SoulCycle for Homeless People

CitiBike has been in New York for almost a month, and we’ve covered everything from the website to the app and even bike accessory vending machines. Every now and then passing by CitiBike stations I see people using them as stationary bikes. Why not take it a step further with free SoulCycle classes?

From Gothamist,

TV personality and wrapper “The Fat Jew” has decided to do just that. He was seen near Thompson Square Park teaching a class that “is too expensive and it’s not available to everybody.”

Not only is the video hilarious, but celebrities and SoulCycle were quick to join in on the fun.

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Why I’m Curious 

It’s always interesting and fascinating to watch something go viral. While this video is really only relevant to New York residents (and maybe LA who also has SoulCycle) it caught on instantly because if you like indoor cycling, there’s a good chance at least a few of your friends do, so why wouldn’t you send it to them? I was waiting to see if SoulCycle was going to address then, and understood if they wanted to steer clear of admitting to their high prices and poke fun at the homeless, but they did nod to the video without promoting it.


YouTube Trends Map Shows What is Going Viral Across the U.S.

YouTube has unveiled a new Trends Map for viewers that shows what videos are popular in different parts of the country. Currently only available for the U.S., this interactive map  allows users to see what different groups of people are watching and helps them discover relevant videos and channels.


The Trends Map can be customized by market, gender, age group and type of activity (shares or views). It is interactive as well, enabling viewers to not only see what’s trending where, but also watch the videos.

 Why Am I Curious?

While most brands at one point or another want to create a video that goes viral, it is important to realize that a video may not go universally viral and this emphasizes the importance of knowing the target and what makes them tick.This is a good tool to understand for different audiences which videos are getting attention and shares for marketers. However, this tool also puts more pressure on us as many users can use this tool as a video discovery engine and this increases the importance of be a part of it to be a easily discoverable.

Visualizing Viral

Microsoft unveils new tool, called ViralSearch, that allows users to visualize “viral” with an unprecedented level of granularity. The tool, which is currently unavailable to the public, works by breaking down individual story-sharing threads into a branching tree – More traditional “broadcast” style stories will appear funnel-like in form, with one centralized source sharing out to a network of direct followers, whereas those stories that are more viral will assume the form of a complex network of neurons with branches upon branches of shares.

Why I’m Curious?

Data visualizing technology like this is on its way to becoming widely available – Companies like Chartbeat are working on tools that render these visualizations in real-time. How will this impact how agencies approach content distribution? Will agencies/advertisers assume roles similar to publishers?…Promoting and shifting around pieces of content based on real-time viral performance metrics?

Will Tweet for Rides


In Amsterdam and London, Nissan assembled a branded fleet of their zero-emission LEAF cars driven by professional taxi drivers to promote the electronic cars and its ability to offer cheaper rides in comparison to gasoline powered cars.

Nissan offered passengers free taxi rides in exchange for a tweet containing a branded hashtag, #6XCHEAPER, and their destination.

From PSFK,

The ‘#6XCHEAPER’ tag emphasises that fuelling an electric vehicle is six times cheaper than a similar sized petrol car. The goal was to show how that cost savings might translate to cheaper taxi fares. Each of the LEAF taxis displayed exterior graphics showing the reduced fares to popular destinations. The events also gave Nissan a chance to evaluate the LEAF for potential use as a fleet vehicle for taxi liveries.

Why I’m Curious

I think the best stunt campaigns include a social component, in particular, requiring a social action for something that has monetary value. Between mentions on Twitter, industry coverage and larger press hits in England, there was comprehensive pick up of the event.

Nissan used the event as not only a way to showcase it’s new car, but also a way to educate a consumer. Each passenger left the car knowing how much cheaper the ride was in comparison to traditional gasoline cars.

It’ll be interesting to see if the LEAF vehicle actually gets picked up in England for taxis.

Chevy Sonic: Perhaps the best car ad I’ve ever seen

What’s the best way to endorse a product? Put it in a music video by OK Go.  The four man rock group known for their quirky music and creative low budget videos, including the internet favorite and treadmill inspired, “Here It Goes Again,”  and the Google chrome music video collaboration “All is Not Lost,” recently teamed up with Chevrolet to create a video for the song “Needing Getting,” and featuring the new Chevy Sonic. In the video, there are over 1000 instruments set up along a short course, all set up with precision to play the tune while Damian sings.

Why I’m Curious

I’m always interested to see how brands approach product placement in entertainment and media — it can be very effective because instead of advertising itself, the brand is endorsed through  integration within the narrative. With over 11million views since the video was posted on Youtube, Jan 5th, Chevrolet has already gotten a lot of attention through the collaboration. Feeling pretty smug about themselves, Chevy even highlighted their appearance in the music video in a TV spot that aired during the Super Bowl.

Walmart’s Animated Fruitcake is no Elf Youself


From PSFK:

Walmart has launched a new social media brand personality, a talking holiday fruitcake. The Internet meme is a series of viral YouTube videos and a character that can be uploaded to your Facebook page to give running commentary. Frank The Fruitcake is cast as a deliberately obnoxious, under-appreciated yuletide character, much like an unwanted relative during the holiday season. To activate, users upload Frank to their Walls via Frankthefruitcake.comand then unwrap him from his packaging. Humorously, when you try to send him away, the character starts singing ad nauseam.

Frank the Fruitcake was developed by the Virginia-based team, The Martin Agency.

Why I’m curious:
Walmart attempting to make a humorous viral video? With minimal Walmart branding and isn’t connected to a larger campaign? Launched 3 days ago with fewer than 300 views, the video still has yet to show it will be even close to the next iteration of OfficeMax’s “Elf Yourself.” This also lacks the personalization (which is also seen in Take This Lollipop, Intel’s Museum of Me, and other recent social hits). This may speak more to relevance than anything else — these days, the consumer is not interested in sharing unless it’s either (a) super interesting, or (b) personalized (which inherently makes it super interesting to the narcissistic user).

Retail Store Asks The Internet To Rob It

To promote their home cinema solutions, Pause Swedish electronics retailer created a movie trailer called Heist. The trailer invites viewers to break in to their stores and steal an LED television worth $5,700 dollars.

On November 10th after the store’s closing, online viewers will be tasked with deactivating the store’s security system and actually break in. But it’s not a one-burglar job–you’ll need to tag team with a buddy in order to crack the code.

In order to enter the store, and, as copywriter Joakim Labraaten puts it, make some “Tom Cruise-moves,” you’ll need the assistance of a partner at a computer to help you shut the security system down and crack codes along the way. The contest begins November 10th, after Pause shuts down for the evening, and then ends when an LED television set is finally removed from the store.

But even those who don’t get away with a new set enjoy some benefits. Those who crack the door code get a 10% discount off Pause products, those who get past the motion detector get 20% off and if you actually make it into the showroom with the TV, you get a 30% markdown off goods.


Why I’m Curious:

By turning their retail environment in to an entertainment experience, Pause is able to promote their specialty- home entertainment- and provide value to viewers. This way, it connect the online world with their physical store.

It accurately targets their tech-loving target by giving them a challenge that appeals to their unique interest- hacking- and encourages sharing by making the heist a team effort. Finally, it directly rewards all the people who decide to engage with the heist through discounts or an actual physical good.

Snail Mail My Email



– Sarah

Snail Mail My Email is a month-long project headed by over 220 volunteers around the world, wherein anyone (yes, anyone!) can email a letter to, and one of the volunteers will turn it into a hand-written letter that will be mailed to the recipient of your choice. And it’s free. No postage, nothing. (But you can donate, too, to help with costs.)

In order to participate, you do need to agree to the potential that your letter may appear online, but last names and addresses will be censored. SMME has a map on their site to track where letters have been sent, as well as a Flickr page set up, so you can see some of the letters that have come through.

Why I’m Curious

I love mail. Letters, postcards, random ephemera. And I don’t get it as often as I imagine I would like. But when I do, it’s lovely. Time and effort go into writing a real letter on paper. Email is quick, and can take effort, too, but I want the physical. And I like that a collective of people are going out of their way to write letters, and not charging a dime for it. I’m inspired to go on and write one now…

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.

The World’s Most Exclusive Website (dot com)

— Jocelyn

Apply velvet rope theory to the Internet, and you’ve got TheWorld’, a site that only allows you to get from screen to screen if you have a certain number of Twitter followers.

When you go to the site, there’s a picture of a VIP club door. To enter, you must sign in to Twitter and have a verified account. If you don’t, you’re redirected to the Olive Garden site with a dismissive/hilarious message.

Behind the velvet rope:

Front Door: Verified Twitter
Door 2: 5,000 Followers (@JonahPeretti, @BuzzFeed, @PrinceAmukamara)
Door 3: 25,000 Followers (@PopEater, @DanZarrella, @HarvardUniversity)
Door 4: 100,000 Followers (@ChristianSiriano, @RyanHiga, @GuillermoCatalano)
Door 5: 500,000 Followers (@GeorgeLopez, @RyanSeacrest)
Door 6: 1,000,000 Followers (@RyanSeacrest)
Door 7:5,000,000 Followers (EMPTY)

Click here to see all the rooms.

The site was conceived by Jeff Greenspan (Creative Director at BBDO), writer/designer Mike Lacher (who created the Geocities-izer) and writer/technologist Chris Baker.

Why I’m curious:

Whether it’s an art-prank or a brilliant marketing ploy, it had influential celebs like Ryan Seacrest tweeting about it and Mashable, PSFK and Business Insider writing about it.

Also, this must be some of the best free advertising the Olive Garden has ever gotten.

But it says a lot about the public’s interest/curiosity in belonging to an exclusive club. By making it less accessible, it gets even more traffic. And by tailoring the golden key to Twitter — a site where it’s all about someone’s follower number, Klout score and social influence — it’s a good lesson for marketers: make it hard, the big fish will come first, and the small fish will follow suit.

Transmedia Storytelling: Petite Lap Giraffe’s Viral Success

– Kate

The latest addition to the DirecTV humorous series of “Russian” ads featuring the character “Gregor” recently aired on television. The campaign, which has been running since 2010, gained attention with viewers most notably for the “Petite Lap Giraffe” character, an extremely cute miniature-sized giraffe with human qualities such as blowing kisses and walking on treadmills. The mini giraffe, which appears alongside the main character “Gregor” in the TV spots has been so successful in capturing the imagination of viewers, that the idea was extended to a fictional website for “Sokoblovsky Farms: The best and only breeders of Petite Lap Giraffes.”

The website features a “live camera feed” of the Sokoblovsky Farm on the homepage, which shows a tiny giraffe grazing and coming in and out of frame. Nowhere on the site does it point out that these animals are not real, in fact, many people are blogging about it with titles like “Petite Lap Giraffes, are they real?”  To add on to the curiosity, you can put yourself on a waiting list to receive one. So far there are more than half a million people “on the list” (activated by clicking on the “I Want Giraffe”), so this campaign is seeing some good results. It seems however, that they could have capitalized on the popularity of the “Petite Lap Giraffe ”even more to drive further engagement with fans via social and emerging channels.
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Watch an ad on TV, get a free Pepsi


The concept: TV Check-in App IntoNow Downloads Coupon to Phone in Exchange for Watching

Here is how it works: Consumers download the iPhone check-in app IntoNow and hit it while the commercial plays on TV. Audio-fingerprinting technology then recognizes the ad and a coupon gets downloaded to your phone for a free 20-ounce bottle of Pepsi Max.

The technology knows not only what consumers are watching, but also if they’re watching it live or delayed on a DVR or some other kind of recording device. It will even work on the YouTube clip of the ad (so go ahead and give it a whirl).

That transaction then gets shared out to the user’s connections on the social TV app, as well as to Facebook and Twitter.

IntoNow has an audience already tagging TV shows — 3million tags and 600,000 downloads since the app was launched in January.

IntoNow is not the first to give consumers a reason to check in to TV commercials. Shazam, the original audio-tagging service for the iPhone, powered a giveaway where the first 1,000 users that tagged an original song during an Old Navy TV ad got a free pair of jeans. The music video spent several weeks on Ad Age’s Viral Video Chart due to its popularity on the web.

Case Study: Pepsi has agreed to honor as many as 50,000 such coupons as an experiment in both driving trial of Pepsi Max, as well as the potential for interactive TV ads – The Pepsi Max spot features a “Field of Dreams” theme and many major league baseball players past and present. The spot, already on YouTube, will air during MLB games and through the end of the year.

Why I’m Curious:

Interesting way to engage passive TV watchers, evaluate effectiveness of creative and leverage mobile technology to drive trial.

This iteration asks a lot of consumers, and is a bit clunky.  But it will be interesting to see how this trend evolves as QR code readers and other Near Field Communication tools are integrated into standard mobile OS, eliminating the need for consumers to download apps in order to interact with branded content.

What makes it viral, really.

– Emily Y.

Can a man with a tiny electronic device hack into the multitude of jumbo screens in Times Square and play videos from his iPhone?

Why I’m Curious:

The New York Times article discusses the origin from the above youtube video, touts its success and re-emphasizes the unique ways social media/viral nature can be used to advertise without slamming product messages in peoples’ faces.

The multitudes who have seen the video have become swept up in an intense debate around one question: is it real? Well, it’s a fake. And the reaction is exactly what James Percelay and Michael Krivicka wanted when they produced the video as part of a promotion for the soon-to-be-released film “Limitlessin which a man is able to use all of his brain capacity with the help of a pill called NZT”.