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.