Kleenex Flu-Prediction Tool

singlenormal_capture

Kleenex has launched a tool that will predict the course of the next cold and flu season.

To access the tool, users visit MyAchoo.com and enter their postal code to get a prediction of how likely their neighbourhood is to get the flu in the next three weeks. The prediction tool is proprietary and compiled using data from the US Centers for Disease Control.

Kleenex will also be using data from the algorithm to plot a route for a promotion and publicity tour across the US. The tour, called Kleenex Checkpoints, will start in Chicago, the worst hit city for winter colds and flus last year.

Why I’m Curious

This is a useful application of big data. Users benefit from the predictive nature of the tool, allowing them to track the cold and flu season, ideally taking more preventive measures (i.e., purchasing Kleenex products). Additionally, Kleenex is benefiting from the data collected in the process, allowing them to better track ROI on those hyper-targeted promotional efforts. It will be interesting to see how accurate the tool is in its predictions, and if this data generates an increase in revenue for the brand.

Introducing HotMalm.com

The always-clever IKEA is at it again. With help of agency Droga5, a “racy” website was launched that shows Ikea’s best-selling MALM bed frame in various compromising positions.

From PSFK,

HotMalm.com is patterned after a typical porn site and features photos with titillating captions like ‘Hot Malm’s Bottom Stuffed,’ ‘Hot Malm From Behind,’ and ‘Big Beautiful Malm Strips Outside.’ The website also organizes Malms in categories such as ‘Big Beautiful Malms,’ ‘Mature Malms,’ and ‘Twin Malms.’ There is also a page where visitors can view a live feed of hot malms.

Although the captions and even the background music are very suggestive, the entire site claims to be safe for work.

hot-malm-1

hot-malm-faux-porn

hot-malm-2

Why I’m Curious

Ikea always has great digital ideas and most serve a purpose for customers. However, even if the main goal of this website is hilarity, it’s succeeding. Some brands try to be risqué and funny, but sometimes at the risk of their objective. I’m curious where the line actually lies or if it’s always going to be a test and learn approach.

Turn your Desk into a Coffee Shop

Introducing Coffitivity, a website that mimics the sounds of a coffee shop, which recent research suggests is just enough to stimulate creativity.

From PSFK,

The website aims to bring the sound of the coffee shop to you, whether that’s at home or in your office. By doing so, you’ll be able to be at your most creative regardless of where you are – no need to drag your laptop down to the local coffee shop everyday of the week at least.

The website is best used for creative tasks that require an element of thinking outside the box. If you’re aim is to focus on something more taxing such as proofreading a paper, or actually doing your taxes – then quieter surroundings are the best way to go.

coffee-shop-chatter-boosts-productivity

Why I’m Curious

I listen to music frequently throughout the day, usually soft enough to hear other’s voices, but loud enough to not be able to follow a conversation, so I was curious to give this a shot. It definitely sounds like a coffee shop, but I also think something about not being at a desk sparks creativity as well.

CitiBike Launches – Getting The Most Out Of NYC

Citi

How’s this for WOW factor? CitiBike has partnered with the City of New York to partner and brand the bike for the launch of the citywide bike sharing program going live this spring. Stations were installed this week in the Meatpacking District along with dozens of other locations in New York City.

To go along with the in-person experience, which is branded and in high-traffic areas, is a new, clean and responsive website, Citi Bike, an upcoming mobile app and a range of other products and services included: riding tips, maps, pricing, events, demos, and eventually open data for anyone to access.

Why I’m Curious:

With over 10,000 followers and fans on Facebook and Twitter as well as the app/website and in-person activation, this was a multi-million dollar campaign and a huge investment in New York – both for New Yorkers and tourists. The emotional payoff will be significant, what will the business payoff be? How much does that matter to Citi or was this also a CSR/sustainability play that they’ll tie into their work with the New York City local government?

Fashion Gets Funny

rachel_comey

Local fashion designer Rachel Comey is turning her website into a giant livestream for New York City’s independent women in comedy. Starting at 4pm and continuing every Thursday for the next three weeks, some of the city’s best comedic talents, including Portlandia’s Carrie Brownstein, This American Life’s Starlee Kine will be performing for an online audience.

Why I’m Curious: A lot of the women who wear Comey’s clothing are women in the arts – so naturally it makes sense to celebrate and align with these women (especially because they have a following). While comedy and fashion don’t often overlap, it’s certainly an activity that one could multitask at (i.e: you can easily listen to stand up/laugh while shopping for clothes).

Movie Trailer Made of GIFs

Even though Vine had a successful launch (even resulting in a short film made out of Vine videos, the GIF continues to grow in popularity, and has recently been used to create a promo for the new movie Stoker.

From PSFK,

Fox Searchlight set up the microsite ‘Letters To India‘ where visitors can check out exclusive shots and animations from the movie.

Each GIF can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, and the site has been updated each week with a new exclusive animation. As these GIFs proved popular, the studio decided to use them to craft a TV spot to celebrate the release of the film on March 1st.

Why I’m Curious

While it’s a cool idea to begin with, I think the real success is how the TV spot came to be. Not only did Fox Searchlight tease animations of the movie over a period of time to gain momentum and satisfy returning visitors, but sharing each GIF on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr results in that much more engagement and awareness. I doubt it would have been made into a TV spot if it lived on a microsite alone. I would assume the virality was a result of the social tie-in.

Although we might not be able to replicate something quite like this for our clients, I think it’s important to remember the importance of social sharing, and how that can impact the success of campaigns.

Hermès Creates Stop-Motion Videos

The French luxury brand Hermès launched its new campaign ‘Vive Le Sport’ (long live sport). To help celebrating the sporting life, Hermès created an interactive website that features stop-motion videos where their accessories and homeware come to life and spend a day in the park.

Hermes Vive Le Sport

From PSFK,

The interactive site lets you click on different activities: you can watch pillows relaxing with pétanque balls, fancy ties acting as croquet hoops, shoes playing leap frog and their famous bags watching tableware play ping-pong. The videos are playful and light, and exude the essence of the brand as confident and quirky.

Why I’m Curious

I really like that despite Hermes being a luxury brand, they were able to create something fun, not stuffy yet still showcased product. I seems like there’s been a consistent trend for brands to start creating personalities that even have human-like qualities. I’m interested to see how much further this goes and hope to create ownable characteristics in social for our clients.

Online Wedding Registry Focuses on Local Stores

From Mashable:

A few years ago, Amada Allen and Robard Williams were planning their wedding and trying to find time to look for the perfect venue and bridal dress. But when it came to figuring out their registry, they found that their options were limited.

“The local shops that we like didn’t have online registries and when we went to the big department stores, we just had a mediocre experience,” Allen told Mashable in an interview.

So in May 2010, Amanda and her husband partnered with web design company Intersect and created NewlyWish, a wedding gift registry service that lets couples create a single gift list from more than 50 handpicked independent shops, brands and artisans across the United States.

The online platform provides a seamless registry creation process by curating items from each shop and offering couples choices that they wouldn’t normally get from large department stores. Couples can choose to add more traditional gifts like kitchen and bath items to their registry, or leisurely gifts that suit their styles like spas, cooking classes or even tickets to a baseball game.

Each registry has a unique URL that couples can share with friends and family. If guests decide not to purchase an item on the registry, they can choose to buy gift certificates that couples can use on the site.

Why Am I Curious?

With the recent focus on Small Business, this immediately got my attention. We all know wedding is big business – over $320B in 2011 alone, and this is such a great way to combine the trend of shopping small and buying artisanal products and the wedding industry together and giving these smaller, local retailers a way into the minds and pockets of the newlyweds and making them a part of the convenience that is the ‘registry’. It is also another example of the small business trend that is predicted to take over in 2013 – which is the rise of digital/tech focused start ups and small businesses to help other small businesses that otherwise cannot necessarily have the resources to get help from bigger data and/or technology providers.

Mevoked – Don’t Just Search the Internet…Feel It

– Jordan

Mevoked allows users to stumble on content from around the Internet based on moods. It is a news aggregator that gives you options for discovering content feelings including sad, surprised, amused, happy, anxious, angry, and disgusted.

With each click of the mouse Mevoked displays content that others have categorized to be the feeling associated with it.

Mevoked | Home

Why I’m curious:

Things that reflect deep emotional responses in people are the ones that go “viral” and spread. These deep emotions stir up things inside us that cause us to take action and create conversation. Many memes and viral videos tap into these emotions and are a big reason why they become popular. I find it interesting to categorize content based on emotion because in a way it would be curating the greatest content online, because the content that each individual considers to be “good” are the ones that effectives stir their emotions.

Uniqlo Introduces the GIF Box

Uniqlo launched their holiday promotion that includes the 2012 Word of the Year, GIF. Visitors enter their email on Uniqlo’s website to open the gift box and view the animation and receive a discount coupon.

Uniqlo GIF

From PSFK,

They can share the cute GIFs (such as a dancing Santa in front of a colorful Uniqo-branded wall) with family and friends via Facebook or Twitter. Mashable reports that most of the coupons are for $5 off any purchase over $50 at Uniqlo.com made before the end of the year. There are one hundred boxes containing a rare GIF and a special coupon that rewards visitors with 100% off everything at Uniqlo, up to $500.

Why I’m Curious

Between the general popularity of the GIF this past year, and their increasing role with brands, I thought this was a fun a quirky way for Uniqlo to end the year and promote their winter clothing. Granted, they now have my email address and I’ll be added to their mailing list, but it’s fun, painless and everyone receives a $5 coupon.

Behavioral story telling integrated with shopping…

A few Curious Fridays ago the topic of selling products within a video experience came up…Here’s a site that hit Europe a few months ago.  It’s interesting because it takes a catalog and combines it with music and a story (through behaviors not spoken word) of the people wearing the clothes.  You can click the clothing people are wearing, pausing the story.  They used to have it so you could seamlessly shop right within the experience, but they now make you click through to their e-commerce website.  Anyways, an interesting evolution of the “J. Peterman Catalog,” except instead of telling the story of clothing items in written word, they are showing it…

Hot sub-culture meets e-commerce:  http://onlybecausewecan.com/

Here’s another somewhat old, but award winning example of sub-culture story-telling (again through behaviors not spoken word): http://origin.grazeourfield.com/asos/urbantour/

The real shopping experience is no longer available, possibly due to to the items no longer being available. Watch the case study video and review the stats when you scroll down.

Here’s an example of a J Peterman catalog posting from the 1960’s:

"Old Skool" J Peterman catalog, telling stories of garments.

“Old Skool” J Peterman catalog, telling stories of garments, back when “telling” was all they could do. Fortunately, we live in an era where we have the opportunity to “show.”

Remember that point, with digital we have the opportunity to show, not just tell.

Wish I was there to talk about this in person!  🙂

– Roshen

Dear AA.com, all of this has happened before, and it will again.

There has been so much talk about the convergence of the “physical” and “virtual” world through digital experiences…a recent example of that is the Burberry example a few weeks ago that brought in similar experiences in to the physical environment of one of their London stores.

However, I thought this sample of convergence was interesting, and almost pleasant to look at, but it comes at it from the opposite direction. It’s a proposed concept for a new AA.com that takes it’s design and experience cues from the “real” world. When it comes to travel, everything you see on here is what you would see when you’re on your journey. Your glasses, luggage tags, your smartphone, and etc…Also, it overall focuses on the concept of a destination, not a emotionless “clean” experience. Continue reading

Weather and Fashion Forecast

By Vicky

Wevther is a new website that shows the weather forecast for New York City as well as what you should wear for the day. The creator of the website found that weather sites would give people data on the temperature and if it may rain or snow, but never gave insight into what people should wear that would keep them warm or cool enough. Now, that problem is solved with Wevther. The recommended clothing of the day come from Svpply.

Why I’m Curious

I have been in situations where I would check the weather and wonder what that really meant in terms of if I should bring a cardigan along or not. With Wevther that problem is solved and it gives fashion forward recommendations for what people can wear. Though Wevther isn’t associated with any brand, I think it would be interesting if this was a brand extension instead of an individual project. Clothing brands could definitely tap into this to recommend what people should wear for the day. It would be even more convenient as a mobile app, so people could check the website for what to wear when they wake up.

Groupon goes IRL with Kiosks

-Kristie

One of the original deal-of-the-day websites, Groupon, is taking to the streets with interactive kiosks in Chicago. Pedestrians have the opportunity to find deals online, on mobile and on the streets.

From PSFK,

Groupon deployed a few multi-touch displays around Chicago. Passerby have access to all the local offers on Groupon Now at the touch of a button. The geo-targeted deals include discounts on food, drinks and entertainment.

Why I’m Curious

Currently, so many stores are seeing a negative impact on their business due to online shopping, and now Groupon is creating their own spin on brick and mortal locations. Groupon is not only one of the original flash sale sites, but also one of the most successful. People would buy everything from groceries to clothes and even laser hair removal, but the thrill has definitely died down.

I’m curious to see if this is just a stunt for Groupon or a way to increase revenue or both.

Ikea Creates and Interactive Page to Battle its Biggest Criticism

– Jordan

From Creativity:

Sure, your counter might be strong. But is it strong enough to withstand a grown man doing splits on it? IKEA and Mother invite you to find out, through an interactive demo site that lets you re-enact a party inside your kitchen, to emphasize the retailer’s 25-year guarantee on its kitchens.

The site, which lives inside the main IKEA U.K. page, features a man who can be dragged left and right so he does performs some pretty snazzily choreographed moves inside the kitchen, showing off features like ‘slam-proof’ drawers and ‘stain-proof’ work surfaces. (Seriously, what kind of party are you going to be throwing?)

Why I’m curious:

One of IKEA’s biggest consumer opinions to overcome is that their product is cheap because it is in fact cheap. In order to overcome this they have seamlessly entertained and engaged the online audience to invite them to educate themselves on IKEA’s rigorous testing methods. I think it is a great example of how advertising meets art and is overall a more effective strategy that helps to change consumer opinions.

“Zed’s dead, baby.”

I’m hoping that a Pulp Fiction quote will make this post feel less morbid.  But, what happens to your digital self when your real-world self passes?  It’s a fair question.  By some estimates, according to an article in The Atlantic, nearly a half a million people with Facebook accounts passed away last year.  Apparently, the government would like people to establish a “Social Media Will”, so that people know what to do with your electronic accounts.

Facebook already has a policy in place to memorialize an account if someone reports that user is deceased, and it’s verified.  But, what about your email account, Pinterest, our blog?  Should these be left open in case you want to send notes from the after-life?  Some say that it’s happened already.

The tricky aspect of an actual will is that it’s a legal document, and apparently becomes public once filed… seriously, nothing’s private any more?  And if you’ve got an average number of password protected accounts, you know that maintaining a legal document with somewhat frequently changing access information is not practical.

Why I’m Curious

With the amount of password protected accounts where we express ourselves through pictures, videos, and other posts, this is going to be an ongoing issue for decades to come.  Does Facebook really want to maintain millions of “Memorial” accounts on their servers?  When does the digital graveyard business get started?  What rights does a person, or their family, have to their digital person once they no longer are a living person?  At some point, wouldn’t it be good to recycle usernames to living people?

Who knows, maybe we should just agree to leave our digital lives up, so that our gravestone QR codes will have a good place to click-through to.

The New Bo.lt

So you may have seen Bo.lt featured on Curious Friday’s before, but since then a few things have changed. Where before it allowed you to alter webpages with your own content, it is now (not surprisingly) a lot more like Pintest.

Mashable had this to say:

“Think of it as a grown-up and glammed-up version of discussion site Reddit, where users post links to stories they’ve seen and liked online. When you “bolt” a page, it is stored on the company’s servers, so that even if the page is later taken down from a site, you still have it.” <– net net, no more pesky 404 Error messages. Hooray.

Why I’m Curious

Yet again awesome images are taking center stage in the social media world. From what I can see of Bo.lt (I’ve just requested an invite to the beta site) the pages are set up a lot like Pintest with visual images attracting followers to click on the links associated. I am interested to see how websites and all social media platforms will continue to use images and video. Will this create a growth in photographers being hired by digital agencies or brands? With more focus on the aesthetics it will be interesting to see what’s next in strategy and planning of campaigns.

Goodsie allows anyone to open their own web-store with a click of a button

– Jordan

Goodsie is an online ecommerce tool that allows anyone (literally anyone) to set up their very own web-store with just a few clicks. The site uses a very intuitive user input/drag and drop style of setting up a website without any knowledge of coding. You are able to customize your site with fonts, colors and logos of your choice and even rearrange your inventory!

Why I’m curious:

There are a few main trends that I see emerging within the digital space and goodsie seems to be incorporating a few of these trends. The first, is the disappearance of the complex pieces of technology. Goodsie allows user to make a complexly coded website without having any knowledge of programming languages – users simply tell technology what they want to do and it is done for them. The second trend that Goodsie incorporates is the ability for anyone to become a retailer – similar to Etsy now anyone who has a good/service can sell that good/service with the rest of the world. Up until now I believe that this was somewhat difficult, but with the increase in digital popularity this opportunity is open to nearly anyone at a very low cost.

I am overall curious about the effects that both these trends wil have on the world over time. We can already begin to see the de-structuring of giant corporations, we are moving to more a node base society in which larger entities are no longer needed in order to produce products/services.

Fancy That.

Pintrests you can purchase? -Tulani

From Mashable:

“A familiar-looking site called Fancy has beaten Pinterest to the punch — by monetizing its user-curated collection of images.

Fancy, which lets users organize images from around the web into “lists,” announced Thursday that it would begin conducting transactions directly on its site. Previously, users could click on a link listed with an item to buy it on a third-party site. Now they can shop directly on Fancy — and the site will take a cut of every purchase.”

Read the full article here.

Why I’m Curious

Apparently Fancy is not exactly like Pintrest, but has the same post/share aesthetically  pleasing items theme. With this option to purchase the beautiful things that you see find on other’s boards or on the site the potential for brands to post their merchandise and curate their products on pages in an eye catching way will definitely grow. It takes posting about things you are interested in away from just being about how it looks and brings it to is this attainable? Can I own this?

I am interested to see if/how this will take off and in what way brands or companies will look to market/advertise on a site such as this.

 

Red Tails: fly like a PS1

To generate anticipation around Lucasfilm’s forthcoming movie Red Tails, inspired by the exploits of the first all African-American aerial combat unit, DOJO created an immersive digital experience http://redtails2012.com/, where users can simulate flying a 1940s fighter plane to shoot down the enemy. For those less interested in traditional gaming or with a fear of flying, there’s also the option to navigate through the ‘Airmen’s Office’ where they can unlock special content.

Why I’m Curious

With mobile gaming really taking off, it’s always good to find well executed web-based gaming experience. I think this is a great example of how the latest technologies in video streaming and social media integration can be pulled together into an elegant interactive experience that doesn’t feel gimmicky. The approach of offering different types of experiences, thus tailoring to the diverse interests of online audiences, also seems to be growing as a best practice to increase the engagement potential. And, by giving users the ability to unlock layers of digital content, users have an incentive to keep playing. This could have even been taken to the next level, by giving users the chance to win real world content, such as tickets to the film, etc. My only criticism was that it took quite a while to load the page, which could certainly deter some users from playing. Otherwise, it was worth the wait.