Creepy Crawly

The optical illusion stands at 3.5 meters high, running right to you. The artist, Sergio, painted it in an abandoned building after creating the 3D render in his studio. Though he wouldn’t spill his secrets on the web, he still has people in awe at the quality of his work. But no worries, it won’t actually start crawling right towards you.

Why it’s hot:
Rather than being hot, I think it’s super cool.

source: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/giant-3d-spider-graffiti-jumps-12384512

 

Snapchat Enables Shopping Via AR

The last few years have been tough for Snapchat. They’ve officially lost the cosign from Rihanna and it’s been an uphill battle to gain investors. This combination of losses has lead them to a new ad offering for brands: augmented reality shopping ads. 

The commerce lenses are the same as other lenses, and users add them to their videos the same way, but they include a button that leads to a shopping page, an app-install page, a video or a website without leaving Snapchat.

According to Snap, over 70MM people use the lens feature daily and this is Snap’s strongest defense against Instagram. Every lens won’t directly sell a product but can lead to an app download and/or content.

Why it’s hotter than the flower crown filter:

Snapchat has been searching for a way to bring brands to the platform. This new offering from the company enables brands to seamlessly interact with users as they use the app for what it’s most known for. Pairing augmented reality with e-commerce is the next step in advertising.

Full article

Viz Palette

Viz Palette was created by two designers that work at Netflix and the website lets you create and test your color palette for legibility. Specifically, you can test your palette in different formats, line weights, backgrounds, and font colors as well as see your color palette with different types of color blindness. It also lets you know if two colors are too similar.

Video

Why It’s Hot: Accessibility is always an important factor in design, and tools like this make it easier to create accessible color palettes. There are however, existing sites that allow you to easily check your color palette, but this integrate data visualization and calls out some more specific points such as line weights.

Source

Building Ikea Furniture in Harmony

Source: https://qz.com/1256576/robots-can-build-ikea-chairs-now/

Sounds impossible, right? Well for this pair of robots it’s not. After 3 long years, a research team in Singapore has successfully taught a pair of robots to build an Ikea Chair.

They are not the first to build furniture, but the only previous contender was back in 2003 when MIT robots built a simple Lack table.

“And while a robot can be programmed to do a single assembly-line task efficiently, mastering all of the small tasks that IKEA assembly requires is a bigger challenge. Some of the same things humans struggle with, like fiddling with bags of screws, dowels, and doodads while trying to distinguish the slight variations in shape, are also difficult for robots.”

Their next goal is to go from teaching the robot ‘HOW to do it’, they want it to reason ‘WHAT to do’.

This AI will not just save time and stress, it can also save marriages. “The dynamics of flatpack furniture assembly contain a minefield of relationship conflict triggers, to the point where IKEA-related conflicts come up with surprising frequency in marriage counseling sessions.”

Additional reading: The psychology behind why couples always fight when assembling Ikea furniture

Why it’s Hot: 

  • Once we can train AI to accomplish these complex tasks, the next frontier is independent thinking.
  • We’re one step closer to a world where we don’t have to assemble Ikea furniture ourselves.

Warning: paying for the fastest shipping option might get your online order denied

With the chip-card technology being rolled out in retail stores nationwide and reducing fraud in physical stores, online fraud has risen. A third of the 50 largest retailers in the U.S. has then seen a 30% increase in online fraud.

As a result, retailers as big as Macys and as small as Audeze rely on third party data-mining firms to combat fraud, such as people making purchases with stolen credit cards or falsely claiming a purchase as fraudulent.

These firms use big data to evaluate whether a shopper is making a fraudulent transaction based on that person’s online browsing behaviors, transaction data and geolocation information. The firms will then decide whether to approve or deny the transaction at the time of purchase.

Online behaviors such as paying for the latest shipping method or making a purchase without checking the return policy are sometimes considered as signs of fraud. And oftentimes, falsely declined customers would not even know why they were declined for a transaction.

Why it’s (not) hot: Should big data dictate what we buy and how we buy things?

Source: Wall Street Journal

Don’t stir. Spin

400 million stir sticks are used every day in America alone.
Stirring sticks come in all shapes and sizes, with the wooden ones being much easier to recycle than the plastic alternatives. But even so, we typically use these sticks exactly once before throwing them away and adding to the growing pile of waste us humans create every year. Scott Amron decided stirring sticks needed replacing, and so he developed Stircle.

Stircle is a device meant to be embedded into a table like those found at all major coffee chains, although you could just as easily have one at home if you have an aversion to spoons. Once it is hooked up to a power source the Stircle can stir any drink for you. Simply place your cup on the circular plate and watch it spin. Stircle spins in both directions, forcing the liquid inside to change direction with enough force for the contents to mix thoroughly. As the video above demonstrates, it really does stir drinks well.

At $345, the Stircle certainly isn’t cheap, but well within reach for an independent coffee shop or chain. Running costs are estimated at $0.10 per 50,000 cups stirred, so that’s negligible. Offering consumers a way to stir their freshly-made beverage without creating any waste could/should more than make up for the initial cost in the long run.

Why its hot?
Apart from the obvious good for environment and financial benefits, it gives coffee shops a new way to market themselves

Source: New Atlas and TechCrunch

The latest Instagram influencer feud is noteworthy but maybe not for the reasons you think…

On Tuesday, the Instagram account of Miquela Sousa — also known as @LilMiquela, a 19-year-old Brazilian-American model, singer, and Instagram personality with almost a million followers — appeared to have been hacked by a blonde, pro-Trump troll named Bermuda, or @BermudaIsBae.

Why does this matter? Well, neither of them are real people. Both Miquela and Bermuda are computer generated avatars, created by anonymous users.

Lil Miquela, is a Brazilian-American model and singer from Los Angeles and has over 1 million followers on Instagram. She’s also on Tumblr and Twitter and has two singles on Spotify.

She’s thought to be a composite of a real woman and digital renderings, giving her postings an uncanny nature. She posts photos of herself with real people, wearing real clothes given to her by high-fashion brands like Chanel, Proenza Schouler, Supreme, and Vetements.

Fashion magazines including King KongV, and Paper, have all photographed her, and she now has her own press agents, who coordinate photo shoots as well as the gifting/borrowing of designer clothes.

Bermuda on the other hand, is a pro-Trump account with 50k followers (up from 2k before taking over Miquela’s account). Lil Miquela on the other hand, has openly supported immigrants’ rights and organizations like Black Lives Matter. The given cause for the hacking, however, is that Miquela is not being forthcoming enough about her identity. Keep in mind, neither of these people are real.

Naturally, there are a lot of theories out there, including that this is a sign the world is going to end today. (Still here!) Bermuda decided to “hack” Lil Miquela when she reached 2,222 followers. Lil Miquela was born on April 22, which is Sunday. Will Lil Miquela finally reveal herself (or himself/themselves) two years in? The timing feels right. And it feels particularly relevant to have a Trump troll responsible for the leak. Our main question right now, though, is whether or not Bermuda and Lil Miquela are actually colluding.

Why it’s hot

In spite of being one of the most ridiculous things on the internet this week, this Black Mirror style beef has people on the edge of their seats. These accounts, which might be working together to drum up more drama and prestige for themselves, demonstrate how blurred the line is between real and fake online. These accounts use digitally rendered people to make real money, from real brands. It also shows how political tensions can be hijacked by brands to increase visibility and capitalize on the internet’s insatiable lust for Drama.

Read more at The Cut

it’s gotta be the shoes…


And if Nike’s vision evolves, it could, in fact, be the shoes…that are a gateway to exploring more of what we might like.

They’ve already dabbled, and we’ve already discussed connected jerseys, that bring you content specific to the team and player at the tap of an NFC enabled phone. Nike’s latest “AF1 NikeConnect QS NYC”  sneakers “will come with an NFC (near-field communication) chip embedded under a NikeConnect logo on the heel of the sneaker. By using the NikeConnect app on a phone, you can tap your phone on the sensor and gain access to exclusive content and Nike events in New York City, as well as an opportunity to purchase other popular Nike kicks.” 

Why it’s hot:

What Nike is doing is an interesting approach in a world where we’re overwhelmed with stuff and information. By making the things we buy portals to more of what we might like, it seems an attempt to make anything an easy gateway to discovery, circumventing all the noise involved in finding things on our own on the vast and wide internet. And if all Nike Connect products are linked to your personal account, Nike could conceivably provide you with even better inspiration based on the sum total of your “Nike closet”.

[Source]

FDA Recommends Approval of First Ever Cannabis-Derived Drug

Happy 420! A FDA advisory committee has just recommended approval for the first-ever cannabis-derived medicine for prescription use in the US.

The drug, which will be used to treat severe forms of epilepsy, contains cannabidiol (or CBD), which is one of more than 80 active cannabinoid chemicals. It differs from THC in that it does not produce a high.

The official FDA approval would limit the drug to epilepsy patients, but as with many prescriptions drugs, doctors have the option to prescribe if “off-label” for different treatment purposes.

One thing that the FDA will continue to monitor with the drug: potential for abuse. The FDA’s Controlled Substance Staff assessed the potential for abuse based on both animal and human experimental data, and they did not find signals indicating a high potential.

Why It’s Hot: First ever cannabis-derived medicine! It sends two signals: that the government is willing to evolve its views on cannabis, and that cannabis-derived materials are not all DaNgErOuS and terrible. Will this help in the push for decriminalization/legalization of cannabis in the country?

Learn More: CNN

Facebook Live Makes the Met Museum More Accessible

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is now using Facebook Live to make its museum even more inclusive. The Met started putting tours on Facebook Live a few months ago with an art historian and lecturer taking viewers on a tour of the Rodin exhibit in ASL. It was a success, with more than 52,000 views proving demand for such a program is huge. The ASL tour of Diamond Mountains: Travel and Nostalgia in Korean Art was viewed by 18,000 people, many of whom were stumped by the lack of audio on the tour. (It’s in ASL, which doesn’t require audio.) Meanwhile, the live-streamed ASL program on Umberto Boccioni’s “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space” reached 17,000 views in just 24 hours.

In addition to programs for visitors who are deaf, many museums, the Met included, offer programs to make their art accessible to visitors who are blind or partially sighted. For example, in addition to braille guides, the Museum of Modern Art offers tours where specially trained guides give detailed visual descriptions of the works and touch tours where visitors can feel the art.

Why Its Hot

See, Facebook can be used for good too! Increasing access to otherwise inaccessible locations is one of the best uses of social media. So often we see videos on Facebook without captions, so using the popular format and in such an inclusive way is great to see.

Talk about waiting to death….

Pharrell is in it for the long haul in promoting his latest single 100 Years, having taken the slightly unusual decision to set a release date for, er, next century. As in 2117.

Only then will your great-great-great grandchildren be able to jam to Pharrell’s 100 Years, which this weekend was locked in a safe for the next hundo years. The N.E.R.D frontman has linked up with Louis XIII Cognac for the venture, which is aiming to raise awareness about climate change.

The sole copy of 100 Years has been engraved on a clay vinyl made from soil that’s been extracted from the Louis XIII Cognac vineyard, and is now safely locked away, time capsule-style.

But there is a twist…if Earth continues on a path of destruction (aka Global Warming) the vinyl, and only copy of the track, will disintegrate and disappear forever

 

Why It’s Hot:

– Very interesting unique idea / partnership / twist on a time capsule

– Not sure how effective it will be at changing environmental policy, but works beautifully as a branded stunt

Freshman Dropout Predictions

Have you ever wondered if spending more time in the library actually equates to better academic performance? The University of Arizona is tracking freshman students’ ID card swipes to anticipate which students are more likely to drop out.

The new ID card tracking system keeps a record of how often students interact in social settings on campus (like use the campus rec center), what they buy to eat, and their academic performance. According to the University, the data allows them to predict within a freshman’s first 4 weeks if they will return as a sophomore and eventually graduate.

Based on the data, the university identifies a list of freshman in danger of dropping out and shares it with the students’ advisors every quarter, who do their best to intervene. According to the article, students with shrinking social circles and a lack of a routine might be more likely to drop out.

The efforts have been pretty successful so far. After three years of collecting freshman data, their predictions have been 73% accurate. Last year, the school’s retention rate rose to 86.5% (almost 10% above the national average).

“We think by doing these interventions by the 12th week, which is when students make up their mind, you’re sort of doing what Amazon does—delivering items you didn’t order but will be ordering in the future,” says Sudha Ram, a professor of management information systems who directs the initiative.

Like any predictive technology, some major ethical concerns about privacy arose. It could be argued that this level of analyzing students’ social interaction data, which includes timestamps and locations, potentially violates students’ privacy. Still, algorithms can sometimes be wrong and biased. Ram admits, “We live in an era where you shouldn’t be generalizing about ‘groups of people. You should be personalizing solutions at the individual level.” She calls the data she’s analyzed “just a signal.”

Why It’s Hot: This initiative is using predictive technology in a much more meaningful way than say, suggesting what products you might also like to buy on Amazon. If this machine learning tool can identify behaviors that may lead a student to drop out, who’s to say it couldn’t be developed further to signify behaviors that lead students to attempt suicide or fall into depression? If possible, many students could receive help from advisors or family members who were prompted by the system.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/12/17109224/university-of-arizona-tracking-smartchips-student-ids-privacy-drop-out

Currency for women only

For the launch of its first womenswear collection, fashion brand Paisley has created a currency that addresses the gender pay gap.

The new FEM notes are worth 21% more than any other currency – a nod to the 21% gender pay gap in Germany. This means that whenever customers use FEM currency, they get 21% more for their money.

The notes have been designed with special security features to avoid misuse and highlight a number of iconic female figures who have helped pave the way for equal gender rights.

Customers can exchange their money for FEM notes by visiting the Paisley flagship store in Hamburg. Paisley is also looking to partner with other companies which want to make FEM currency part of their brand.

Why its hot?
Using a cultural insight they dressed up a run of the mill coupon / discount as a movement

Read more: https://www.femcurrency.com/

 

Facebook’s Implementing Disclosure on “Issues Ads”

The changes keep coming at Facebook.

Neuroscience and the thoughts and minds of dogs

A scientist looking at how dogs think and relate to humans has trained about a dozen dogs to lie inside of fMRI machines and receive different stimuli. The result is a look inside the minds of dogs that indicates that their mental processes might mirror our own in more ways than previously imagined.

 

A dog undergoes training, learning how to rest its head on a pad without moving, so that scientists can scan his brain

A dog undergoes training, learning how to rest its head on a pad without moving, so that scientists can scan his brain. Photo by Helen Berns

As part of their first paper published on the work in 2012, they trained dogs to recognize two different hand signals: one that meant the animal would be given a piece of hot dog imminently, and one that meant no hot dog. As they hypothesized, the first signal triggered elevated activity in an area called the caudate nucleus, which is rich in receptors for dopamine (a neurotransmitter involved in the sensation of pleasure). In humans—and in dogs, the research indicated—caudate activity is related to the desire to have something that causes pleasure, and the satisfaction involved in obtaining it.

Subsequent tests showed that sensing familiar humans through sight and scent triggered similar reward receptors in dogs’ brains, possibly indicating the feeling of emotion similar to human emotion.

A dog in an fMRI, receiving one of the hand signals

A dog in an fMRI, receiving one of the hand signals

Why it’s hot

Pet owners already think of their animal friends as more than simply property, and are more likely to consider them members of the family than in previous generations. If studies like these can show that dogs truly feel emotions similar to humans, it might have implications for public policy and cultural sentiment.

Read more at smithsonianmag.com

adidas makes 30,000 highlight reels…


In advance of this year’s Boston Marathon, Adidas says it’s planning to capture and create personal highlight videos for all 30,000 runners of this year’s race.

According to the plan: “Adidas will deliver videos to the 30,000 runners taking part in the marathon within a few hours of them completing the race. Along with the runner’s personal highlights, the Here to Create Legend videos will also feature general race day footage and music.”

How it works: “RFID tags in the runners’ race bibs and street mats that emit ultra-high frequency radio waves will provide Adidas with data on each runners’ performance. Using this technology, the sportswear brand is able to capture all the footage for the videos with just seven cameras and a team of 20 people spread across the 26.2-mile course.

Why It’s Hot:

We often talk about the trend of ultra-personalized product or service experiences, but marketing hasn’t necessarily been a major part of that conversation. As this becomes peoples’ overall expectation of brands, it will have to adapt.

Plus, in another time, Adidas would’ve just made a nice commercial touting its 30 years of race sponsorship. But instead, it decided to devote time, money, and effort to adding something memorable to the experience of the athletes running the race it’s sponsoring.

[Source]

Millennial English

https://twitter.com/DeannaHoak/status/970129313415749632/photo/1

Millennials, or maybe just the Internet, is changing the way that we communicate, at least according to these people on Tumblr and this Mashable article.*

You may be thinking “teh /\/\i113|\||\|14l5 haven’t done anything that hasn’t been done before LOL ROFLCOPTER” and maybe you’d be right? It’s still interesting to think about the way that communication is changing in today’s Text Heavy and increasingly image based society.

From the article:

[Dr. Lauren] Fonteyn [of the University of Manchester]  says millennials are “breaking the constraints” of written English to “be as expressive as you can be in spoken language.” This new variant of written English strives to convey what body language, and tone and volume of voice can achieve in spoken English.

Fonteyn specifies a few ways Millennials are twisting English:

  • Atypical capitalization. Capitalization isn’t necessarily used traditionally: at the beginning of a sentence, for people or proper nouns. The letter “I” may not be capitalized, in order to “play down the person’s sense of self”. However, capitals are being used for emphasis, irony or mockery. This tweet from the article sums it up well:

  • Changes to expressive punctuation. For example, leaving the period off of a sentence may be neutral, using “..” means “continue” and “…” can indicate an “‘awkward or annoyed silence’ or ‘are you serious?'”.
  • Use of imagery or glyphs unavailable in spoken conversation, such as:

https://twitter.com/_lbaillie/status/979232946761605120

There are other examples of this:

Why it’s hot:

The way we communicate is changing. It’s neat to see the new ways people take language and twist it to new ends and meanings using the tools they’ve got.

 

Unmanned bank

China opened its first “unmanned” bank in Shanghai this week that claims to be able to handle over 90% of a traditional bank’s services, whether it’s cash or cashless. Customers will be greeted by a robot as they enter the lobby who’s supposed to communicate with them and help with their needs.

The bank also claims to offer services including:

  • Video teller machines
  • Currency exchange machines
  • Augmented Reality
  • Virtual Reality

Why it’s hot: Deferring low-value work to machines is inevitable to increase efficiency and profit margin. Brainpower should be reserved for cognitive work.

Source

Art Palette

Google’s Art and Culture Experiments Art Palette is a web app tool that allows you to choose color combinations and see art with associated color ways. Alternatively, you can upload an image and see works of art w similar color schemes.

As described on their site:

“Art Palette works as a search engine that finds artworks based on your chosen color palette. Using this tool, you can explore how the same five colors from Van Gogh’s Irises can be related to a 16th century Iranian folio or Monet’s water lilies.

Art Palette can help creative experts in art, design and beyond to make informed choices regarding color palettes, understanding the context and history behind each one.”
Why It’s Hot: Other than being really fun to play around with, this could be a useful tool for designers as well as for art history. While color is only an aspect of art, this tool allows people to draw connections about art from different time periods and cultures.

FDA Approves Non-Supervised Diagnostic AI

We’ve talked a lot about AI in healthcare recently, with a big focus on AI being used as a diagnostic tool to process scans/images and find potential issues. All of this technology thus far has been created with the understanding that the AI’s results will be reviewed and evaluated by a trained, specialized medical professional. That is, the doctor is still the final decision-maker, and the AI is her assistant.

All that changed this week, when the FDA announced its approval of the first AI tool that is meant to operate and issue a diagnosis completely independently, without any supervision from a specialized doctor. The software program, named IDx-DR, can detect diabetic retinopathy, a form of eye disease, by looking at photos of the retina that a nurse or doctor uploads to the program. After checking the image to make sure it’s high-resolution enough, the program evaluates the photo and then gives a diagnosis.

This is great on one level – it means that any nurse or doctor can upload a photo, and patients don’t need to wait to see a medical specialist in order to review the AI results and get a diagnosis. So theoretically, medical care will be more accessible and sooner. But, the flip side is a tricky ethical situation… Who is responsible when the diagnosis is wrong?

Why It’s Hot: Wait, are robots actually coming for our jobs after all? And who do we blame when they screw it up?

 

Learn More: The Verge | FDA release

Aloha Safely

Hawaiian airlines is gifting their passengers with samples of toxic-free sunscreen in efforts to educate travelers of the harm that other sunscreens have on the coral reefs. A recent study found that oxybenzone and octinoxate, typical elements found in the average sunscreen, result in damaging effects on the reefs. Through the end of April, Hawaiian Airlines flight attendants will be offering passengers free samples of an American-made sunscreen that doesn't harm marine life.

So lather up in Hawaiian Airlines’ eco-formula sunscreen if you’re flying from North American destinations to the islands through the month of April! 

Can you bereef it’s taken this long for something like this to happen? The airline partnered with Raw Elements to produce the sunscreen. To serve even more raw truth, Hawaiian Airlines decided to screen Reefs at Risk, an educational documentary, on all their flights. 

Why it’s hot:

This way people who can’t tan won’t burn. And they’ll hopefully make wiser choices in sunscreen purchases! Happy Hawaii-iing ~~

Source: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/airline-is-protecting-hawaiian-coral-reefs-by-giving-free-non-toxic-sunscreen-to-tourists/

Remaking the internet

This intriguing TED talk from Jaron Lanier paints an optimistic and entirely plausible vision for a “new internet” in the wake of the Facebook debacle and other concerns about privacy, regulation and data.

Lanier reflects on a “globally tragic, astoundingly ridiculous mistake” companies like Google and Facebook made at the foundation of digital culture — and how we can undo it. “We cannot have a society in which, if two people wish to communicate, the only way that can happen is if it’s financed by a third person who wishes to manipulate them,” he says.

 

Why it’s hot: About 10 minutes into the talk, Lanier gets into the concept of subscription-based social media platforms, which many have dismissed – because they say “I’d never pay for Facebook”. But Lanier’s analogy is apt – he likens paying for social media and journalism to the golden era of TV we’re all currently enjoying. Pay for Netflix, get great content. The answer won’t exactly be “pay for Facebook”, but the thinking paves the way for an optimistic view of the future of personal data, privacy and subscription-based services that also benefit advertisers.

Bonus: Inside the Jordan refugee camp that runs on blockchain

 

White Castle now has Impossible Sliders!

So, I got home yesterday and my vegan girlfriend excitedly told me that White Castle now offers Impossible Foods’ plant-based burger at some locations. I’m not a huge fan of White Castle, but we trekked the 10 blocks to get some vegan fast-food.

Besides the horrendous customer service and having to explain that adding cheese to a vegan burger makes it not vegan to the cashier, it was great! If you haven’t tried an impossible burger yet, definitely find one close by. We couldn’t tell if we were given meat-based burgers or the impossible ones.

 

Why it’s Hot:

  • Adding vegan high-quality vegan options is opening up a whole new audience for White Castle.
  • Impossible Foods is making a huge jump from higher-end, fast-casual restaurants to a mass consumer, fast-food chain.

 

Impossible Foods goes to White Castle

Source of chronic pain for millions of Americans soon to ease

A YouTube channel called The Brick Wall, which is a “place of Lego Technic changes and modifications” has created a “Roomba” for Legos. The machine itself is made out of Legos.

With tongue firmly in cheek, this machine is absolutely not hitting store shelves anytime soon.

Story on Sploid

Why it’s Hot:

It’s an idea whose time has come. Just ask any parent of toddlers.

Brick & Mortar & Airbnb

It a surprisingly organic turn of events, SF-based fashion brand Marine Layer pulled off the smartest brand activation I’ve seen in ages.

The retailer started renting out branded apartments on Airbnb, in residential spaces above their stores in touristy cities (Chicago, Portland, New Orleans, with Nashville on deck).

Following the brand’s retro design aesthetic, ML opened its first Aribnb location on a whim in 2014, after renovating the store’s upstairs apartment so out-of-town employees would have a place to stay. Soon, it was booked for 300 days a year on Airbnb. In addition to the trendy interior, each apartment is stocked with snacks, bespoke city guides compiled by the ML team, and a 15% discount on anything from the store downstairs.

WHY IT’S HOT: 

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Marine Layer didn’t open the apartments to be a revenue stream, but a bet that their brand could extend into hospitality and broaden the brand experience. As more and more retailers shutter their storefronts, (2017 set the record for store closures in the US according to CNN and Quartz, with more than 8,000 shops shutting down, see chart above) I see this as a brand extension beyond the traditional retail experience that feels natural, not forced. It’s the continuation of a trend that Michael Brown of A.T. Kearney calls “retail anywhere” – the idea that shoppers want to engage with a brand beyond a store and a purchase – and maybe even IRL (!)

SOURCE: https://www.contagious.io/articles/what-s-going-on-upstairs

Young Americans are going back home

Parents in the US cannot get rid of their kids. The share of young adults in their late 20s living with their parents is the highest it’s been in 75 years.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 33% of 25-29-year-olds lived with their parents or grandparents in 2016. This is almost three times as many as in 1970.

The share of young adults who don’t leave the nest has steadily increased in recent decades, and accelerated after the 2008 financial crisis. Across education levels, race, gender, and region, no group has been immune from the trend.

Pew’s researchers think late twenty-somethings are boomeranging back home because, in contrast to previous generations at this stage of their lives, they are less likely to have a well-paying job and less likely to be married. It turns out that no job and no partner makes living with your parents a lot more appealing.”

From: Quartz

American Express Targets With Taxi Cabs

American Express plans to run ads on top of 125 taxis in New York City that will change messaging depending on the location of the cabs.

Whenever a cab passes the location of an American Express merchant in the city, the technology will tap into the cab’s GPS system and serve the correct ad for that company on top of the cab. This provides another line of revenue for American Express, which can charge these AmEx-accepting stores for these highly targeted ads. American Express is currently starting up negotiations with selected partners so there are no examples of companies onboard yet, said Joe Bihlmier, vp of global media at American Express. The ads are meant to send the message that American Express is connected with those businesses, he added. American Express doesn’t break down how many partners it has in New York, but the company has 18 million worldwide.

Geotargeting allows American Express to reach its target consumers where they are and serve an ad that is relevant in the moment. If there is no business partner nearby, the cab will show an ad that relates to the neighborhood the taxi cab is driving through. For instance, if a cab is passing through Columbus Circle, the ad would read: “Don’t Columbus Circle without it,” alongside the American Express logo.

Bihlmier said American Express is still learning from and testing this kind of location targeting. While Bihlmier said American Express does not intend on tracking whether consumers’ foot traffic to its merchants increases, it plans on measuring whether use of American Express cards increased in the taxis.

The effort is part of a wider campaign, created by McGarryBowen, and new positioning for American Express that aims to connect with what Bihlmier calls the “hybrid consumer,” people who blend their personal lives with work. American Express commissioned research firm Morning Consult to conduct a survey of 2,000 people to see how many people were living hybrid lives, finding that half of the people surveyed were doing so.

That’s why the cab ads, other out-of-home digital ads and TV spots for the new campaign feature business products alongside consumer products with the messages: “Don’t Live Life Without It” or “Don’t Do Business Without It.” The ads feature people multitasking as well. The company is also serving ads in digital channels that connect life and business like WeTransfer, across mobile, in 20 different podcasts and on Hulu.

Bihlmier said the campaign will be the company’s widest use of geographical targeting to date. American Express has previously used the technology around large-scale events such as Coachella, the U.S. Open golf tournament and the U.S. Open tennis event, mostly through Snapchat geofilters to target Generation Z and millennial attendees with relevant offers.

Overall, out-of-home advertising is becoming a larger piece of American Express’ ad spend, according to Bihlmier, although he wouldn’t reveal specific numbers. This recent push comes as out-of-home advertising, especially digital, has returned to the forefront of the media-buying conversation, thanks to the news last week that Netflix is verging on acquiring Regency Outdoor Advertising for $300 million. The acquisition would guarantee the streaming service premium real estate on billboards in the Los Angeles and Orange County area.

Bihlmier believes digital out-of-home ads that change their messages, like the American Express cab ads, will help the company stand out to the affluent, cosmopolitan audience that the majority of marketers are trying to reach, said Bihlmier.

“We have a complex challenge of trying to reach these very busy and well-targeted people,” said Bihlmier. “So anything we can do to be contextual to the moment will help us break through.”

Source: Digiday
Why it’s hot: Out-of-home advertising is not known to be as efficient as its digital counterpart. Companies taking steps to bring traditional advertising to the digital age are pushing the concept of normal and showing that out-of-home can be successful.

Balls

Adidas Soccer revealed the Telstar 18, a reimagining of the original Telstar ball used at the tournament back in 1970 to be featured in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

It will be the most tech-savvy ball in history with an NFC microchip embedded inside. The chip will allow consumers to interact directly with the ball using their smartphones. Each ball generates a unique identifier, unlocking exclusive content and information for the user about the details of each ball and providing access to challenges that users can enter before the World Cup.

In short, passionate soccer fans can tap their phone on the ball to unlock a consumer experience – technically this could be anything from player exclusive content, to games, to Adidas’s discounts, to brand co-partnership

Why It’s Hot:

  1. Harnesses a red-hot passion point (aka soccer) at a global scale
  2. Enables increased product sales (the balls)
  3. Delivers on a unique and exclusive consumer experience
  4. Sky is the limit when it comes to content

NYT FAQ’s the Royal Wedding

Complete with cutesy gifs that harken back to the Geocities and Angelfire era of web design, the NYT Style section has crafted a comprehensive FAQ to answer all the questions you never had about the upcoming royal nuptials.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/04/06/style/meghan-markle-prince-harry-royal-wedding.html

Why it’s hot: Is it good? Maybe not. Is it fun? Yes.

 

Meme Alert

There’s a meme and this is a post about it. The meme is the American Chopper meme. Here is the thing about the meme: it takes a format unsuitable for Twitter (vertical image), four frames of two volatile motorcycle reality stars with facial hair, and crams in surprisingly dense arguments.

Like:

https://twitter.com/PaulMMCooper/status/981460668846104576

People also used it in strange ways.

https://twitter.com/JDunnah/status/981928011342675968

People used it for other Twitter memes. Wow!

https://twitter.com/apostlebrawl/status/981952219468595202

It also got meta:

Krang T Nelson, a very smart person, sums up this meme:

There is another meme, though, but it’s a bad meme. This is the meme:

https://twitter.com/SrtSlender/status/982235032570937344

What does it mean? Who cares. It is bad.

Say no to this meme, unless it is Fleetwood Mac adjacent:

This guy is good though. Look at that chomping:

https://twitter.com/HoneyWizard_/status/981430999870558208

This has been a meme alert. Thanks.