Snapchat and Adidas Snap Only Shoe Sells out in 6 Hrs

Snapchat and Adidas put together a winning partnership. Adidas sold a new pair of shoes exclusively on the social media platform. By nailing the demographic exactly right (70 percent of consumers were 13 to 24-year-old women), they were able to sell out the new shoe in 6 hours (in Adidas defense, the last iteration of this shoe sold out in 24).

There was a direct e-com in app purchasing that allowed sales to be seamless. This was a great way to get the word out and the shoe out to influential people online before the wide release of the shoe.

Why it’s hot?

Adidas acknowledges the high value of a Snapchat audience, not just at CPC or ROI. These are people who are more likely to share their purchases and therefore provide added value.

Dating meets baby sitting

Meetic, a French dating company that also owns Match.com in Europe, is offering childcare vouchers as an incentive to attract more single parents to its platform.

Any single parent in France who subscribes to Meetic’s dating service before 31 October will receive a voucher for three hours of childcare through Yoopies, an online hub that connects parents and babysitters, and includes reviews and recommendations.

The free childcare is provided in the form a €30 ($35.11) voucher for Yoopies, and is based on the €10 ($11.70) per-hour average cost of a babysitter on the platform. The three hours figure was arrived at after research by the dating company showed that a typical date lasted 163 minutes.

In addition to the babysitting vouchers, any single parent that subscribes to Meetic during the promotional period will get free access to Yoopies’ premium service for two months.

Why its hot?
Matching two of the most important human needs of single parents
(25% of children in Paris lived with a single parent and 70% of single parents said they didn’t have time to find love.)

Internet-connected robots help combat isolation and loneliness

AV1, a cute-looking, internet-connected robot made by Oslo-based start-uo No Isolation helps children who have chronic diseases unable to attend school participate in classes remotely and keep in touch with teachers and friends.

Instead of studying on their own at home, these children can study along their friends at school via the robot. The robot can sit in the classroom and live stream video and audio back to a tablet or smartphone. Children at home can speak through the robot and participate in the class. They can also control where the robot is looking.

The robot’s head will blink to alert the teacher if the student wants to ask a question. It’ll also turn blue to signal the teacher that the student becomes too sick or tired to participate.

AV1 robot on a classroom desk

Why it’s hot: Being present for an occasion is easier than ever. For people with chronic diseases internet-connected robots make them feel comfortable for being present without displaying their illness.

Source

Coffee Delivery Drones Could Be Coming to Offices Soon

IBM has dreamed up the ultimate boost to employee productivity: drones that deliver coffee to people’s desks. They’ve filed a patent for technology that can identify the “cognitive state” of office workers to detect when a cup of coffee is needed.

IBM patent coffee delivery drone

The patent describes how the drones may be able to detect blood pressure, pupil dilation, and facial expressions that indicate a person is drowsy. The technology will also store individual preferences like what type of coffee they enjoy or whether or not they take sugar.

There are multiple ways in which coffee delivery can work: one option is to have coffee poured directly into a person’s mug, while another delivers coffee in a sealed bag. People can also summon coffee with a hand gesture.

Why It’s Hot

While it’s unclear whether IBM will actually build this coffee delivery system and how soon it could come to life, the technology has the potential to completely overhaul the office coffee break.

Source: Popular Mechanics

 

Functional Medicine a (W)holistic Approach

Gone can be the days of impersonal, rushed doctor’s visits. Parsley health focuses on functional medicine, seeing patients as a whole person, instead of looking at you in a snapshot of time. The $150 a month subscription is not meant as a replacement for health insurance, but as more of an overall health barometer. The tech reliant company leverages today’s tools to make the process as convenient as possible. From the booking process being done online to doctor’s notes, medical records, and health coach messages available on an easy-to-navigate dashboard. The whole process even starts with an “uber for blood” home blood test.

Parsley also built data tracking into its system to assess and compare outcomes–a method rarely found in general primary care. It also built the Parsley Symptom Index, used to give clients a clinical health score. Before each visit, patients fill out a survey that helps the medical team monitor progress and outcomes. Over the course of a year, Parsley’s digital system then adds thousands of data points to a patient’s charts, which enable them to change course should a method or treatment show little improvement.
https://www.fastcompany.com/90224888/is-this-150-a-month-holistic-primary-care-service-the-future-of-medicine

The average visit with a Parsley doctor is 75 mins long and encompasses a deep analysis of all aspects of the patient’s life. Also included in the service is access to health and wellness coaches.

Why it’s hot:

90% of health is dependent on social determinants, but we only get an average of 11 seconds to tell doctors our symptoms. Parsley goes beyond putting a band-aid on the problem to find a long-term solution for health issues.

Pay-Per-Day Travel Insurance

British fintech company Revolut has announced a pay-per-day travel insurance for its customers, activated by geolocation technology. The new service, available through the main Revolut app for up to 40 days abroad, automatically detects when a customer is leaving or returning to their home country and turns their cover on or off

The service starts from as little as £1.00 ($1.28) per day and includes medical and dental insurance. And for those who travel frequently the company offers a fixed year policy for £30 ($38.30).

Why it’s hot

The many inefficiencies in the insurance sector (complicated products, unreasonably priced services, claims rejection) have given the industry a bad rep.

To earn people’s trust companies have to improve the customer experience and their products. The must show that they have people’s best interest in mind (and not just their own profit). We have seen a number of brands in the insurance sector who have been praised for taking steps in this direction.

LEGO builds a drivable Bugatti

“Made from more than a million pieces, it’s the first fully functional, self-propelled life-size LEGO Technic car ever built.”

The real Bugatti Chiron “has 1,500hp (1119kW) and a top speed in excess of 261mph (420km/h); the LEGO Technic Bugatti makes just 5.3hp (3.9kW) and tops out at 12.4mph (20km/h).”

Can’t wait to see someone in Connecticut driving one of these in the fast lane on the I-95.

Story on Ars Technica

Why it’s Hot

While the car is totally undriveable, the stunt is a good way to promote both brands simultaneously.

Prime Design & How Fitting Rooms Could Become Obsolete

Amazon’s private label fashion business has faced several hurdles, but continued investment – Prime Wardrobe, Echo Look, and numerous pure play e-comm acquisitions – proves that they won’t stand for anything less than front row.

Recently, Amazon has acquired Body Labs – a firm which promises to bring 3D models to life. For fashion, accurately predicting size and fit across a diverse consumer base has always been a reach goal. Designers and other stakeholders in the supply chain have long relied on antiquated data, often based on models of an average person, and no one brand has found a scalable solution for custom-designed clothing.

While Body Labs can’t solve for customized design, it can provide brands with a range of different models and bodies that would validate the fit of different patterns, which makes for better fitting clothing.

If Amazon’s private label clothing knows your fit better than any brand can, why would you shop anywhere else?

Why it’s hot:

As personalization is becoming table stakes, Amazon’s foray into one of the most significant aspects of individual expression once again shows that any market can instantaneously become amazon-takes-all.

 

 

 

From discarded flowers to paint

 

Paint company JAT Holdings has created a new line of colourful paints made out of the waste from Buddhist flower offerings.

One way Buddhists express their devotion is by placing flowers at temples or shrines. This act symbolises the impermanent nature of life, or samsara.

Ordinarily, the flowers are thrown away. JAT Holdings collected kilos of the discarded flowers and used their pigmentation to create new paints.

The Petal Paint comes in five shades, each one designed to reflect a different ring in the Buddha’s halo. The colours include Lotus Red, Pigeonwing Blue, Trumpet Yellow, Marigold Orange and Temple Flower White.

JAT is selling Petal Paint in its own stores and is also donating the product to temples for local artists to restore the colourful art on the ceilings and walls.

The packaging imitates temple artwork, so that when the cans are stacked in store it creates the impression of a temple wall.

‘We created Petal Paint to give something back to Sri Lanka’s heritage and culture,’ Richard Gunawardene, head of marketing at JAT Holdings, told Sri Lankan newspaper Lankadeepa. ‘Petal Paint combines the best of our traditional culture – the use of pigments from nature – with the most advanced technology in paint manufacturing, to create a paint that matches the traditional temple mural colours and also provides a more long-lasting solution to temple artists.’

Giving Musk a Run for His Money

Russia’s (in)famous Kalashnikov manufacturing company has revealed it’s first electric car. The prototype, shown for the first time at an event near Moscow is a throwback to a Soviet hatchback created in the 1970s. But it’s looks are the only thing retro about it. It’s makers have said it is a revolutionary cutting-edge “supercar” that can compete with the likes of Tesla.

There are still some kinks to iron out, but they’re hoping they’ll be able to offer would be able to travel 220 miles (350 km) on a single charge and with a higher top speed than other e-cars on the market.

“Kalashnikov has been looking to take its brand in different directions and recently launched a clothing line and a catalogue of personal items ranging from umbrellas to smartphone covers.”

Reactions to this latest venture have been mixed, from ridicule to praise of its cool look.

Why it’s hot:

  1. It’s a bold and interesting design choice and it will be interesting to see whether this sparks a trend in a greater variety of e-car designs.
  2. A good example of the growing trend of companies diversifying their brand offerings.

Source: https://themoscowtimes.com/news/kalashnikov-unveils-electric-car-seeking-to-dethrone-tesla-62644

Roaming Animal Crackers

Since 1902, packages of Animal Crackers have featured various animals in cages, but not any more.

Now Nabisco–makers of Barnum’s Animal Crackers–has teamed up with PETA to release a new design of its cracker box, and it will make your heart feel as warm and fuzzy as when you’re watching Planet Earth. On the new box, the animals roam free–nay–the zebra, elephant, lion, giraffe, and gorilla are strutting free along the Serengeti with serious attitude and a golden-hour hue.

PETA actually flagged the box to Mondelez International, the parent company of Nabisco. Rather than shooing PETA away, the company entered a discussion with the animal rights group. PETA even submitted a new box design for consideration–taking a proactive stance on developing new branding that could work for the company. It was spiritually similar to what Mondelez ultimately went with, showing Africa’s animals midstride in the wild.

PETA’s mockup:

“The new box for Barnum’s Animals perfectly reflects that our society no longer tolerates caging and chaining exotic animals for circus shows,” writes the organization. “PETA is celebrating this redesign just as we’ve celebrated the closure of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and an end to the use of wild animals in many other circuses.”

Final design:

Why its hot

Addressing cruelty in products will almost always result in goodwill from consumers, but it’s interesting that a brand that hasn’t changed their packaging in since 1902 didn’t think of it sooner. “Animal crackers” is a ubiquitous term nowadays, and people forget it’s an actual brand. This story will likely give Nabisco a nice little sales boost and some positive press coverage, but maybe not as much as a larger rebranding might.

Netflix’s Binge Interruption

Many would argue that the primary benefit Netflix provides is the ability to binge multiple hours of a show or movies without interruption.

But recently, subscribers have been hit with a major disruption: 10-20 second promotional videos recommending other Netflix titles. They appear between episodes, reminding viewers not to miss a different show on Netflix. Sound familiar?

In response to the outlash Smita Saran, a company spokeswoman, stated “These video promos are actually personalized recommendations for titles we think a member may enjoy watching. In this particular case, we are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster.”

But the people have spoken. Top complaints surround not being able to mute or skip the videos, as well as the fact that they literally pay to not have to watch commercials.

Why It’s Hot: Netflix reported adding only 674,000 subscribers last month when it forecasted it would add 1.2 million. This lack of progress could be prompting Netflix to try new ways to sponsor their content but on the other hand, could push subscribers away with such disruptive features.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/17/17722910/netflix-video-promo-feature

UN digitally transforms petitions…

For World Humanitarian Day last Friday, the UN reimagined how logging your objections to important social issues should really work in 2018.

The organization created a “living petition” protesting civilian suffering in conflict zones across the globe that people could “sign” using a 3D image of their faces (according to the UN, 3 out of 4 victims in conflict zones last year were civilians).

The “petition” is being displayed in an installation at the UN from now through next month’s General Assembly, which “has motion sensors that will allow the eyes of the petitioners to follow world leaders and delegates as they enter the UN hall, reminding them that the whole world is watching.”

Why It’s Hot:

There’s no disputing that a wall of faces with eyes that follow you has a much greater potential to impact the people who see it than a list full of signatures. With all the digital technology we’ve seen arrive in the last 20+ years, it’s high time someone used it to transform the “petition”.

[Source]

Google Fit Adds Incentive To Exercisers’ Workouts With Points Accumulation

The health platform is debuting two new features designed to motivate users into taking small steps to be more active, providing them with support during their activity

Staying motivated and following a fitness regime can be tough, but Google is looking to help by creating a new system meant to spark people’s interest by assigning points to various actions throughout the day.

Google Fit‘s new “Move Minutes” and “Heart Points” are designed to better track and record different exercises, big and small. Move Minutes track how often users are moving, even for exercises like yoga where they are not taking steps. Heart Points measure heart rate and encourage users to get their hearts pumping, even if they are just going out for a walk. Google developed these tools with the help of the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization

While this idea may seem fun for naturally competitive people, the points are intended only to give users a sense of pride and a better understanding of how impactful their workout was. Google Fit hopes to extend its brand’s reach and provide guidance throughout users’ daily routines.

Why it’s hot: This seems to be a very late-to-the-game addition for Google to be jumping in on when there are already other very prominent players in this space (Fitbit, Apple Watch/Apple Health, etc.) — there are no clear differentiators or value-add aside from their prominent partnerships with the AHA and WHO. This will be interesting to track the adoption of this platform.

Source: PSFK

Sony tries to render real pets obsolete

As announced earlier this year Sony has brought back it’s robotic dog, Aibo. First released in 1999 but discontinued in 2006, it took Sony 12 years to update the Aibo and make it extra super cute.

One of these very good boys will set you back $2799.

 

 

For comparison’s sake, below is the original model (ERS-110) from 1999…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and the final model (ERS-7) before being discontinued

Why It’s Hot

Not sure anybody will buy these but with the toy robot space getting crowded, it’s interesting to see Sony trying to win the war by ratcheting up the cuteness factor, not by designing new features.

Andreeson Horowitz launches new diversity-focused fund

Andreessen Horowitz has unveiled its Cultural Leadership Fund, a vehicle that will be used to back multicultural founders. Reports of the fund emerged earlier this month, with The Wall Street Journal noting it will total about $15 million. LPs in the fund include Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kevin Durant, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Richelieu Dennis and Shonda Rimes, among others.

The stated goals of the fund are twofold:

  1. Connect the greatest cultural leaders in the world to the best new technology companies
  2. Enable more young African Americans to enter the technology industry

WHY IT’S HOT: 

As part of Andreessen Horowitz’s main investing fund, the Culture fund will “focus purposefully and intently on creating opportunities for people of color in tech.” Despite repeated vows the past few years to reverse a woeful track history of diversity in tech, progress has been glacial. Only 3% of the U.S. tech workforce is black, while 57% of the workforce is white, according to data compiled by market research firm IHS Markit. With the help of a set of diverse leaders, the CLF will aim to reverse this trend.

SOURCE: https://a16z.com/2018/08/22/introducing-the-cultural-leadership-fund/

AI Gets Creative

 

*Peep artist signature*

Christie’s will become the first auction house to offer a work of art created by an algorithm. Between October 23 and 25, Christie’s plans to hold a special sale for the AI-generated artwork: Portrait of Edmond Belamy, created by Obvious – an art collective based in Paris.

The way it works

The AI model is called GAN (generative adversarial network) and it consists of two parts: one that creates (the Generator) and one that critiques (the Discriminator).

“We fed the system with a data set of 15,000 portraits painted between the 14th century to the 20th. The Generator makes a new image based on the set, then the Discriminator tries to spot the difference between a human-made image and one created by the Generator, said Hugo Caselles-Dupré, co-founder of the art collective.

Why it’s hot

This isn’t the first example of creative AI, but the auction of an AI-generated portrait at Christie’s could make AI-created art seem, you know, legit.

The geographic distances of your Facebook friends from your location reveals lots about you

Social networks like Facebook, far from serving merely as entertainment for youngsters, are central to modern life, influencing the way people work and play. Social connections formed online now help shape many people’s identities in the real world.

New research suggests that our social media networks tell us more about ourselves than we may think. A study published last week in the Journal of Economic Perspectives by researchers from Facebook, Harvard, NYU and Princeton analyses the social “connectedness” of Americans, as measured by friendship links on Facebook. Using aggregated and anonymised data, the authors find that Americans with tightly clustered social networks comprised mainly of friends located within a short distance of their home tend to have lower incomes, lower levels of education and lower life expectancies. Those with more geographically dispersed social networks tend to be richer, more educated and healthier.

More here.

Why it’s hot: 

The geographic locations of your Facebook friends says a lot about your socio-economic mobility, health, and education levels. Those with more Facebook friends close by to them are more likely to have lower household incomes, life expectancy, and lower education rates, for example. The opposite is true for those with more of their Facebook friends spread out around the country & world which probably correlates with higher socio-economic mobility meaning better health and education levels, for example.

 

How Headspace rebranded meditation

Head of design Anna Charity worked to wring “all the mysticism and cliched imagery” from meditation–and instead position it as a tool for solving everyday problems. In an interview with Doreen Lorenzo (for ‘Designing women’), Anna shared some of her strategies on doing so. Here are some of the most interesting excerpts from the interview:

DL: What were some of the challenges you encountered from a design perspective?

AC: Meditation is a skill, and it’s also a hard thing to explain. Moreover, it has a lot of clichés attached to it. We wanted to offer more of a raw, honest look at meditation as something that feels more accessible, rather than the mystical faraway imagery that a lot of people don’t necessarily relate to. Headspace is about using meditation to deal with the challenges we face in life. It’s not about zoning out or escaping our problems. The fact that we have access to all these incredible stories through Andy (the cofounder and voice of Headspace) means we can talk about meditation in a compelling way. And these narratives have become an integral part of the experience.

DL: Does it differ from culture to culture as you design this? This is an international program.

AC: One of the main things that we considered when we created the brand was that meditation should feel like it’s for everybody, and it should feel accessible and inclusive. More importantly, we try to show meditation in a really everyday way–we show it in contexts that people can easily imagine. And one thing that all of us have in common is, is that we have a mind. Ever since Headspace’s inception, we have always used characters and storytelling to explain meditation. As we all know, our minds are a complex place. They are full of different thoughts and emotions, and it isn’t always an easy place to inhabit. (That’s the reason meditation is so valuable.) From this, we knew we had to develop a style that communicated these ideas in an approachable and relatable way. And more importantly, we found that characters are a great vehicle to represent the weirdness inside your head because they feel playful and memorable.

Why it’s hot: Great design solving real-life problems for everyday people.

Source: FastCo

 

ClassPass wants a piece of the wellness tourism boom with “Getaways”

ClassPass announced today that members can soon book mini-vacations and “experiential events” on its wildly popular platform. Called “Getaways,” the new feature relies on ClassPass credits to book day-long wellness experiences that will range from workouts to self-care services, in collaboration with boutique gyms and well-known spas.

Wellness travel, defined as vacationing while enhancing or maintaining one’s physical, mental, or spiritual well-being, is now a $563 billion global industry. The Global Wellness Institute reports that while overall tourism is growing at 6.9%, the wellness tourism sector grew 14% in the last two years and is now one of the fastest-growing tourism markets.

“There is no end to work. You’re constantly stressed,” Beth McGroarty, research director at the Global Wellness Institute, previously told Fast Company. “It’s pushing people to want vacations that are restorative and actually make them feel better. They desperately need it.”

While female travelers increasingly use their time off to reignite their health pursuits, many millennials seem to prefer the fitness retreat model. In a survey of nearly 5,000 Well+Good readers: 40% of respondents reported they’d rather go on a fitness retreat with their favorite instructor than attend a five-star resort like the esteemed Miraval in Arizona. (The findings were on par with a recent study conducted by SpaFinder).

The first ClassPass Getaway location will be revealed on August 29, with members able to book the vacation seven days prior to the event. The latest feature comes just weeks after the company announced it raised $85 million in series D financing, totaling $255 million raised.

“At ClassPass we aim to provide stepping stones toward an active and inspired lifestyle, and ClassPass Getaways will do just that,” said ClassPass founder Payal Kadakia in a statement. “We’re thrilled to give members the opportunity to take a mini-escape from their day-to-day to try new things and explore unfamiliar places. It’s our hope that attendees will leave feeling energized and empowered to continue living life to their absolute fullest.”

Why it’s hot: This is a step in the right direction for Classpass, but I wonder if this is the right approach for the typical Classpass user/demographic vs. the Soul Cycle and Rumble Boxing crowd — will they be willing to splurge on retreats vs. saving on spin classes? Time will tell!

Source: Fast Company

BarkPark, the ‘Outdoor Clubhouse’ for Dogs

Bark, the company behind subscription service BarkBox, is opening a dog park in Nashville. It will provide a place where dogs can roam free off their leashes, while serving as a social gathering spot for their human friends.

BarkPark

Of course, there will be Bark branded toys and treats for dogs to try, with a selection available for purchase. There will also be free WiFi, a coffee shop, and weekly programming including live music and beer tastings.

To access BarkPark, dog owners will have to purchase day passes for $19 or select a membership package, with options for four-week ($49) or seasonal passes ($78). The members, however, are the dogs – which means any two humans can accompany the dog on any given visit. The pass can conveniently be shared by different family members and with dog sitters.

The Nashville location will open on September 8th for three months until its closed for the winter, giving Bark the chance to test and learn before considering opening up additional locations.

Why It’s Hot: 

BarkPark seems like a natural brand extension with high potential. They already do a great job of fostering loyalty among passionate dog lovers, and providing a place that owners and dogs can enjoy together will only cultivate that loyalty further.

Source: TechCrunch

stanford AI generates sound with zero training…

According to computer scientists at Stanford, they have “developed the first system for automatically synthesizing sounds to accompany physics-based computer animations” that “simulates sound from first physical principles” and most impressively, unlike other AI “no training data is required”.

Why it’s hot:

While most AI to date requires overt training in order to be able to properly synthesize an output, this requires none. It’s not the first AI to require no human-assistance, but the future that might have seemed years off for AI is rapidly advancing. If AI can construct sound from visuals based on physical principles, you have to wonder how hard it might be to construct physical objects based on sound.

[Source]

Super Smart A-Eye

Researchers at Moorfields Eye Hospital have teamed with UCL, a subsidiary of Google’s DeepMind, to show off an AI system capable of identifying more than 50 eye diseases with incredible accuracy and then refer patients to a specialist.

The system uses deep learning to create algorithm-driven software that can identify common patterns in data culled from dozens of common eye diseases from 3D scans. The AI can even explain why a diagnosis was made.

A study published in Nature Medicine says the AI system made the right referral recommendation in more than 94 percent of cases based on a review of historic patient scans. It performed as good, or better than, top eye specialists who examined the same scan.

“Doctors and patients don’t want just a black box answer, they want to know why,” Ramesh Raskar, an associate professor at MIT, told Stat. “There is a standard of care, and if the AI technique doesn’t follow that standard of care, people are going to be uncomfortable with it.”

Why its hot

Would people be as comfortable going to an AI for medical diagnosis as they are with human doctors? Many people don’t see doctors because they’re uncomfortable, but perhaps they’d be more willing to get a diagnosis from an AI that they can then take as a referral to a specialist. Systems like this that give people more access to personal health information can only help increase access to healthcare, especially in countries where a lack of specialists is an issue.

 

Digital Startups Are Taking NYC Storefronts

Rising rents for brick-and-mortar locations and competition from online retailers have left many storefronts in New York City unoccupied for months at a time. One digital startup is looking to take advantage of that real estate for advertising.

Burrow – think Casper for couches – will advertise in five storefronts in New York City this month, promoting its modular sofas that are supposedly easy to assemble and are delivered in compact boxes to cut down on shipping time and costs.

Burrow, which worked with branding firm Red Antler on the concept, has set up an animatronic fortune teller, so-called the Lord of Leisure, in these store windows. The Zoltar-like figure sits reclined on a Burrow sofa and tells passersby their fortune through text messaging. The fortune teller will respond to the text with a fortune tied to leisure and relaxation, a core message of Burrow. Those who participate are eligible to win a free Burrow couch.

Why It’s Hot 

As foot traffic to stores decline, real estate developers will need to think of new applications for these spaces. Digitally native startups have an appetite for this, and are finding innovative ways to use OOH advertising – especially to make a big splash in a new market.

Source: http://adage.com/article/advertising/vacant-nyc-storefronts-prime-ad-space-digital-startup/314487/

Message of Love

Kellogg’s Rice Krispie Treats has partnered with the National Federation of the Blind to create packaging that encourages parents to create loving notes for their visually impaired children.

The campaign, called Love Notes, originally started in 2017 when Kellogg’s put a blank white space in the shape of a heart on its packets. The space was for parents to write notes to their children.

To make this activation idea inclusive for visually impaired children, Love Notes has now added heart-shaped stickers with braille messages.

The idea came after research from Kapable, (Kellogg’s resource group for those with disabilities) showed that in the United States, 62,000 school children identify as blind or visually impaired.

Why it’s Hot

Showing inclusive values can be a boon for brands. According to Cone Communications, 87% of American consumers surveyed said they would purchase a product based on its values.

 

 

Amazon may be getting into the movie theater business

Amazon is putting itself in the running to acquire Landmark Theatres, which claims to be the United States’ largest chain of movie theaters focused on art house movies.

With its expansion into the brick-and-mortar grocery business and bookstores, it’s another interesting move. The company hasn’t made any public comments about the possible sale, so it isn’t clear what their strategy would be in leveraging the theaters. That said, there’s speculation that it could be added as another of the many benefits for their Prime membership program.

With MoviePass reeling, there’s a lot of opportunity to innovate the traditional movie theater space, and it seems Amazon is getting primed to do it.

Why it’s hot:

Amazon already has one of the biggest digital subscription businesses in the world, with more than 100 million Prime members, as of April 2018. Tacking a subscription to cinemas on to that, which either made going free or discounted, is a no-brainer.

New York Times Co. Reports $24 Million Profit, Thanks to Digital Subscribers

The New York Times continued its digital growth in the second quarter of 2018, adding 109,000 digital-only subscribers. With that rise came an increase in revenue that counteracted a decline in print advertising.

The company said on Wednesday that revenue from digital subscriptions rose to $99 million in the second quarter, a jump of nearly 20 percent compared with the same period a year ago. Over all for the second quarter, total revenue increased 2 percent, to $415 million, and the company reported a profit of almost $24 million.

The Times now has 2.9 million digital-only subscribers, out of 3.8 million total.

“Subscription revenues accounted for nearly two-thirds of the company’s revenues, a trend we expect to continue,” Mark Thompson, the company’s chief executive, said in a news release. “We continue to believe that there is significant runway to expand that base substantially.”

More here.

Why it’s HOT:

As a “newspaper” media company, the New York Times now has significantly more digital-only subscribers than print subscribers. 76% of its subscribers are digital-only.

Also, subscription revenues are now two-thirds of the company’s revenues which means the company doesn’t rely on advertising for revenues as much as it did in the decades past.

Anti-Open-Concept Rooms

Today, about 70% of all US offices are “open concept” meaning no cubicles, no partitions, no private offices. This type of work environment is meant to encourage interaction, collaboration, and equality. But a recent study by Harvard Business School found that face-to-face interaction actually decreased by 72% in open offices, and workers become far less productive. Other results of open-concept offices:

  • An average 15% decline in productivity
  • A 50% increase in the likelihood of getting sick
  • An increase in the number of distractions per hour
  • 60% of employees who work in open floor plan spaces report being dissatisfied with them.

A startup called ROOM is joining the ant-open-office movement by creating easy to assemble rooms within your open concept office. The ROOM One is a $3.5k soundproof booth, scientifically constructed with power outlets and ventilation. Other companies like Wall Box, TalkBox and Zenbooth have announced their similar products. ROOM has already locked in close to 200 clients, including Salesforce, Nike, NASA, and JP Morgan, and a $10m revenue run rate.

Why It’s Hot:

The concept could actually save businesses a ton of money on lost productivity, and be flexible enough for fast-growing companies. BUT open office spaces are reportedly cheaper than traditional office spaces which is partly why they’ve been implemented in the first place. So who is going to pay for your $4,000 phone booth?

Soundtrack of Your Life

Royal Caribbean is partnering with Berklee College of music to set your vacation photos to music using AI.

 Source: https://www.adweek.com/creativity/royal-caribbean-now-sets-your-vacation-photos-to-music-using-ai/amp/

Launching this week, Royal Caribbean is launching an online tool that turns user images into mini-videos with original music assembled by AI and inspired by the images themselves.

A picture from a botanical garden, of red flowers and green leaves, generates two bars of smooth jazz. An elaborate piece of graffiti on a brick wall renders into a crunching hip-hop beat.

The machine-learning process entailed more than 600 hours in which Royal Caribbean and a team of musicians and technologists reviewed hundreds of music tracks along with 10,000 photos, matching each of the 2.5 million combinations to one of 11 moods.

The A.I. in SoundSeeker uses Google Cloud Vision to identify objects, facial expressions and colors in a user’s photo by referencing the roadmap developed by the leaders in music theory at Berklee.

Why it’s hot

Tourism industry is always at the forefront of individualization beyond personalization by making something so personal and making it truly unique.

The death of Don Draper

The advertising industry is currently enthralled by a prophet of its imminent demise. Scott Galloway is a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, and founder of a marketing consultancy. In a much-shared YouTube video, he delivers a talk entitled “The Death of the Advertising-Industrial Complex” to an audience of young marketers. In it, he argues that businesses can no longer rely on advertising to compensate for mediocre products.

Until the 1990s, says Galloway, the path to success lay in taking “an average beer, average car, or average suit” and wrapping it in appealing associations – this one makes you feel more elegant, this one makes you feel younger. Now, we live in an age in which the intangible haze of soft-sell is no longer necessary, and the battle for market share comes down to the raw strength of your product. “The sun has passed midday on brand,” he says.

The ad industry, run by people who pride themselves on creativity, is being displaced by the ad business, which prides itself on efficiency. Clients are spending less on the kind of entertaining, seductive, fame-generating campaigns in which ad agencies specialize, and more on the ads that flash and wink on your smartphone screen.

More here.

Why it’s HOT:

Modern media technology, more educated consumers, and the democratization of information have transformed the advertising business like no other. Today’s advertising agencies may not be able to help clients market mediocre products like they could have in a much simpler time.