Venmo Wants to Turn Its Brand Into a Verb

Google, Instagram and Netflix all have one thing in common: They are brands that have become so synonymous with the industries that they specialize in that they’ve become verbs.

PayPal’s Venmo wants in on that space too and it’s launching a campaign called “Blank Me” today that puts a fun twist on its peer-to-peer payment services that lets people send money to each other.

Each piece of creative features a sentence with a verb missing that leaves users to fill in the blank like a game of Mad Libs. Some of the lines are intentionally suggestive: There’s “Let’s not make it awkward, just ___ me,” and “If you ___ the wrong person tonight, you’ll regret it in the morning,” for example.

The ads are appearing in bars, restaurants and college towns in markets like Chicago, Miami, Nashville and Dallas—all places where people may need to send money to their friends while out and about. The campaign also includes digital ad buys across Tinder, Spotify, Facebook and Twitter.

According to Venmo marketing director Kasia Leyden, the campaign “embodies the spirit of Venmo and celebrates Venmo’s verb status and place in the zeitgeist.”

Why its hot:

  • By strategically placing their adds in college towns, bars and restaurants, they are not only advertising where people need to transfer money between friends but also where they can stir conversation about the advertisement.
  • Venmo intentionally made the fill-in-the-blank open to interpretation, which encourages people to make the ad their own. By getting people involved and talking about these “Blank Me” ads they are also recalling the information.

Source

NYT Issues New Social Media Guidelines for the Newsroom

Image result for new york times

Last Friday, The New York Times announced an updated an expanded set of guidelines for their journalists’ use of social media, posting them publicly online.

“The new guidelines underscore our newsroom’s appreciation for the important role social media now plays in our journalism, but also call for our journalists to take extra care to avoid expressing partisan opinions or editorializing on issues that The Times is covering.”

Some key points:

• In social media posts, our journalists must not express partisan opinions, promote political views, endorse candidates, make offensive comments or do anything else that undercuts The Times’s journalistic reputation.

• Our journalists should be especially mindful of appearing to take sides on issues that The Times is seeking to cover objectively.

• These guidelines apply to everyone in every department of the newsroom, including those not involved in coverage of government and politics.

• On that same note, we strongly discourage our journalists from making customer service complaints on social media.

• If you are linking to other sources, aim to reflect a diverse collection of viewpoints.

Why its hot

Employers often don’t pay attention to what their employees are posting on social media until there is an actual problem. Some people will include their work information in their public social media profile, leaving them open to repercussions from angry followers. It’s certainly not uncommon to hear about a post going viral and the author losing their job.

In this case, The New York Times is in an interesting position. As journalists, they should remain impartial and report on news and current events. However, most people won’t follow a particular journalist just because they like their writing; they follow because they want a certain viewpoint. If journalists aren’t able to freely express themselves on social media, will people be less inclined to follow them? Additionally, should journalists express themselves publicly at all? Our country has perhaps never been more divided in terms of where we choose to get our news, and journalists have increasingly found themselves having to draw a line in the sand and defend themselves publicly from criticism. Taking their power away on social media makes this more difficult.

Twitter Finally Does Something About Online Harassment

This week Wired was leaked the exclusive scoop that the internal Trust and Safety Council at Twitter was looking to make changes after the popular #womenboycotttwitter movement last week. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey seems to confirm this in a series of tweets.

The list leaked to Wired of posts no longer allowed by Twitter were:

  • Non-consensual nudity
  • Unwanted sexual advances
  • Hate symbols and imagery
  • Violent groups
  • Tweets that glorify violence

Why it’s hot:

Twitter has a long history of avoiding harassment on its platform. As public outcry starts to grow about the #metoo and #womenboycotttwitter hashtags, Twitter is starting to feel the pressure. Ideally doing the right thing years ago would have been enough to trigger change, instead of a reactive response to public outcry.

 

 

zero training = zero problem, for AlphaGo Zero…


One of the major milestones in the relatively short history of AI is when Google’s AlphaGo beat the best human Go player in the world in three straight games early last year. In order to prepare AlphaGo for its match, Google trained it using games played by other Go players, so it could observe and learn which moves win and which don’t. It learned from essentially watching others.

This week, Google announced AlphaGo Zero, AI that completely taught itself to win at Go. All Google gave it was the rules, and by experimenting with moves on its own, it learned how to play, and beat its predecessor AlphaGo 100 games to zero after just over a month of training.

Why It’s Hot:

AI is becoming truly generative with what DeepMind calls “tabula rasa learning”. While a lot of AI we still see on a daily basis is extremely primitive in comparison, the future of AI is a machine’s ability to create things with basic information and a question. And ultimately, learning on its own can lead to better results. As researchers put it, “Even when reliable data sets are available, they may impose a ceiling on the performance of systems trained in this manner…By contrast, reinforcement learning systems are trained from their own experience, in principle allowing them to exceed human capabilities, and to operate in domains where human expertise is lacking.”

UPS dog Facebook page is good for our hearts and good for their business

UPS has been all over social media thanks to an effort by some of the drivers to bring some cheer into everyone’s life.

Sean McCarren, who has been driving for UPS for 17 years, started UPS Dogs five years ago for himself and other UPS drivers to share photos of dogs (and cats) that they meet during their rounds. Many drivers carry treats for their four-legged customers, some of whom have learned that the arrival of a big brown truck means snacktime.

Why it’s hot

Although the page is not officially associated with UPS, the company is making it known that they approve of spirit of the group, telling BuzzFeed News, “It’s a good example of the relationships our employees build with their customers, two- or four-legged!”

According to MRM’s Associate Director of UX, Spike McCue, “This is a great example of using digital to humanize clients by focusing on small pieces of their day to day work. We should be looking for opportunities to identify these relatable moments and highlight them”

Ok here’s another dog…

Learn more at UPS DogsNylon | BuzzFeed

The flying supermarket

German airline Lufthansa has partnered with an online supermarket so passengers can shop for groceries on their flight home and avoid returning to an empty fridge.

Passengers on long-haul flights can use Lufthansa’s in-flight internet, FlyNet, to access Rewe’s online delivery service and shop for groceries. Passengers can then select a delivery date and the food will arrive at their home (provided the address is in Germany) in a cool box. They are also planning to trial this in the US next year

The trial began on 1 October and will run until 1 December. For the first six weeks of the trial, the service will be available on long-haul flights to Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich. In the second six weeks, the service will be available on long-haul flights that have those three cities as the final destination.

Why it’s hot
From plane to home at just the right moment. Not only they deliver to your home but you can choose the exact time you want it to be delivered to your address.

The idea came from a customer survey where people said they want duty free products to b delivered home

Source: FutureTravelExperience.com

Bumble Launches Bizz, a Safe Career Networking App for Women


It’s a simple premise, but for the multitudes of women who report being routinely harassed by men on popular job-hunting sites like LinkedIn, it’s one that holds a lot of promise—something that Bumble’s latest app, Bumble Bizz, hopes to fulfill. In an effort to create a secure space for women to discuss their careers—and to curb the sexism and discrimination often found on professional networking sites—Bizz is putting emphasis on its “women first” experience, where, after swiping right on a prospective professional male connection, women have to be the first to send a direct message. “We’ve stayed focused on creating a community with a foundation built upon positivity, respect, confidence and encouraging women to make the first move,” explained the founder and CEO of Bumble, Whitney Wolfe Herd.

To use Bumble Bizz, users create a LinkedIn-style digital resume. You can upload education and professional experience details, write a professional bio, and note what kind of opportunities you’re looking for. There’s also a skills section to list talents and awards, and the option to include examples from your portfolio. Bumble Bizz will include a photo verification tool designed to help ensure people are who they say they are. It is also geo-targeted to make it easier to find someone who matches your job criteria and in your neighborhood and ready to connect. Age is also less important on Bumble Bizz – profiles don’t contain a user’s age – making it easier for potential business partners to focus on each other’s ability and skillset.

Bumble has more than 21 million users around the world and has facilitated more than 350 million women-led first moves. With the launch of Bumble Bizz, the company says it wants to “empower women to have the confidence to make the first move within a professional environment.” Bumble Bizz launched in the US, Canada, UK, France, and Germany on the App Store now and is coming to Android on October 18th.

Why It’s Hot
Despite the obvious comparisons to LinkedIn, Bumble seems set on distancing itself away from the platform, insisting that the app is designed for “networking and mentoring, not job searching or recruiting.” Women have recently encountered harassment on professional platforms, enduring uncomfortable and unwanted conversations. Bizz is designed to eliminate abuse and inappropriate behavior. Women have to make the first move!Currently in our social environment, this app is just what women need to feel empowered and in charge of their lives.

Netflix Show Narcos Allows You To Build An Empire Within Facebook Messenger

To promote the new season of Narcos, Netfrecentlynlty launched Narcos: Cartel Simulator, a game created to be played fully within the Facebook Messenger app.

The game takes place in 1994, and the aesthetic was drawn from games designed for graphing calculators and other LCD screens in the ’90s.

In the new Messenger game, you play a small-time drug dealer who owes money to the Cali Cartel. It’s essentially a game of supply and demand, as you travel drug marketplaces around the world, trying to buy low and sell high.

Why It’s Hot:

Facebook Messenger is popular among mobile users and quite easy to build within making it a great platform to promote things like new television shows on. The Messenger interface is perfect for a game like this, with most options, served to users as text-only multiple choice. Despite the minimalism, there’s enough to keep you engaged and, in the opening gameplay, quite stressed about your fate if you fail to give the cartel its due.

 

Increased Use of Point of Care Tactics Offer Opportunity For Better In-office Experience

MM&M announced this week that “up to 20% of pharma brands are moving digital media spend to point-of-care tactics” which was grounded in a study fielded by ZS Associates. To a certain extent, this is unsurprising as many forms of digital media such as social and display continue to face increasing scrutiny around the topic of ad fraud.

This will have an impact on two key audiences in healthcare marketing – patients and providers – which if well thought through, should be overwhelmingly positive.

Phreesia Patient Intake Platform

Patients

Platforms such as Phreesia offer patients the opportunity to engage with content as part of the intake process. The biggest challenge here will be placements that are relevant to the specific patient as there is a potential to spend effort on poor placements. Case in point; when I took my son to the pediatrician for his flu shot this year, I was offered the opportunity to “Learn More” about a branded product. The only thing I can recall about the brand is that is had nothing to do with why I was there and wouldn’t be appropriate for my son. Contextual relevance will be critical to success in these moments.

epocrates advertising platform from athenahealth

Providers

HCPs, particularly PCPs, are the target of massive amounts of marketing. Overwhelming is an understatement here. When you consider the necessity of staying abreast of current trends and new therapies, to a certain extent, they need to be exposed to these messages. However, when it’s all said and done, the moment that matters is when the Rx decision is made. The opportunity to be a relevant part of that moment as part of the HCPs workflow in the EHR/EMR offers pharma companies an incredible opportunity. When you consider the number of drugs that don’t have the budget for mass DTC advertising, the HCP really is the decision maker in the therapy of choice.

Why It’s Hot

While contextual relevance for audiences is improving and offers plenty of potential, the real win will be when a brand can own the conversation across the moments in an office visit.

Consider a diabetes patient checking in for a check-up who is offered a message around potential therapy they may be eligible with a DTC ad based upon key factors pulled through from their EHR.

Then, at the end of the appointment, the HCP if offered a targeted message in the EHR with a savings offer the patient can print and take with them.

With brands doubling down on these POC channels, we have the opportunity to take the in-office experience to new levels.

Overcoming the Challenges of Wearable Tech

Project Jacquard, an experimental initiative from Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, has partnered with Levi’s to create the Commuter Trucker denim jacket.


Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/40473911/google-and-levis-stitch-up-a-connected-jacket

“Aside from a couple of visual tells—subtle patches of raised stitches and a plastic button on its cuff—the Levi’s Commuter Trucker looks exactly like what you’d expect from the 144-year-old brand: a timeless jean jacket that keeps you warm while looking cool. But appearances deceive. The jacket is actually an interface between you and your phone. Brush, tap, or cover the right spot and you can answer or ignore calls, switch up your music, or get travel-time updates, all without looking at a screen.”

The Challenges

  1. Creating durable conductive thread. Tech is treated with gloves, textiles are meant to endure tough situations from being exposed to fire (to remove extra cotton fibers) to heated presses and pre-skewing (Levi’s process where toothed grips latch and torque the fabric).
  2. Figuring out how the wearer would interact with the interface, which is stitched onto the sleeve). “Levi’s and Google arrived at four main motions: brush in, brush out, tap, or cover the connected area. The actions are subtle enough so you can silence an incoming phone call during a conversation and it just looks like you’re brushing dust off your sleeve.”

Although relatively primitive, the gestures don’t do much more than what the remote control on earbuds, this is a starting point.

Why it’s hot:

  • Because although voice-based interactions are becoming more an more prevalent (Siri or Alexa), touch still has an important role to play in our future interactions with new technology meant to disrupt and replace our screens.

Bud Light Wants Millenials To “Drink With Their Face”

What if a real-life commercial looked, sounded and felt like an SNL skit? It’s happened before, both purposely and accidentally, and it’s happening now in the U.K. with a new Bud Light ad.

The AB InBev brand, which launched there earlier this year, parodies a bunch of hipster, millennial-targeted ad tropes with a musical number that features sun-drenched beaches (in England?) and beautiful “friends” enjoying their bohemian lives. Even a pet rabbit, inexplicably used as a prop, is “an 8 out of 10” on the looks scale, the commercial says.

It’s bull’s-eye self-aware marketing.

The ongoing campaign, dubbed “Keep it Bud Light,” recently teased a line of branded “leisurewear” consisting of tube socks, shower shoes, scarves and cross-body bags. AB, whose execs say the apparel and accessories are not a joke, calls the “fashionable” product a lighthearted take on streetwear.

Its bright-blue logo-heavy kimonos make an appearance in the new 30-second spot, from Wieden + Kennedy London, that sings about its “super-cool girl with aspirational friends, lifestyle ad with Bud Light at the end.” There’s an identifiable dash of Lonely Planet throughout, especially when the song says: “Follow your heart, those pants are quite tight/Drink with your face, and keep it Bud Light.”

As part of the brand’s across-the-pond push, the ad will air on TV and in cinemas, with digital versions planned that will star the cast of the hero spot. AB plans a “significant” spend on digital via Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube through the end of the year.

The ad aims to give Bud Light “a distinctive voice in the U.K. beer world,” Ray Shaughnessy, the agency’s creative director, said in a statement. “We’ve tried to make it clear that this is a co-ed beer brand having a laugh because—wait for it—turns out both men and women enjoy beer as well as a chuckle.”

Why it’s hot:

  • An upcoming trend in advertising is this satirical style of commercial that pokes fun of the industry while managing to break through. Bud Light succeeded in making a commercial worthy of going viral that still featured their product and branding prominently.
  • Bud Light released their athlesiure line in the UK a few weeks ago, however it seemed off-brand and like they didn’t quite understand their market. Turns out this clothing line directly relates to this series of commercials that features the brand breaking through the fourth wall so to speak. If Bud Light reversed the order of these activations it easily could have had a higher impact and better relevance with the audience.

Adobe’s VR Sound Design Project – #SonicScape

One of Adobe’s newest project involves giving users a 360 interface to edit 3D sounds. Instead of needing to figure out the exact panning, echoing, delays, etc to fake a 3D sounds, this project lets sound designers see and move their audio files in 3D space. This is pretty similar to what I’m used to doing already in 3D games with Unity, but it’s great to see it available for 360 sound design in general.

Why it’s Hot:

  • Innovative way to deal with an interface issue
  • Allows sound designers an easy way to create 360 sounds

It’s just a prototype for now, but may be making into into an Adobe product in the future.

Google Maps Pulls Calorie-Counting Feature After Criticism

Stephanie Zerwas, the clinical director of the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders at the University of North Carolina, was trying to find a restaurant in Orlando, Fla., last weekend, so she put the address into Google Maps for directions.

She was baffled to see a new feature: The iPhone app told her that walking instead of driving would burn 70 calories. While it was perhaps meant as an incentive to walk, those with eating disorders might instead fixate on the number, a dangerous mind-set that counselors try to minimize, she said.

“We’ve gotten into this habit of thinking about our bodies and the foods we take in and how much activity we do as this mathematical equation, and it’s really not,” she said. “The more we have technology that promotes that view, the more people who may develop eating disorders might be triggered into that pathway.”

On Monday night, Google pulled the feature, which it said was an experiment on its iOS app. The decision followed a wave of attention on social media; while some of the responses saw Google’s feature as promoting exercise, there were several complaints that it was dangerous or insulting.

Some users were especially upset that the app used mini cupcakes to put the burned calories into perspective, framing food as a reward for exercise, or exercise as a prerequisite for food. (One mini cupcake, it said, was worth a little less than 125 calories, but no information was provided about how that calculation was made.)

Calorie counting has long been a contentious topic at the nexus of nutrition, exercise and eating disorders. In New York, among other cities, some restaurants are required to post calorie numbers on their menus and displays, an effort the Trump administration is trying to overturn. The Affordable Care Act required some national restaurants to do the same, though the Food and Drug Administration repeatedly delayed the deadline.

Source: NY Times

Why It’s Hot: Interesting example of brands adjusting strategy based on social media feedback. What was probably considered a useful, helpful feature by developers was clearly not well received by customers.

90 terabytes of facial recognition

China facial recognition

China is building the world’s most powerful facial recognition system with the power to identify any one of its 1.3 billion citizens within three seconds. The government states the system is being developed for security and official uses such as tracking wanted suspects and public administration and that commercial application using information sourced from the database will not be allowed under current regulations.

“[But] a policy can change due to the development of the economy and increasing demand from society,” said Chen Jiansheng, an associate professor at the department of electrical engineering at Tsinghua University and a member of the ministry’s Committee of Standardisation overseeing technical developments in police forces.

Chinese companies are already taking the commercial application of facial recognition technology to new heights. Students can now enter their university halls, travellers can board planes without using a boarding pass and diners can pay for a meal at KFC. Some other restaurants have even offered discounts to customers based on a machine that ranks their looks according to an algorithm. Customers with “beautiful” characteristics – such as symmetrical features – get better scores than those with noses that are “too big” or “too small” and those that get better scores will get cheaper meals.

More at South China Morning Post and ABS-CBN.

Why It’s Hot
Another weekly installment of balancing convenience and claims of safety with privacy and ethics. China is pushing us faster than most other countries to address this question sooner rather than later.

LAPD Gets Green Light For a Drone Pilot Program

The LAPD got the go-ahead this week from a civilian oversight panel to roll out a year-long drone pilot program. The panel voted 3-1 on this contentious issue, and the city is set to start using two drones within the next 30 days. The LAPD is the nation’s largest police force, so the implications for this development are huge.

Advocates for the drone program say it will protect officers and civilians by using drones instead of humans to gather crucial information in dangerous situations (active shooters, hostage situations, search & rescue missions, etc). The pilot program comes with strict rules on when the drones may be used – only with SWAT team members in the aforementioned dangerous situations – and every flight must be approved, documented, and reviewed. There’s a ban on facial recognition software and drone-operated weapons, and the Police Commission with publish quarterly reports on all drone activity.

Even with these restrictions in place, the program is facing heavy criticism from the public, as well as civil liberty and privacy organizations (the ACLU of Southern California and the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition sent letters to the LAPD urging them to kill the pilot program). The outcry all comes down to one thing: Trust. The LAPD has a contentious history with regard to technology implementation, most prominently in its rollout of body cameras without a policy in place to release the footage to the public. Jim Lafferty, the executive director emeritus of the National Lawyers Guild Los Angeles, says:

“Mission creep is of course the concern. . . . The history of this department is of starting off with supposedly good intentions about the new toys that it gets . . . only to then get too tempted by what they can do with those toys.”

Los Angeles isn’t the first city to attempt to use drones as a part of their police forces – and this isn’t even the first time the LAPD has tried to use drones. Seattle tried to start up a police drone program in 2013, but after heavy criticism from the public, the city killed the program and sent their drones to Los Angeles. The public outcry followed the drones to LA, and the LAPD also grounded and ultimately destroyed the drones without ever using them.

So why, a few years later, are they reviving and pushing forward with this program? Charlie Beck, the LAPD police chief, said at the panel vote meeting that more agencies are using drones, and there’s a “much more robust feedback mechanism” in place now. Time will tell whether these factors have any influence on keeping the drone program within their stated bounds.

Why it’s hot (and/or terrifying, depending on your view): The LAPD is the nation’s largest police force, and the outcomes of this pilot program will have a significant impact on future developments in unmanned civilian surveillance by our own government.

LA Times | Engadget

Marriott + Slack = Thumbs Up

 

Marriott has introduced a new Slack extension that lets teams browse and book hotel rooms directly in their chats. There is even an emoji feature.

The user provides a city and dates, and the extension will serve up a handful of options. Everyone in the chat can then vote using Slack’s emoji reactions on which option they want. When the votes are in, you can book the winning hotel right within the slack chat.

The extension is limited to hotels affiliated with Marriott’s Rewards program, but the company promises the Slack tie-in will aways turn up the lowest possible rate.

“Marriott also has the distinction of being the first hotel chain to have a dedicated Slack experience, though the hotel chain has previously dabbled in messaging, with a bot for Facebook Messenger and an iMessage app.

The extension was was built by a company called Snaps, which also makes emoji apps for businesses (and Kim Kardashian, as it turns out), so it’s not surprising they’d bring an emoji component to Slack as well.”

Why it’s hot: This takes some of the pain out of booking hotels (especially for business travel through concur) and allows multiple parties to weigh into booking decisions. Additionally, this further positions Marriott as a leading hotel chain leveraging technology to make their guests lives easier (recently launched an AI chat bot for in-hotel experience).

Source: Mashable

Adaptable Crosswalks

Umbrellium, a London-based design firm, created a prototype of a new, digital cross walk that embeds LED lights in strong high-impact plastic that can withstand the weight and impact of cars.

Here is how the designers thought about prioritizing the pedestrian and adaptive environments:

“Typically, when we hear about road technology, it’s almost always about cars, autonomous vehicles, traffic light control systems, but what we wanted to do is create a pedestrian crossing technology that puts people first, responding to their needs,” he says. In this case, “technology enables a more interactive, fluid, and adaptive relationship between pedestrians and the street–you might almost think of it as a ‘conversational interface’ with the road.”

Here are some examples of how the crosswalk adapts:

  • When raining or if a child runs into the road, the crosswalk creates a larger buffer zone.
  • Near a school, the crossing could create a larger buffer zone when a polluting vehicle is waiting.
  • Early in the morning, when few pedestrians are out, the crossing won’t appear until someone approaches.
  • The crosswalk will adapt over time to the natural path and shortcuts that pedestrians take.

Why It’s Hot: This prototype is still in the beginning stages, but the design firm seems to be on the mark about how to use research and machine learning to create an adaptive system that reflects the variety of needs of a crosswalk and prioritizes the pedestrian. As they continue to develop this prototype they are planning to expand its capabilities, such as providing audible signals for the visually impaired.

Source

Not Your Average Billboard

Aside from the massive upgrade to the screens in this area, the new screen (Smart TV —  even better than-4K and larger than a tennis court) will secretly spy on its environment to deliver targeted ads.

Clearly this is going to raise some privacy concern like: What kind of information will the screen detect? Will the data be collected and stored? Will personal information be shared with third-party advertisers? Are there any risks associated with hacking the camera and the billboard?

http://mashable.com/videos/blueprint:YxlJr2yl98/

Why It’s Hot: This new type of display allows billboards to reach audiences with more targeted ads. There are cameras embedded within the screen that has the ability to track the make, model and color of passing cars. In doing so, the billboard can serve more targeted ads based on the consumer passing by. According to Landsec (company that created the screen), content can also be delivered based on the characteristics of the crowd, such as gender, age, and even emotions!

http://mashable.com/2017/10/13/piccadilly-circus-lights-screen-targeted-ads/?utm_cid=hp-n-1#j7j.9IiAbkqm

Burger King Fights Bullying

In their latest ad, Burger King speaks out against bullying in an effort to bring awareness to National Bullying Month which takes place in October.

The ad documents a real-life social experiment where they hired teenage actors who were supposed to portray bullies, picking on their target in public. Burger King set up hidden cameras to capture real-life customers’ reactions to the teens bullying their “friend”. The customers that were shown during this phase of the commercial look shocked, but don’t speak up. They continue to enjoy their meals as the teen is getting bullied and picked on by his peers.

Next, they showed what it looks like to “bully” a Whopper Jr. They had their cooks “punch” the Whopper, wrap it up and serve it to customers. Each customer with a burger that came out sub-par, brought their smashed burger to the cashier’s attention. The cashier responds, “is your burger bullied” – the customers were thrown off guard, not understanding the context of what was happening.

They flash two statistics onto the screen; “90% of customers reported the bullied Whopper Jr,” while only “12% of customers stood up to the High School Jr. being bullied.” The ad demonstrates that bystanders to bullying find it easier to not get involved, than to stick up for the person who is being bullied.

As the ad concludes, two different customers are shown as “heroes” as they go up to the teen who is being bullied, and set his peers straight. One goes as far as to give his testament as to why he decided to stick up for the kid being bullied, noting that he has been in his position before. The last image to appear on the screen says, “Help stop bullying at nobully.org”

Why Its Hot:
Burger King wins with this one, as far as social-purpose advertising goes. Not only do they stand up for a cause that needs to spoken up for much more from large brands, they do it well. The end user feels as though they are getting something from watching this ad, and the timeline of the events hooks them on to watch until the end.

Is Facebook Worried It’s Starting to Show Some Grey?

This week the world’s most popular social network acquired the teen-focused platform tbh, as in “to be honest,” for an undisclosed sum. (TechCrunch reported the purchase price was less than $100 million.)

tbh has generated a following among younger users with its unabashed embrace of positivity. The service lets users anonymously send compliments to their networks by responding to emoji-laden polls that ask questions such as, “Who makes you laugh the hardest?”

“When we set out to build tbh, we wanted to create a community that made us feel happier and more confident about ourselves. We felt that people craved genuine and positive interactions in their online experiences,” the company wrote in a blog post announcing its sale to Facebook.

Facebook is likely drawn to the platform’s popularity among younger demographics, which the aging social network is having some trouble with of late. eMarketer projects there will be more US Snapchat users than Facebook users in the 12-to-24-year-old demographic by the end of this year.

Why it’s hot?

  • Ever since Facebook’s failure to acquire Snapchat, they have made it their mission to build or buy things to usurp Snapchat’s power. Here an example of another relatively minor bet Facebook is making to upset Snapchat’s grip on the younger demographic which is slipping through their fingers.

 

Headless Pet

Want a pet but are too lazy, allergic, or maybe even a little weird? Japanese company, Yukai Engineering produced a solution: Qoobo! It’s basically a headless, motion-detecting cat pillow. For just $100, it’s expected to be in your lap by June 2018.

Why is this hot?

All jokes aside; this product can be greatly therapeutic and eliminates responsibility. It also gives us insight as to where technology is today. If pets are absolutely not an option, this is an easy Plan B. (Comes in Husky Gray & French Brown!)

Here’s the source: click!

The Architecture of Mars

While we’ve talked about the projects in the U.A.E. to study the effects of how humans could live on Mars, an article by Fast Company this week takes a deeper dive into the architects who are imagining the structure and design system. Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG), a Copenhagen architecture firm, is beginning the design process for prototypes for Martian colonies. BIG is taking into account site specificity and designing a system that accommodates for climate and resources while also being able to scale and become self sustaining.

Here are some renderings of the interior domes:

BIG is known for their simple and communicative diagrams that explain the thought process of their designs. Here is a series that shows the the ways they are planning to accommodate for the restrictions of life on Mars. They also show how this design system is scalable over time.

Why It’s Hot: The science behind this Mars project is fascinating, but the design and architecture is as engaging. These architects are conceptualizing a new architectural paradigm. They are utilizing the principles of design thinking to take into account the business and user needs and pain points.

Source

A good flight’s sleep

Casper mattresses and American Airlines have teamed up to improve sleeping experience on the plane.

Starting December passengers in First, Business and Premium Economy classes will get the chance to try specially-designed mattress pads, pillows, lumber pillows, blankets, duvets, pyjamas and slippers.

The partnership gives passengers a chance to try Casper’s products and American Airlines a chance to offer better in-flight experiences.

Why it’s hot: a partnership that’s truly strategic and adds value to each brand.

Source

Burger King and Wendy’s Sass War

Happy Friday!

Burger King and Wendy’s are back at it with the sass! It all started when I was browsing Twitter and came across this tweet…

This post is someone says “@Wendys why did you get rid of spicy nuggets? I am heartbroken.” This post is ALSO promoted by Burger King. Which if you know anything about social, you know that in order to promote a post on someone else’s page, you need to Whitelist the post. So, this means that Burger King reached out to this person and asked to whitelist their post…. savage.

Wendy’s recently got rid of their Spicy Nuggets just as Burger King started promoting their Spicy Nuggets and Burger King is going through great lengths to promote their nugget product.

This picture shows a Burger King billboard right by a Wendy’s restaurant, promoting their spicy nuggets.

Why its hot?

  • I just think this is a very interesting example of brand vs. brand. Wendy’s has yet to comment, but hold tight, its only been a day. Wendy’s is known for their sass and savagery when it comes to interacting on Twitter with competitors.
  • ALSO — On Oct. 13 from noon until closing time, anyone named Wendy can receive a free ten piece order of the new nuggets — you just have to show up to one of the participating locations in Los Angeles, Miami and New York City with a valid ID.

https://www.today.com/food/burger-king-spicy-chicken-nuggets-war-wendy-s-t117318

Snapchat introduces Context Cards

Snapchat is introducing Context Cards, a way for users to see reviews and maps of where their friends are checking in. From there you can make reservations or call the retail locations.

Why It’s Hot?

Snapchat kind of exists in a world of its own and anytime it integrates with other apps and plays nice, it’s a boon for marketers. This integration is pretty seamless and seems like a great way to bring in the larger internet snugly into the new “maps” piece of the Snapchat world. I hope Snapchat always sticks to their guns, and keeps their interface contained, as they continue to incorporate into the larger picture.

Machine learning as film critic

While identifying a Wes Anderson movie is probably something many moviegoers could do without complex AI, the creator of a new machine learning program called Machine Visions is hoping he can learn more about what makes an auteur’s works distinct.

[Yannick] Assogba uses four of Anderson’s films as source for his project — The Life AquaticThe Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise Kingdom — from which he extracts a frame every 10 seconds, for a sample of 2,309 frames in total.

Assogba investigates color and recurring motifs in Anderson’s works, drawing out themes from the machine learning much faster than a human would be able to watch and process the images.

The Life Aquatic pixel grid

Each frame that the program analyzed from The Life Aquatic is displayed as a single pixel in this grid

Why It’s Hot

Machine visions not only provides an interesting way to look at film and cinematography through the lens of technology, it provides a detailed and accessible framework for starting to understand machine learning. By introducing people to machine learning through art and pop culture, Assogba gives both technical and non-technical people a reason to explore further.

“It can suggest similarities and juxtapositions for a human to look at, some are ones we would find ourselves while others might be surprising or poetic because of imperfections in the algorithms and models.”

Learn more  i-DMashable | Machine Visions

VR Replacement for your PC and 3D Facebook Posts

Oculus’ Connect 4 VR conference held place recently and Facebook announced some awesome stuff. I’ll be focusing on the two that stood out for me, but you can see some others on this article.

First one that caught my attention was the Oculus Dash, Facebook’s new user interface that let’s users customize their VR Home space with the goal of replacing traditional computer monitors in a very Minority Report-style way.

Users can easily open apps and move windows in the 3D space around them. Dash will let users open desktop apps like Facebook, Messenger, YouTube, Spotify, and Chrome.

 

The next that that caught my attention was Facebook’s new 3D posts in the newsfeed. It will allow users and brands to post interactive 3D models right in their newsfeed. These can be simple 3D objects that users can rotate around and zoom in on, or more interactive. For example, the demo below shows how users can open a 3D car door.

 

Why it’s hot:

  • Oculus Dash is helping VR become a replacement for PCs, with it’s dropped price point and new features we may see more users picking one up
  • Brands can now make interactive 3D posts on Facebook

More info:

Bookmark your tweets!

Twitter's Adding a New Bookmarks Feature to Help Keep Track of Tweets | Social Media Today

So much content, so little time. I see so much throughout the day that I cannot read it all, so I save links as much as possible. Facebook lets you save articles and videos, and even reminds you about unread saves, but Twitter has only just now added a save function.

Previously, most users would “like” a tweet to be able to come back to it, or email the link to themselves. “Liking” a tweet is a public action, and not all users want that event out in the world for all to see. Also, a “like” will influence Twitter’s algorithm and what ads and recommended accounts they show you. The ability to bookmark tweets makes it easier for users to save what they’re interested in and improves overall platform performance.

Why its hot

Bookmarking tweets seems like an obvious idea, even if it flies in the face of Twitter’s position as the “live news” platform. I like this change as someone who frequently sees content I’m interested in, but don’t have time to read it. I am also curious to see if “bookmarks” becomes a part of Twitter’s standard analytics offered to brands and publishers.

Mayor to review 1,000 Amazon products in bid for company’s new HQ

It’s been about a month since Amazon announced it was accepting bids from US cities to host its second major headquarters. A city that comes away with a new Amazon campus could potentially see a significant economy boost, so competition will certainly be fierce. And with the deadline for cities to submit their proposals exactly one week away, Kansas City, Missouri has emerged as perhaps the city with the most creative strategy. As noted by VentureBeatKansas City mayor Sly James purchased 1,000 products from Amazon for charity and is reviewing every single one — and the reviews very quickly pivot into why his city would be a great place for the company’s new HQ.

James explained his plan with a few videos on Twitter and also set up a URL that lets interested parties (like Amazon) see everything he’s reviewed. Products run the gamut from 22-inch wind chimes priced at only $14.99 (“I live in beautiful Kansas City where the average home price is just $122K, so I know luxe living doesn’t have to cost a ton”) to the classic kids story Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (“Alexander had a really bad day, but here in KC, we’re ranked as one of the 20 happiest cities to work in right now…”). You get the idea.

Video here

Site here

James just kicked the program off earlier this week, but he already has posted dozens of reviews — though a read through his entertaining Twitter feed makes it sound as if he’s not actually doing all the posting himself. But there’s little doubt this goofy but heartfelt venture is driving some positive buzz for Kansas City. Whether or not that’ll make a difference in the bidding process remains to be seen, but the city does meet enough of Amazon’s criteria that it should be in the running.

Source: Engadget

Why it’s Hot:

Going all out for your city’s economic growth means more than formal pitches, apparently. Taking to social to find humorous and creative ways to stand out is a solid idea — let’s see how it pans out for KC’s chances!