seriousness to them that they don’t even necessarily bring to newspapers.”

But all attempts to socialize books have mostly fallen on deaf ears. Is that because reading books is an inherently private activity?

Why I’m curious:

Big Think has raised some interesting points. In the last couple of years, a number of book reading social networking sites have been popping up on the Internet, on our Facebook pages, and are even available as an app. Goodreads is a community site that allows readers to rate and discover new books. Users a build a profile of book knowledge, such as books they’re read, books they want to read, book reviews, and share it with friends. Goodreads also uses Facebook’s Open Graph to push notifications and updates to your feed. Findings is a community that allows readers to find, share, and highlight passages of ebooks and web content.

For some, book reading is a purely private, one-on-one experience. You want to curl up and dive right into the story, sometimes it take some effort to block any distractions, and just focus on the passages. And as readers go deeper into the plot, characters start to develop, and they start to delight us, anger us, or puzzle us. As we finish a story, I think it’s natural for people to want to share their thoughts and and reflect on the impact of the story, what they thought of the ending. Some want to connect and exchange theories on ‘what happened’?

Book reading and sharing is indeed a social experience. Remember the book clubs and book reviews that consisted of sharing a single passage and your reaction? These activities might resonate better with the generation of yesteryear, but these human behaviors are still relevant. I’m curious to see which emerging social platforms will develop and capitalize on how we are reading and sharing.

PayWith Square & the Disappearance of Technology

– Jordan

PayWith Square is a easy way to pay for anyone with a smartphone. The app uses geo-location to identify if a user is close to a participating merchant, once near they can “open a tab.” From there they can simply tell the merchant to put the bill under their name and leave the store. The app works seamlessly with Square merchant applications and Square credit card device to quickly and easily charge consumers.

Why I’m curious:

I believe that this technology is a great example of how complex systems (banks, software, devices and authentication) are disappearing from users eyes. This is similar to the recent example of an ATM in Japan that gives you cash by authenticating who you are by scanning your hand. (See here) The bigger idea that makes me curious is how our future world will look like, the complex computing systems will get smaller and less intrusive, allowing us to experience more with less interference.