a teaser for a trailer for an ad

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

Teaser below:

 

Why I’m Curious?

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

Intoxication Nation

From Thirillist:

The Blowfish that’s not associated with Hootie is an over-the-counter hangover remedy (that at least one of our editors is legitimately addicted to). So naturally they want people to get, like, mad hungover.

They apparently also want to pit the 50 US states against each other in a hangover death match, and so compiled tons of cool stats on drinking in America, which they distilled into a slick set of interactive drinking maps that let you know exactly how your home state parties.

The first tab on the Intoxication Nation page shows you  a bunch of tweets in real time from people who are #drinking – the second tab is dedicated to the hashtag #hangover.

Click me to see more!

Intox

Why I’m Curious

This is an interesting branded experience that people want to engage with. It’s interactive, it shows stats in infographic form, taps into the competitive nature of the audience and integrates seamlessly with real-time social sharing. Are more brands going to be looking to use cases such as this to see how they can better engage their audience with lightly branded, interactive pieces that really make people want to engage? As a marketer, I sure hope so!

Faces of Facebook Aggregates 1.2 Billion User Profiles

Ever wonder where you fall amidst Facebook’s 1.2 Billion Users?   I was actually the 2,551,647th person to join the social network.  I found this out using Faces of Facebook, a website built by a freelance technologist that catalogs and arranges user profiles chronologically.

http://www.thefacesoffacebook.com/

Via Mashable:

Got some time on your hands? You can spend 36 years scrolling through Faces of Facebook.

The site, created by freelance technologist Natalia Rojas, aggregates all 1.2 billion or so Facebook profile photos and claims to arrange them chronologically, starting with Mark Zuckerberg.

You can also log in to see where you fit into the picture. (The author of this story, who joined Facebook in 2008, was No. 249,759,340, but an unscientific analysis by Mashable employees suggests the numerical rankings may not be accurate.)

On her site, Rojas offers the following explanation:

Because there we are, all mixed up: large families, women wearing burkas, many Leo Messis, people supporting same-sex marriages or r4bia, chihuahuas, Indian gods, tourists pushing the Leaning Tower of Pisa, selfies, newborns, Ferraris, studio black and white portraits, lots of weddings but zero divorces, ID photos, faces framed in hearts, best friends, manga characters, political logos, deep looks, love messages, eyes memes, smiles, sweet grandparents and some not-yet-censured pictures.

 

Why I’m Curious:

I think this is a really interesting use of data. 

 

Butter For Paula

According to the "Butter For Paula" website, "Paula Deen has become a part of our families… and families stick together."

 

Following the unfortunate realization that celebrity Chef Paula Deen has used racial slurs in the past and as a result of public backlash, many of Deen’s partners have cut ties with the Food Network Star. But a campaign has emerged to save the star, Butter Wrappers for Paula Deen.

 

Despite soaring sales after the news broke that Deen had used racial slurs in the past and wanted a “traditional plantation style wedding,”  Random House dropped her book deal. Food Network, the foundation of Paula Deen’s fame and the platform that made her a household name also dropped the contract, which was up for renewal.

But despite all the backlash and the business decisions to stop doing business with someone who appears to be a bigot—regardless of whether she actually is or not—a campaign has developed to support the sweet Southern grandma.

Butterforpaula.org was started by John Schmitt, a hotel auditor in Indianapolis. He also started the We Support Paula Deen Facebook Page. The Butter For Paula campaign relies on the idea that “a company without butter is like a wrapper without butter.” It asks fans to send butter wrappers with notes to these companies asking for support of Paula.

The Facebook page celebrates UGC content, encourages involvement in many of Deen’s initiatives, including a charity called the Bag Lady Foundation.

Photo: Thank you everyone who's purchased Paula Deen products at the Stiches 'n Dishes store! Every dollar from the proceeds is being donated to The Bag Lady Foundation. Keep purchasing Paula Deen products at http://stitchesndishes.com/shop-snd-2/

 

Why I’m Curious

This is an example of the power of fandoms that can only be created through compelling stories or personalities. Fandoms remain extremely loyal, even in times of bad. Think about the fandom that got the Veronica Mars movie funded in a matter of days too. Here a fandom rallies with real UGC content that takes actual effort to rally behind Deen’s brand. In advertising, we try to find commonalities with our loyalists, but it’s difficult to build the same kind of love and connection with a brand. Brands need to study how and why fandoms get so passionate about characters and what motivates them to create original content around them.

Dos Equis Moves the Celebration of Cinco De Mayo to May 2nd (Dos De Mayo)

– Jordan

Dos Equis anticipates the upcoming celebration of Cinco de Mayo and the fact that it is falling on a Sunday when bars in a lot of cities are closed or less busy than usual. In an effort to ensure strong sales this year they are encouraging people to celebrate on the 2nd of May for Dos de Mayo.

From Contagious:

Mexican beer bumps up holiday to ensure open bars and beer stores

With Cinco de Mayo falling on a Sunday this year – not traditionally a great day for beer sales – Mexican beer brand Dos Equis has decided to take matters into its own hands. Working with Euro RSCG, the brew brand is suggesting a change from ‘el cinco’ of May to, appropriately, ‘el dos’. Instead of the traditional celebration on the fifth, the brand is suggesting that people celebrate a few days early, on the second.

On the Dos de Mayo microsite, Dos Equis encourages drinkers to mobilise their friends via social media and get the party started on Thursday, not Sunday. ‘Sunday does not work for me,’ explained the Dos Equis spokesperson known as The Most Interesting Man In The World. ‘I teach a rattlesnake-charming class early on Monday and if the snakes are not solid with sleep for eight hours, pfft, no good.’

The campaign microsite includes a bar locator that will pinpoint bars serving Dos Equis near your location, along with recipes for food and drinks, and ten recommended new bands for your listening pleasure. Dos Equis has also created a Facebook tool so people can invite their friends to a Dos de Mayo party. In the 30 days before the holiday, the brand will be updating its site with recipes and ‘fiesta tips’ that it promises will ‘make your Dos de Mayo event more interesting.’

The beer brand has also partnered with Maxim magazine to throw a Dos de Mayo party. People can enter a draw to win a trip to the Dos de Mayo festivities in Los Angeles on 2 May.

Why I’m curious:

Granted there are some fans of Dos Equis most interesting man in the world but will people really be willing to change a holiday because he says so? With very little reasoning behind why the move should take place I am curious to see how much movement this nudge to celebrate Dos de Mayo will actually create. Currently the video’s popularity on the brand’s Facebook page is not moving the interest meter much at all, but maybe that will change as the holiday draws closers.

Meet WunWun, A Personal Assistant App That’s Actually Personal

From Fast Company:

According to Lee Hnetinka, the 25-year-old founder of a new iPhone app called WunWun, the very idea of replacing the personal assistant using the Internet is wrongheaded. WunWun, which stands for “what you need, when you need it,” does something very different. It gives iPhone users access to a network of live dispatchers and super-local “helpers” that can perform nearly any task imaginable (within legal bounds). “The state of the web right now is search-and-sift,” he says “Our big idea is to create local, on-demand networks that generate an array of information that you could never find using Google.”

WunWun offers a couple of different things. You can ask for a delivery of almost anything (a cake, an iPhone charger, a pack of gum) and pay a flat $15 delivery fee. Or, you can request a service (walk my dog, unclog the toilet, or as one user requested, drive to Ikea and pick up some Swedish meatballs). That costs $2 for every five minutes. Lastly, you can ask for advice (where should I take my date?), which is totally free. It’s a bit like on-demand car service Uber, but with a vastly broader array of services.

Once you make your request, a dispatcher assigns it to one of WunWun’s growing ranks of “helpers.” These are students, freelancers, even retirees who’ve been background checked and trained to respond to requests around them. “Your helper could be your neighbor, for all you know,” Hnetinka says. “They aren’t just going to Google or Yelp your request.” The helpers make $10 for every $15 you pay for a deliver–not a bad rate, considering it’s a side job for most of WunWun’s fast-growing pool. Eventually, the company hopes to have one helper for every three blocks in the city. “Our best use case came up a few weeks ago,” he says. “This guy was in Punta Cana, and he left a special camera charger at home. His helper met the doorman and FedEx-ed it overnight. We didn’t set out to disrupt the messenger industry, but that’s what’s happening.”

WATCH THE VIDEO

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Why I’m Curious:

As Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan writes, “In a way, WunWun is doing for the service industry what cloud computing did for storage. By pooling small contributions from a large group of helpers, they’re making it possible to request help that’s tailored to you, for less money and less waiting time.” Right now, the app is only available in New York City, but it will be interesting to see this expanded to smaller markets. 

 

Vine: Twitter’s Simple Video-sharing App

On Thursday, Twitter introduced a new feature: video-sharing. The function comes from an app called Vine, that allows you to share six-second looping video creations with your friends on social networks.

It’s apparently quite easy to use, here’s what the folks at Wired had to say: Instead of the standard video-sharing experience, you record videos by holding your finger on the screen. By lifting your finger, you can momentarily pause the recording, making it possible to create a miniature narrative out of multiple scenes. The app does all the stitching automatically for you, editing together a six-second movie with a series of jump cuts. The results often end up looking more like an animated GIF with audio than traditional, single-shot videos you see shared on apps like Viddy or Socialcam.Once you’re in the app, you see a home screen with a scrollable list of Vine creations. Assuming you don’t have any followers when you sign up, you’ll get a list of Editor’s Picks. You can also find other Vine videos through the Explore tab, which brings you lists of Editor’s Picks, Popular Now, All Posts, and various hashtags like #food, #howto, and #firstpost. Start poking around the Explore tab and you’ll find some pretty amazing Vine videos — everything from stop-motion animations to quick run-throughs of how to make coffee.

Why I’m Curious

Twitter started off as a strictly 140-character platform, but over time we’ve seen it move to include ways to embed (and now take/filter) photos, video, news links, and now your own pieces of video. I think it’s an interesting reflection of how the platform has evolved overtime with the way it’s users actually use the platform.

While Vine is still a little buggy, it’s a very interested development for social media. Video offers much more context and detail than an Instagram snap or a few words about an article you read. It will be interesting to see how users adapt the new tool (and its constraints) to start doing some creative things.

Facebook Graph Search: Is it a potential Google Killer?

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For years Google has ruled the search landscape and for very good reason: no product has arguably come close to the quality of theirs.

Even today they still command 86% of US and 88% of global search traffic.

Is Facebook Search a threat to Google in the long run?

Google has for a long time lusted after the personal data that Facebook has on individuals, interests and interactions. They have the scars to prove it.

Google are masters of connecting people to bits of “information” from locations, businesses, fact and fiction.

Facebook could much easily create (or acquire – they are after all connected to *sigh* Microsoft) this same “information” and when combined on their platform with the personal information it could potentially provide not just a one-stop-shop but a far more intuitive and intelligent search platform, which could severely hit Google’s traffic.

Why I’m curious?

This just reinforces that digital is an always evolving and (at times) brutally competitive all-in brawl.

It doesn’t matter if you are a small fish or one of the giants like Apple, Google or Microsoft.

You either innovate or die.

Renaissance Navigator

Marriott’s Renaissance Hotels are doing away with the traditional concierge in favor of a more web-savvy substitute. Launched last May, the Navigator program aims to take concierge services social.

At the core of the program is a network of brand-ambassadors (i.e. “Navigators”) who curate crowd-sourced local tips (submitted via Instagram and/or an #RDiscovery hashtag) on food/drink, entertainment, shopping, etc. The program replaces the stodgy concierge’s counter with a comfortably appointed desk at which you can speak with the hotel’s Navigator – Tips can also be accessed online or through the mobile app.

The program is supported by a site re-design, global digital and print, as well as limited promotions on app downloads.

Why I’m Curious?

Upon first reading about this initiative, I asked myself why not simply integrate Yelp into their existing concierge services…?

Functionally, this would offer customers more or less the same thing – Crowdsourced, local recommendations filtered through the discerning tastes of a Marriott Renaissance employee.

In owning the initiative from the ground-up, the brand is committing itself in a way that a younger, edgier target audience respects. Navigators offer up tips and perspectives that are, on all levels, products of the brand’s own cultural awareness, local knowledge, and taste, rather than in some way qualified by another brand’s involvement.

While the program, and the hip/tastemaker perception it seems aimed at cultivating, ultimately relies on the quality of the recommendations, it’s refreshing to see an established brand like Marriott make such a bold move.

‘Gangnam Style’ Hits 1 Billion Views on YouTube

From Mashable:

It’s official: Psy’s “Gangnam Style” is the first video ever to hit a billion views on YouTube.

For most mortals on video sharing networks, hitting the 1 million views milestone is a feat. For Psy’s dance hymn, which was uploaded to YouTube on July 15, millions of views are racking up every hour. It took approximately three hours for the video to go from 995 million to a billion.

An animated dancing Psy now appears next to the video’s view counter:

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“Psy’s success is a great testament to the universal appeal of catchy music — and er, great equine dance moves,” Kevin Allocca, YouTube trends manager, said in a blog post. “In the past, music distribution was mostly regional. It was more difficult to learn about great artists from around the world. But with a global platform at their fingertips, people are now discovering and sharing amazing music from all over the planet.”

Why I’m Curious:

As Stan Schroeder at Mashable said, “Some love the song, some hate it, and, by now, many are sick of it. But it captured the essence of pop in the YouTube era: It blended the perfect combination of weirdness, virality, dance moves and catchy melody, and that made it one of the most popular pieces of entertainment in recent times.” And I can’t help but watch the video again myself in awe. 

 

Facebook Collections

Facebook has just introduced a new feature, dubbed “Collections”, that allows brands to add “Want” or “Collect” buttons to news feed posts about products. Users can then save and share products to a “Wishlist” as well as click through to buy the products offsite. Seven retail partners including Pottery Barn, Michael Kors and Victoria’s Secret are currently testing the feature.

Why I’m Curious: This is clearly Facebook’s response to platforms such as Pinterest and TheFancy where users are already curating their wants, inspirations and wish lists. Collections could also help brands make a bigger case for Facebook (i.e: spend more money there) by driving sales and traffic to their .com. While this is clearly the most relevant for product brands, I think it could also have interesting applications for service brands by allowing users to share a vision of retirement or a dream getaway with friends.

Brewster Takes Your Digital Address Book to the Social Side

From Mashable:

an app that takes everyone you know across sites such as Facebook, Twitter and email platforms and creates unique profiles for each person by displaying their contact and social information all in the same view.

The free app allows users easy access to the people they chat with most, while also getting updates via social media sites about things such as who is changing jobs and moving to a new city. Searching for people via the address book can be done by name, city and even interests, including music preferences and favorite sports teams.

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Why I’m Curious:

The average person has over 1,000 people across their networks in various address books and that number is only rising. Despite this, address book “technology” itself has remained painfully stagnant. People increasingly communicate and interact with others on many platforms, and the days of what is essentially a digital Rolodex of names and numbers are clearly at an end. It will be interesting to watch what sort of social and technology driven solutions will be devised to address this challenge.

Tang Makes Riding a Roller Coaster Even More Awesome

-Jordan

From Laughing Squid:

Ad agency Ogilvy in Buenos Aires, Argentina created this commercial where a roller coaster called the “Shaker” blends flavors of the fruit-flavored beverage Tang Re-Mix for thrill-riding children. Since Tang was originally part of an astronaut’s breakfast, this ‘shaking up of the product under extreme circumstances’ almost makes sense.

Why I’m curious:

There is no inherent insight here to this awesome video, expect that Tang has taken thinking outside the box with their brand to a new level. This is a perfect example of what great creative can come out of taking a risk with your brand personality and infusing your brands personality in a new way.

Pinteresting!

Oh man, I’m sorry to bring this upon you guys. Pinterest has been lingering in the background, whispering throughout the trades, but all of a sudden has hit critical mass. And here I am, contributing to the media hysteria. So forgive me, as my loyalties lie with Tumblr.

But, anyways. The point is, Pinterest and TrapIt have now teamed up to create even more visibility around each other. TrapIt [launched in November] is a hyper-version of Google Reader, in the sense that a user selects a topic for TrapIt and TrapIt serves back content around that topic to you. Similar to Pandora, users can “thumbs-up” or “thumbs-down” the content, so the filter evolves to predict what you’ll find interesting, and the filter is always updating, so you get new news, as it happens. And you can always share or save your trapped stories for later.

Here’s where it gets Pinteresting. TrapIt has now evolved to include a “pin” feature with each story so that users can seamlessly pin TrapIt content to Pinterest. So both discovery sites lead to… more discovery.

Why I’m Curious

TrapIt added this feature because, “Pinterest easily sends them 5-6 times the traffic that Tumblr or StumbleUpon does. The company also had users asking them for the ability to easily pin content found on its site, so the feature was a no-brainer, plus the founders are already power users of the site.” Credit to them for acting on insight and integrating a new feature into their site that opens the the door for additional traffic and use. Is this the first integration of pinning on other sites?

Considering this is two discovery sites playing discovery with each other, I can’t help but think about the recent article in the NYT about the death of discovery and the cyberflaneur on the internet. Is discovery online really dying? I’d seem to think not, considering the easy ways of showing and sharing what we like.

On another note, the Rolling Stones have an official Tumblr account.

Share what you love to benefit others.

You’re the interesting one of your group of friends. You’ve got a keen eye for style, or the best books, etc. You’re the go-to for gift ideas. But what do you do with your skill of cultivation? How do you use it for good?

Mulu, a new social sharing site, helps you do just that. Post things that you like, designate a charity, and when someone buys one of your picks, part of the proceeds from your sale goes to the cause of your choice. Of course, a little celebrity certainly doesn’t help in adopting the cause: both Jonathan Franzen and Toni Collette have their own Mulu pages. If you don’t feel like curating your own picks, you can always browse those of others, or ask/answer questions within the community, too.

Why I’m Curious

It’s in beta now, so I’m slightly unclear on some of the inner-workings (guru points?), but I like the overall idea. As the wave of digital continues to evolve into content curation (I think we all sigh and shudder now when we hear Pinterest mentioned, right?), I like the spin on turning expert curation into something with a higher purpose. The site also satisfies the voyeur in us all, especially when it comes to poring over celeb picks. If the site moves out of its infancy, I’ll be interested to see how it might be further integrated with other social networks.

Bringing Online Dating Offline

– Missy

For years, online socializing and dating has become the norm, which has led to a backlash among some people who want to talk to someone or meet someone the old fashioned way: face to face.

A new online dating site has been created for exactly those people. It’s called How About We and it breaks the conventions set by E-Harmony, Match, and J-date, in which you browse people’s profiles to find a compatible fit, and get to know them by striking up an IM conversation.

On HowAboutWe.com, you post a date idea, and someone who’s interested in going on that date with you can respond. The date planning happens online, but the real getting-to-know-you happens on a real, old-fashioned date.

Why I’m curious:

I think this site is an interesting example of bridging the gap between digital and tactile experiences. More and more, people want to use the online space to get offline, as proven by the success of sites like “Meetup.com.” Similarly, some of the best digital ad campaigns revolve around promoting a real life event, contest, or experience.