A great strategy endures

HS J Donne image 8.11Have any of you read John Donne’s poem “No Man Is An Island”? Whether you have or not, what is amazing is although from the 17th century, most of us, across the generations have heard or used a phrase or two from it nearly 350 years later.

It is superior content.

Why is this hot? This poem endures because he crafted incredibly moving content that spoke right to the heart of Humankind’s defiance and denial of death. It is content that is not posted and curated, it endures. He articulated what we all would wish and believe was true about Humankind and Death.

In healthcare, a strategist, among others, is often motivated by a personal story, a loss, a feeling that maybe, just maybe your helping lives. Why is that hot? Because passion drives the best strategy.

Why is this relevant? Too recently, MRM-McCann lost a wonderful, generous soul. He was defiant and positive to the end. The loss of one touches us all.

The poem:

“No Man Is An Island”

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe 
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as 
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine 
own were; any man's death diminishes me, 
because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom 
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.



Bridging the CX Understanding Gap


As customer experience (CX) continues to drive business transformation, we are met with a general lack of understanding around what and how to move forward. Forrester research revealed more than 60% of decision makers are still holding on innovation related to the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is CX. People expect connectivity; people expect effortless data integration that improves the way they move through the world. This is nothing to delay and “assess.” The CX winners lean in hard early. They experiment. They fail. They pick themselves back up and try again.  People more than welcome that now, they expect it.

Snickers Tries to Prevent National Catastrophes with ‘Hungerithm’

In Australia, Snickers is teaming up with 7-Eleven to decrease the price of Snickers bars when people are in a bad mood. Using a tool that gauges the mood of the internet, they adjust the price of the candy bar in real time. It was created by Clemenger BBDO and analyzes 14,000 posts a day to determine when the general population is in a bad mood, and can drive a decrease of up to 82% off. The discount is updated 140+ times a day, depends on how bad of a mood everyone is.

Once the mood is low, you can access a coupon for the reduced Snickers on your phone, and find your nearest 7-Eleven.

Why it’s Hot:

This execution fits in perfectly with “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” and merges online and offline in a way that most brands are striving for.

Additionally, the mood targeting tool they’ve built is very robust and helps them be a bigger part of culture. They potentially turn a negative online conversation about a news event into a conversation about $.50 Snickers.

And did I mention, they’re hinting at expansion outside of Australia? It may help us deal with the election.

Source: AdWeek

This Playlist Brought To You By…

Spotify’s new Sponsored Playlists will allow brands to sponsor playlists on the platform that reach a specific target audience based on their campaign objectives. For instance, a brand launching a new breakfast menu could sponsor a “Morning Commute” playlist.

The new ad units include logo placement and rights to the first ad break in the free version of the streaming service. Sponsored Playlists can be supported with both branded and native promotions within the playlist. The feature is currently in beta testing, but Kia (which recently sponsored a New Music Friday playlist) doubled campaign benchmarks on the platform.

Here’s how it works!

Why It’s Hot: Sponsoring Branded Playlists gives brands an opportunity to find unique ways to connect with consumers in a contextual, as well as emotional, way through the power of music. However, the target is limited to those who use the free version of the service. While these consumers are used to hearing ads in playlists, it will be interesting to see what the reactions are to more branded content on the platform.


Spotify Will Now Let Brands Sponsor the Most Popular Playlists

Google Expands Beyond Maps, Plans to Recreate Building Interiors in 3-D

Google already maps the world, but the internet giant has bigger plans for its next location-based technology.

The Alphabet Inc. unit wants to digitally map the interiors of buildings in 3-D down to a resolution of a few inches, and make money in virtual reality along the way, through a project named Tango.

The company plans a big expansion of the technology this year and ultimately wants to make it ubiquitous, according to a person familiar with the situation. Job postings and recent updates to Tango’s developer software show steps toward this ambitious goal. Google will showcase progress at its I/O developer conference near its Silicon Valley headquarters May 18-20.

Tango packs cameras and depth sensors along with other software into Android smartphones and tablets. Fire up the application and point the device at a space and it sucks in images and depth information to re-create the environment on the screen and locates itself within that new digital realm.

Google hopes Tango will support a system for independent developers to create new virtual reality applications and services. Video games could have characters that hide behind real-life furniture. A museum app could show 3-D animations when you walk past an exhibit. A grocery store could highlight sale items and guide shoppers to the right shelf.

Unlike most emerging virtual reality systems, Tango doesn’t need external equipment to re-create the world digitally. And unlike Google Maps it can figure out the details of a space without additional data sources.

“Tango is the indoor extension of their outdoor mapping platform,” said Lex Dreitser, a virtual reality developer who builds Tango applications.

Tango started in a Google research lab more than two years ago, but the company is trying to take it mainstream this year. It’s going into new smartphones from Intel and Lenovo Group and the software has been updated to let it easily run on more devices. And there are signs Google is working on the most important challenge: Making Tango 3-D maps shareable so the company can someday patch them together into a single, detailed digital representation of many of the world’s buildings, rooms and the stuff inside them.

Google Maps is one of Google’s most successful services, used by more than a billion people every month. It’s stitched into other popular Google services, like Gmail, Calendar and Photos. With more detailed maps, Google could build new advertising and location-based services into its products. It could also offer these capabilities to outside developers, letting them create more powerful applications for its Android operating system.

“If Tango could digitize every single physical commerce place, then all of a sudden Google has an exponential opportunity to place very relevant contextual physical advertising in every space,” said Nathan Pettyjohn, Chief Executive Officer of Aisle411, a mobile commerce and location company that has built applications for Walgreens Boots Alliance and Toys R Us. “It literally gives me goose bumps talking about it.”

Tango could also make Google a potent virtual reality rival to Facebook’s Oculus and HTC’s Vive. The Vive and the Oculus need separate sensors along with their headsets to map a room, while Tango does it with components in the phone or tablet. The closest competitor may be Microsoft’s HoloLens, a headset that integrates the technology. Occipital, a startup, makes a device that can be attached to standard Apple Inc. iOS and Android devices to give them 3-D sensing capabilities. Apple may be working on VR and 3-D sensing too through PrimeSense, a company it acquired in 2013.

Gina Scigliano, a spokeswoman for Google, declined to comment.

In January, Google software engineer Eitan Marder-Eppstein said the technology had “a lot of potential for indoor navigation.” And back in 2014, another Google engineer, Simon Lynen, said the company was researching how to use multiple Tango devices to build large, detailed maps that could be combined and downloaded to devices giving them “a human-scale understanding of space and motion.”

“With I/O it feels like they’re really doubling down on it,” said Andrew Nakas, who has been building Tango applications for two years. “I can do things now I had no expectation I could do back then in 2014.”

Kris Kitchen, an inventor, built an application for the blind using Tango and a backpack-sized speaker called a SubPac. Tango maps a space and passes that data to the SubPac, which vibrates differently according to the proximity of objects. That gives blind people an additional sense — touch — alongside hearing to get around.

For Tango applications like this to reach the most people, 3-D data will need to be easily shareable among devices. That would mean one person could map a museum, and another person could build an application based on the original map, or extend it, saving effort.

Google is working on this by building a system that allows Tango devices to share maps with other devices. It may also weave all these maps together and store the information in its data centers so it can be accessed by even more devices.

Tango will “rely on cloud infrastructure to store, merge, and serve location data to specific Project Tango devices,” Google wrote in a job posting in February for a mobile software engineer to work on the project. The company asked for “experience with Google Maps and other related location products.”

A cloud service would make life easier for developers, according to Pettyjohn. “Right now you have to save these mapping files on the device,” he said. A cloud service would make it so “anytime you need it, you pull down a file on the spot.”

— Bloomberg News


This could be an interesting opportunity for retailers to help customers navigate to things they need more quickly, but I question HOW helpful and used it will actually be.  I find the use of Google Maps much more useful since it’s a GPS, but people don’t always need a map of a store.  Could be useful for malls or places where a lot of stores exist in one area.

McDonald’s Turns Customers Into DJs

McDonald’s just launched an in store activation that transforms your average place mat into a your own recording studio.

The fast food chain used  conductive ink, a small battery and a thin circuit board with 26 digital touch points to radically digitize the average place mat . Customers can put their phone on it, download an app and make music with in-house produced audio loops, synths and musical effects. You can also record your own voice.

Why its Hot

  • Unique activation that drives in store traffic
  • Produces shareable content via social
  • I Love MUSIC!

Instagram Becoming More Business Friendly

Instagram is beginning to test new profiles for businesses, the first prototypes were shared a few days ago and have 3 key new features:

  1. A “Contact” button, which means they’ll no longer have to put email addresses in their profile.
  2. A linkable location tag- when users hit “Contact” it also opens up an option to get directions to the business. This feature gives businesses more room to describe their business in their 150 Instagram bio, rather than putting in their address.
  3. Account categorization through tags which show up underneath their username. Again, this gives them more room to be authentic in their bio.

Instagram BusinessIMG_5424

Why It’s Hot: This is a small step in Instagram becoming a big brand friendly platform like Facebook. Here’s to hoping analytics come with it too.

How A Harvard Professor Is Digitizing Scent

Cyrano is a “digital smell speaker” and the latest endeavor from Harvard professor and serial inventor, David Edwards—known for such madcap creations as smokable chocolate, edible food packaging, and inhalable alcohol.

Cyrano is a compact, portable device that emits 12 different scents that users can mix and match to create a “playlist” they can control via an app. The scents are divided into smells that are energizing, relaxing, and escapist. Selecting “Get Away,” for example, will give you a tropical melody of Bellini, guava, coconut, and suntan lotion; meanwhile, “Get Energized” will wake you up with scents like peppermint and orange ginger.

Edwards and his team are focused on incorporating curated scents into our environments to improve our well-being. He sees it as similar to how sunlight or sound can improve your mood. “From a conscious point of view, our perception of scent is secondary [to light and sound],” he says. “But from a emotive point of view, it is primary. In particular, in relation to wellness, scent is far more powerful than light or sound.”

At a conference, Edwards used data to explain how Cyrano can improve our lifestyles and well beings: “There’s a lot of data around wellness and driving,” he says, citing statistics that about 14% of driving Americans fall asleep in the car a day. “The car is also the perfect-sized space for containing a scent so that it doesn’t dilute or mix with other smells.” Cyrano is designed to fit snugly inside a car cup holder and can play “scent melodies” to keep you energized or emit odors that calm you down. The playlist is timed to shift scents every eight minutes in order to avoid olfactory fatigue—the point at which you become so used to the smell that you stop noticing it.

Perhaps the most interesting potential application for Cyrano is medical—and Edwards is already exploring it with the help of Richard Doty, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Smell and Taste Center. Doty’s research focuses on how scent detection correlates with disease—loss of scent is seen as an early detector for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, for example—and sees the app as a way to administer scent tests digitally. Eventually, Edwards says, they could adapt scent tests to broad public use, so that individuals could check their health in the morning with their own custom scent track. According to Doty, “humans actually have a very advanced sense of smell, we just don’t exercise it as much as other animals”.

For now, Cyrano is being released in a limited run of 500 devices—available here for $149—with a full product release later this year.

Source: FastCo

Why is this hot?

In a modern world where natural scents are lost in the madness of industrial odors, stimulating our senses to improve our health and wellness is like going back to our origins.

Portable Hover Camera

Part drone, part selfie stick, the new Hover Camera (beta) threatens to make traditional cameramen obsolete. The compact size, image stabilization and hi-rez video make the product feel like the inventors are actually listening to what people want.

Why It’s Hot:
As people increasingly become citizen reporters, the Hover Camera would be a huge help to video bloggers who want the freedom to shoot outdoors.

The Power of Six Reaches YouTube

YouTube released a new pre-roll format this week known as Bumper Ads. These pre-roll ads are similar to traditional TrueView Ads on the channel, except that they last just six seconds. The new format is optimized for mobile, where users have shorter attention spans.

Not only are these ads optimized for mobile viewership, but they also present an opportunity for brands to test which format is most successful and engaging. Recently, Audi and Atlantic Records launched Bumper Ads that featured select shots from its longer TV spots.

YouTube has found from early tests that these short-form pre-roll ads perform best when paired with TrueView ads. They are a great complement to the traditional ads as they are optimized for mobile and drove strong lifts in the upper funnels of ad recall and awareness when targeted towards those who had previously seen TrueView preroll ads. The TrueView ads have been found to perform best in lower funnels.

Why It’s Hot: These shorter pre-roll ads could be a great solve for advertising on mobile, as they cater to the short attention spans of mobile users. It will be interesting to see how brands use these Bumper Ads to retarget their key audience on mobile. There is opportunity with these ads to develop smart re-targeting strategies to reach users effectively and across platforms.


Escape from Instagram

The Toronto Silent Film Festival created the first ever Instagram escape room, utilizing a panoramic single image of a room, cut into a series of videos.

When you click on one these videos, you get a first-person view of yourself searching that particular part of the room. Sometimes you’ll find a clue; other times, you’ll chance upon one of the once-lost films, which will give you a letter. Gather all the letters up for a code that will lead to your escape.

Why its hot!

  • Brings a real world trend into the social realm
  • Unique way to utilize a social platform
  • Cool for people who like puzzles!

Doctor Millennial and email (mobile-first of course!)

Millenial on smartphone 4.28.16

By now, everyone has heard that Millennial’s now outnumber every other demographic cluster (the Boomers are dying fast). Two recent studies crossed my desk that when combined tell us much about how, in healthcare, Millennial doctors can be engaged in the mobile-first world.

First, a little background: in Pharma, brands are struggling with an outdated Sales Force model based on relationships and the one-to-one ability to sell directly to a doctor. But that door is closing fast; as of 2017, it is predicated that up to 53% of doctors will no longer grant sales reps access. So, that one-to-one model is quickly being replaced with NPP (Non-Personal Promotion) of which email is a major part.

Yes, good old email. It seems doctors like it more and more every year — in fact, in a recent HealthLink Dimensions study, 68% of doctors said they preferred email contact from a brand more than another channel.

Next fact: as of 2016, 35% of doctors are under age 39…basically Millennial’s.

Now, the fun part…Adobe did a recent White Paper on Millennial email habits. Mobile is a must:

  • 88% check email on smartphone
  • 98% check personal email every few hours at work
  • 80% of doctor’s receiving an email from one of our Pharma clients use a Smartphone

Timing is everything. Millennial’s are also more likely than any other age group to check email from:

  • Bed (70%)
  • Bathroom (57%)
  • While driving (27%).

Why is this hot? Because while email cannot replace the impact of a face-to-face sales call, CX and “smarter’ data/event triggered email can have a immediate impact and be a key channel in the multi-channel mix of engaging these younger no-see doctors. Simply because the doctor is proving to be an always-on customer; their consumption of brand content not only has to be mobile-first, but also move past the traditional email metric of click-through-rate and move to a model where we are providing value in the email and measuring it with tools like Litmus. Also, given the demographic habits native to Millennial’s, the emails need to me more visual, snackable and allow for all those varied experiences — from a glance in the car to a longer engagement in bed. Or in the bathroom.


Engagement, not likes: the new Facebook algorithm


Facebook is changing its algorithm again– this time, to emphasize engagement time per post.

How it works: the new algorithm will take into account how much time people have spent on posts from the author or publisher in the past to prioritize posts in the newsfeed, using data it’s collected on time spent with Instant Articles or clicked through on its mobile browser. In addition, Facebook will try to limit the number of posts from the same publisher that appear in a feed.

Why it’s hot: it goes against likes & comments as the key markers of interest.

What it means: marketers may need to rethink clickbait and viral posts as the way to go, and focus more on creating content that means something to people and that they’ll want to spend time with.

read more: https://digiday.com/platforms/facebook-news-feed-changes-articles/

The Battle Continues: Google Reacts to Facebook’s Latest Video Announcements


This week, just one week after the F8 conference that was so highly focused on Facebook’s commitment to video, Google has made two large announcements concerning its digital video tools.

This week, YouTube and Oracle Data cloud announced that they would begin tracking sales data for select CPG campaigns to connect the power of YouTube campaigns to in-store purchases. Google announced that early tests showed 61 percent of skippable YouTube ads (TrueView ads) generated significant sales increases.

This Gatorade TrueView ad generated $13.05 in sales for every dollar the brand invested in the ad and also generated a 16 percent lift in new buyers who viewed the ad versus those who did not, according to Google.

Also this week, YouTube released its 360 degree feature to creators and brands—kicking off with a T-Mobile sponsored stream of the Coachella festival. This releases comes just a week after Facebook’s announcement of its 360 video and live content hub, demonstrating the growing trends and interest in publishing live content to users.

On the other side, Facebook and Instagram released a beta program this week for interactive video ads, which would allow users to explore products deeper or even be directed to quizzes simply by hovering over a CTA button in the corner of the video. On mobile, the interactive features are available by swiping on the video and going to a landing page. This new format has proven to increase engagement rates significantly.

Why It’s Hot: As YouTube and Facebook go back and forth to claim dominance in the digital video space, both are opening up new features to brands. There is now more opportunity for brands to livestream content to viewers as well as more engaging videos. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see which platform can out-innovate the other, and what new capabilities are most effective for brands.





Excedrin Migraine Experience uses Empathy and Virtual Reality

Excedrin is aspirin, one of the first miracle drugs. As one of the US largest and most memorable brands it is well positioned for headaches, but also for low-level migraines.

To stay vital and relevant, large older brands often reach into the “insight hat” and develop a campaign around that insight. Clearly, in the case of the Excedrin Migraine Experience, the insight was: “as a migraine sufferer, no one really understands what you go through, but let us help.” The impact of empathy can be a strong brand differentiator.

The brand chose different pairs of people — loved one’s, couples, friends — and used the VR experience of what a migraine feels like (which is nauseous and awful) to those people who don’t understand how bad it truly is. The execution is well done and the strategy is powerful: Technology delivering empathy, with a brand helping to bridge the empathy divide between those who do an do not suffer.

“I’ll never doubt you again,” is the title of one testimonial.  On YouTube in less than a week they have over 300k views.



Excedrin mifriane VR HC hpome page 4.14.16Why is this Hot? This demonstrates that even large, older retail brands are trying new strategies to stay relevant and gain new attention. Relevance, in this case, is embracing technology to deliver emotion. The amalgam of Empathy and VR technology is a strategy that while in its nascent stages, is important to watch as it evolves and matures as a strategy for differentiation.

Working in the health vertical, it is clear that between poor reputation, bad User Experience, and stale content, the entire healthcare industry could really use the power of empathy. At the very heart and soul of empathy are the many employees, the creators of miracle after miracle, who could channel that passion to communicate to patients and create greater connection and perhaps treatment favorability. Delivering Empathy through technology might be having a VR experience of how the brain of an ADHD sufferer is wired is one example — for a parent with a child just diagnosed with ADHD that would be very compelling.

It is important to note that Excedrin is an “aisle” brand — pure retail. The real strategy is re-activating awareness of Excedrin and downloading coupons.

Excedin samples page 1 GHS 4.16.16

AR glasses from Facebook

Earlier this week, Facebook’s Oculus Rift, the clunky VR headset, shipped to the market. But Facebook has hopes for the tech and form factor to be reduced to the size of a normal pair of glasses.

During a recent developer conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated a concept pair of smart glasses that he envisions being able to view both virtual reality AND augmented reality. It would be similar to what Google Glass has tried to establish.

To distinguish, AR provides you overlays of data and information while you view the real world through the glasses vs VR, which is a virtual rendering of worlds.

There may be a race to market heating up as Microsoft just shipped its HoloLens headset to developers and Snapchat is apparently working on its own augmented reality glasses.


Why It’s Hot

AR and VR show true integration of the real world with information and data that can enrich our experiences. Particularly with augmented reality, overlaying information into your field of vision that is contextually relevant to what you are experiencing, can augment and enrich the experience.

Test drive your next car from your phone!

Alongside DDB Stockholm, Volkswagen has introduced a new and revolutionary way to test drive its cars with the aptly named pilot program Instant Test Drive. Just as simple as ordering pizza or requesting an Uber, the test drive experience is brought to consumers, on demand.


Instant Test Drive is made possible through an easy to use smartphone-tailored browser page. Users can choose which car they’d like to try and set their pick up location. The closest available car will be notified about the request and a Volkswagen-agent will head straight to the address with the car to meet them. The steering wheel is then handed over to the customer and they are given the freedom to choose their destination.

Why Its Hot: With fewer millennials buying new cars year over year and a growing popularity of companies such as Uber and Lyft, this approach by Volkswagen makes a TON of sense. Utilizing user trends and listening to what your audience wants is an integral part of what we do everyday. This stands as a key example as to how brands needs to listen and adapt in order to keep business and generate new fans.

3D Printing Comes to Mobile

A company called OLO on Kickstarter has developed a 3D printing kit that works with mobile phones. The kit has several moving parts so this is not something that the average person would carry around with them, but the possibility of enabling 3D printing using a phone is really great.

Story on Daily Dot

Site link

Why It’s Hot

Though still in the infant stages, portable 3D printing technology is moving at the speed of light. Only time will tell if portable 3D printing will support specific use cases or if it will be relegated to gimmick status.

VR to manage pain

With the overreliance on opioids to manage pain in the news today, one solution may be just a joystick away. Research has shown that psychology plays a critical role in how we experience both acute and chronic pain. The research also shows that pain sensations can be altered by what we think and feel.

Virtual reality games and rapid advances in technology have shown promise in tackling pain presumably by helping the person focus on other things. For example, virtual reality systems are starting to be used during painful procedures, such as dental procedures or changing burns dressings.
A new study published in the Royal Society Open Science let a group of healthy volunteers immerse their hands in cold water to the point where they could no longer tolerate it, while simultaneously playing a VR game. The study found that the highest pain tolerance levels occurred when both visual and sound sensory inputs were combined versus alone.

Why It’s Hot
With addition to prescription pain killers deemed an epidemic in the United States, alternative ways to manage acute and chronic pain are a necessity. Technology, specifically the use of virtual reality immerse technologies, may help provide one way to manage pain.

Consumers Dine Out More Amid Job Growth

A recent study by Visa Business and Economic Insights shows that consumer spending on restaurants has accelerated in recent years, thanks in part to strong growth in the job market, among other things.

According to the study, there is a direct correlation between increase in restaurant spend (especially among Millennials) and increase in jobs. It’s interesting to note that this sales increase in the restaurant segment is outpacing the growth of the overall retail sales, which indicates that, when it comes to retail spending, Americans (and especially Millennials) prioritize social/entertainment options like eating out, versus traditional retail spends that are more personal by nature, like fashion/clothing or personal care.

eat out

Another interesting learning shows that restaurant spending increased around the same time that gas prices plummeted, freeing up funds for discretionary spending. Restaurant credit spending growth began to accelerate in early 2014, with lower-income households (those earning less than $50,000/year) leading the way –the consumer group that benefited the most from the lower gas prices.













Why is this hot?

The correlation between economy/jobs and spending is well known, but the fact that eating out, a social activity by nature, is outpacing other retail categories, indicates a preference for bonding and connecting, over more individual rewards.

Instagram slowly becoming Facebook?

Since its introduction back in 2013, the ability to post videos to Instagram has proved monumentally important to the platform as many users have gone that route and moved away from Instagram’s photo-driven roots — the time people spent watching video on Instagram increased by more than 40 percent in the past six months alone. Now video posters will have even more flexibility as the Facebook subsidiary is now offering support for longer pieces. Previously limited to just 15 seconds, video uploads can now be up to 60 seconds in length — something that’s been available to advertisers for months, but a feature that’s just now rolling out to the public. And, as an added bonus for iOS users, Instagram is also bringing back the ability to make videos out of multiple clips from your camera roll.

WHY ITS HOT: Considering the recent algorithm change to Instagram, less will be more on the gram. High quality images in moderation will rise to the top and heavy posters will get left behind. With that being said, making a 60-second video for the platform might be a bit of a contradiction. Is this a move to developing greater content? Is it in-line with what we love about Instagram? Or is it a way to make more advertising dollars so that this content actually works? Guess time will tell on this one, but an interesting update nonetheless.

source: http://hypebeast.com/2016/3/instagram-60-second-video

Quilted Northern’s April Fools Ad

This April Fools season saw many great examples of fake ads as well as some not so great moments (*cough* Gmail Mic Drop *cough*).

Quilted Northern hit it out of the park with this fake ad about artisanal toilet paper.

Why It’s Hot

These days, I look forward to April Fools ads more than Super Bowl ads.

Netflix Makes Its Pre Roll More User “Friend”ly

To announce that all 10 seasons of the hit sitcom are now streaming, Netflix decided to remind YouTube users that Friends is relevant to all of life’s problems and experiences. The brand cleverly created preroll featuring scenes from the show that align with the specific search terms a user inputs to find a video. For example, an inquiry for makeup tutorials serves users a scene of Joey marketing makeup in Japan.

Why It’s Hot: This is the first responsive pre-roll execution of its kind, and successfully leverages the interests of the viewer to make the ad relative.


Netflix’s Clever YouTube Prerolls Use Your Searches to Cue Up Specific Scenes from ‘Friends’:

When Memes Takeover

Did anyone witness the NCAA Championship game this past Monday? And yes, I meant “witness.” History was made.

With 4 seconds left, UNC hit an improbable 3 point shot to tie the game, only to have their dreams shattered with a 3-point buzzer beater by Villanova to take the championship.

And what made the win even better was the historic role of memes. Yes, memes. Two memes destined to be together.

First, the Jordan cry faceScreen Shot 2016-04-07 at 6.40.43 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 6.36.18 PM

and yes…it wasScreen Shot 2016-04-07 at 6.41.32 PM

And then, there is the “Crying Piccolo Girl” who was caught on camera as Villanova’s Championship hopes were shattered last year when Villanova lost to NC State. Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 6.45.52 PM

Two memes, destined to meet in the final. A picture perfect ending only made better by the memes. Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 6.48.06 PM

Why It’s Hot:

This was a huge moment that was only made better by Twitter and the meme culture the internet has created. Everyone was able to share in the experience of not only a dramatic game ending, but a shared laguage around it.

Apple Wants You to Hear “Dylan’s Voice”

In observance of World Autism Day, Apple released a new campaign that chronicles the life of a teenage boy with autism who learned how to speak with his IPad.

16-year-old Dillan Barmache, couldn’t speak because of his form of autism, but with the help of his speech therapist and an IPad, he was able to write down his thoughts and feelings and have them voiced through the device. This approach was so effective that, two years ago, he was able to deliver a graduation speech.

Why its hot?

  • Technology helping better the qualityof life for people with disability
  • Emotional resonance that isn’t pushy with the product
  • Makes you feel good!

What It Looks Like When Your Social Media Presence Takes Physical Form

“The Social Ego” is a new project by agency RXM Creative that illustrates just how much our online social status affects our actual lives.

Connectivity is the most touted facet of social media, but let’s hear it for loneliness. Sure, Facebook digitally links you up with friends you’ve long since abandoned geographically, but it can also make you feel like the last person on the planet when those quasi-friends don’t like what you have to say or show. Very few modern experiences are more oddly isolating than the un-liked status update—that painting in a gallery that everyone walks right past. You could be at a restaurant surrounded by actual friends, post a picture of this summit online, and if nobody notices, feel even lonelier than if you were alone.

“The inspiration for the Social Ego came from the emotional turbulences we have individually gone through on social media, but also observing the huge impact a like can have on any of our friends and brands we work with,” says Raul Mandru, one of the RXM creative directors who brought the device to life, along with Mihai Botarel. “Although we still take social media with a touch of humor, it’s emotional impact is as real as it gets.”

Although the video is indeed funny, it also evokes the familiar panic of feeling unacknowledged. One scene uses the classic advertising signifier of sexual impotence, a sad couple in bed, next to a small Social Ego. It’s ridiculous, but not too far removed from the truth. Social media has given us a mainline to joy or sadness we never knew existed, turning neutrality uninteresting. Knowing that any picture or clever observation you post might not receive a warm welcome adds to the excitement. Every moment is a crap shoot, and doing nothing is boring.

What’s interesting, though, is that this condition doesn’t just exist among us plebs. Celebrities and even those who answer to a supposedly higher calling are held in social media’s thrall as well.

“Clearly in the media now the most prominent and also fluctuating Social Egos belong to the presidential candidates,” Mandru says. “Donald Trump must have a huge one, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton as well. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see their egos inflate and deflate in real time as the presidential race unfolds in social media?”

Source: FastCo


Why is this hot? Not, wait, I meant “sad”

Social media changed our self-awareness. That’s sad. Now, can a tool like this be used to increase other people’s self-esteem when they needed the most? Well, that’s still TBD, but if we find a way to do it, then that will be hot

New Report: Only 2% of Brands Get Social Right


Lithium Technologies released a comprehensive study analyzing brand social behaviors. They found despite opinion from brand leads that they are navigating well through digital transformation, a very slim percentage are actually truly engaging correctly with customers.  Focus is on pushing brands messages and personalizing mainly through social advertising, not real conversation.

“According to a Nielsen study, 93% of business leaders say their company is adapting well to digital transformation, but the authors of this report feel otherwise. Though three-fourths of online Americans in 2016 expect a response to their query within the same day, and in 2014, only two-thirds expected that. Only 2% of brands consistently respond to customers’ posts according to the study. In addition:

  • 95% of brands are stuck in “broadcast” mode – not engaging customers on social channels
  • Less than 40% of brands ever ask questions of their followers (39%) or engage with follower content (35%)”

The study argues brands must approach their work from a “lifestyle” perspective and integrate completely in conversation, something Lithium calls Total Community.

Cameras in the body. (Get my good side!)

Body Sensors Daso 3.9.16

There have been several Sci-fi movies over time that tell the story of people being shrunken down to then ride the blood stream and fix some horrific problem someone is suffering from. Well, forget shrinking people, the healthcare industry device manufacturers and many small start-ups have started an upward swing in using micro-cameras and sensors to help play the first line of defense in detecting diseases.

Examples? Sensors that are either ingested or inserted under the skin that can detect breast cancer, COPD, sight degeneration: that is just a sample of the Gold Rush to get a sensor or camera in your body.

One camera, created in Scotland, is using infrared to detect cancer growths in certain parts of the body. Said research associate Dr. Mohammed Al-Rawhani, in a university news release:  “The system could also be used to help track antibodies used to label cancer in the human body, creating a new way to detect of cancer.”

As of today, the FDA approved PillCam COLON2 (you really have to wonder who picks these names) which will be used for hi-risk colorectal cancer patients, a disease which is the 2nd biggest killer in the U.S.

HS Medtronic pill 4.1.16

Why is this hot? For two reasons: first, it is a sign that the reliance on technology is changing the observational role of the doctor — they are trained to watch your every gesture, emotions, words, all weighed against experience and intuition to lead a doctor down the detective path to a diagnosis. Sensors and cameras start to make them health technologists. Second, this will also enable to get ahead of many diseases, not behind. Don’t we all secretly, in some dark moment, wonder if a tumor is growing somewhere in your body, unknown and lurking?  That fear and the thousand shadows of uncertainty will be gone in a decade or less.

Personalized Experiences at SXSW: IBM vs. Kodak

We all love personalized experiences and both Kodak and IBM created activations to capitalize on this at SXSW. IBM had the Cognitive Studio located in the heart of downtown. Through a 5 minute check in and an RFID chip, IBM was able to deliver a personalized experience throughout the house to each guest. At the bar, checking in let the bartender know what drink you were in the mood for, and checking in with a computer, told you which Twitter influencer you were most like and what qualities you displayed; all powered by Watson. They included a nod from one of their earlier SXSW activations with Watson made tacos (previously they had a food truck for which Watson generated the recipes. The personalized content and immediate gratification (ie sharable content) made it worth waiting on line for and posting about.

Kodak offered a personalized experience as a way to launch their Moments app but it’s design only served one person at a time and required a 12 minute interview, those who didn’t have time to wait an hour for 5 people to experience it were left to observe a stranger’s experience; interesting, but not necessarily worth posting about. The experience made it unclear how the app works and how it would play a role in our lives. The videos of each persons experience was highly produced, and therefore not available to be shared immediately, meaning they missed out on some buzz. 


Why It’s Hot: Many brands can offer personalized experiences but it’s important to remember that scale is key, especially at SXSW. Additionally, the role of the product should be clear and simple. At the IBM house, how Watson was involved was clear every step of the way, with signage and many IBM representatives ready to share their knowledge with you. For Kodak, the role of the product was unclear, it seemed to be tied in to the general idea, but the value wasn’t clearly communicated.

Instagram: A Platform for Music Enthusiasts

Nielsen conducted a study to quantify Instagram’s impact on music sales and found that Instagram users spend 42 percent on music, tickets, and merchandise compared to the U.S. population averages. Other stats revealed that Instagram users spent more hours listening to music than average for the U.S. and were also more likely to listen to pop. Interestingly, Instagram Music fans also were twice as likely to pay for streaming music. Find more cool stats around this key audience in the article!


Why It’s Hot: Brands with a target that index high in music or attending live events should look to Instagram as an effective channel to reach and engage with these consumers.