Your Brain, and how we will tap into it.

How easy will journey/relationship maps be with this new Facebook mind reader?

Facebook is funding and assisting in a University of California San Francisco study aimed at giving people with serious brain injuries the chance to type words with only their minds. The research is showing real results and promise. Facebook hopes to use the underlying technology as a basis for a new brain-computer input mode for augmented-reality glasses that you wear all day.

If Facebook’s researchers can get their headset to accurately detect which neutrons are firing, they may be able to use algorithms based on the USCF research to map neurons to specific letters, then words the user is thinking of.

Facebook Envisions AR GLasses that read your thoughts isn’t just a dream

This is not the first time someone tries to map out a brain and how we process speech though! Here is a podcast about it here -> Freakonomics podcast on how your brain tells stories.

And here is a cool interactive 3-D Semantic Map that the Gallant institute created after creating the brain map that the podcast above details. Gallant Lab 3D Brain

Why it’s hot.

Besides being a cool look into what your brain does in your skull all the time. Ever since you were born. that you don’t have to put an ounce of energy into?

It brings the cliche, living in your own world, to reality. And because there are so many questions we can ask about the future, what that means for our brands, or about language and communication in general.

Weightless living, only connecting.

Questions: How much more personal do our messaging have to be to match this sort of personal 24/7 virtual reality? In how many ways do/can we understand language and meaning? What comes first the language or the meaning?- If you think its meaning, then what happens when you hear a word you don’t know? -If you think its language, what did you naturally feel for a caretaker before you knew the word for it? What would life be like if we could communicate via telepathy -can we communicate solely via meaning? If we could communicate only via meaning, would there ever be arguments? Will there be a group telepathy meeting?

And many more.

 

Doing it for the Gram: Darwin Awards Edition

We all do it for the gram. But how far is too far. Instragram influencers have been falling ill after swimming in a lake that looks beautiful… but is actually toxic sludge.

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“Spanish news outlet Publico reported multiple Instagram influencers were recently hospitalized due to rashes and digestive issues after entering the water.

One Instagram influencer told Publico they began vomiting and developed a rash that lasted for two weeks after entering the water for a photo.

Another influencer said they had to be hospitalized for “damage to the skin and digestive system.”

However, another tourist said that despite getting a nasty rash, “the picture was worth it.”

See the geo-tag… there are children there! 

Oh and the viral news of the lake’s toxicity… has made the spot even more popular.

WHY ITS HOT? 

We’ve heard stories about people falling off cliffs or dying in freak selfie accidents. This shows the way the world will bend to create the social media illusion of a curated life…. even if that pristine selfie is full of WW2 mining chemicals.

Source: https://news.yahoo.com/instagram-influencers-getting-sick-swimming-145600523.html

Down with Dongles

I hate flying. I especially hate flying without headphones. So when I was at the airport for a flight to Austin earlier this year, and realized I’d forgotten my headphones, I was in a panic. But no worries! I’ll just buy some. So I bought some headphones. Problem solved! Except my Google Pixel doesn’t have a headphone jack, it has a USB-C.

I survived the flight, sure, but clearly you see how a lesser person would have died under such circumstances.

Samsung was the last major smartphone maker holding out against the shift away from wired headphones but renderings of their upcoming Galaxy Note 10 show that’s all over with.

The images were leaked to the site SamMobile and show it would come with a dongle that converts the standard 3.5-mm headphone jack to a USB-C connector. Of course, this means you can only use wired headphones with the dreaded dongle, Best Buy’s top-selling iPhone accessory.

But perhaps most unforgivably, Apple’s decision to ditch the headphone jack led to a string of other smartphone makers jumping onboard. Google, HTC, Motorola, Huawei, Xiaomi, Nokia, and Sony all have started releasing phones without a headphone jack. Samsung previously announced that the Galaxy A8 would not have a headphone jack, but it hasn’t made the change consistently across its product line—the Galaxy S10 did have a jack. But this new leak suggests that Samsung is indeed moving in the direction of killing the headphone jack.

Why its (not) hot

I hate the dongle. Not only is it just bad user experience, but then, of course, they get the added revenue from selling dongles. They’re small and easily lost, and if you don’t have one, and don’t have wireless headphones, you can’t listen to music, watch movies, etc. in silence. What am I supposed to do, talk to the people around me? Interact with the world? I live in New York City – that is not an option.

Finding Home Outside of the Home

IKEA recently published their annual Life at Home report for research done in 2018. The study, in its 5th year, is extensive, reaching 22,000 people across 22 countries. The goal is to better understand how people actually use and see their homes in today’s changing world.

This year IKEA found a shift. In 2016, 20% of survey respondents felt most at home somewhere besides the place where they live. In 2018 that number increased to 29% for people who live outside of cities and 35% for people who live in cities. IKEA identifies 5 needs that contribute to feeling at home: privacy, comfort, ownership, security, and belonging. The suggestion is that a growing number of people are satisfying these basic needs elsewhere.

Why it’s Hot

Increase in population, urbanization, and economic stratification mean less living space for individuals and families. When the basic needs of feeling at home are not met where people live, people will search elsewhere. Brands and governments will be asked to respond.

Fly Responsibly

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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is asking potential customers whether they really need to take a flight. A new initiative launched last month asks passengers to consider whether their journey would be better undertaken by train. Travelers are also invited to travel light, and to offset flight-related CO2 emissions. Part of KLM’s Fly Responsibly campaign, the initiative invites other airlines to become partners in its Corporate BioFuel Program, paying a fee to cover the difference in costs between kerosene and sustainable fuel.

Why it’s hot: Walking the walk and take on real responsibility to achieve sustainability will capture the modern consumer’s heart for the long term.

Source + Source

Smarter Smart Phones

UK design agency morrama came up with three concepts to give users more control over the way their smartphones work through physical design. This concept was a built as a solution to the idea that smartphones give people too much access to the internet, apps, etc. and the impact on health.

“We’ve taken a different approach and set out to change a persons interaction with their smartphone through subtle changes to it’s physical design, attempting to improve their behavior and start using their phone as a tool for better things.”

  1. Screens on both sides of the phone to prevent distraction of phone lighting up
  2. Screen flipping for less app usage
  3. On the back, there is a tilt so the user has to physically interact with the devise to see notifications

Why its hot

A new take on combating smartphone overuse. There are apps and features on smartphones that help with regulating the users behaviors (essentially telling the user that they are or have a “problem”) but this is an interesting approach as the physical phone is being changed and the user’s behavioral patterns shift as a result.

Link

The doctor is ready to see you – at the mall

With the steady rise of online retail, brick-and-mortar retail has been having a hard time for a few years now. Nearly 5,900 stores were closed in the US in 2018, and nearly 6,000 are expected to close in 2019. Which means that mall vacancies are at all-time highs in many parts of the country.

Mall of America in Minneapolis, America’s largest mall, announced plans last week to open a 2,300-square-foot walk-in clinic in November with medical exam rooms, a radiology room, lab space, and a pharmacy dispensary service. Mall of America is teaming up with University of Minnesota physicians and a Minnesota-based health care system to operate the clinic.

Here’s another example of the growth of “medtail”. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is planning a 34,000 square-foot oncology and hematology outpatient facility in the Patriot Place shopping center in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Mall leases for apparel retailers declined by more than 10% since 2017, while leases for medical clinics at malls have grown by almost 60% since then.

Why it’s hot: Mall landlords are betting that when patients visit for a flu shot or eye exam, they’ll shop around for clothes or electronics. Adding medical clinics also makes sense for mall owners because they draw in doctors, nurses and technicians every day who may shop and eat at restaurants.

Sources: CNN. NYT.

Apple and New Museum launch AR art tours

A new way for people to experience the city!

A new way for artists to engage the public!

A new way to think about experiencing space!

Brought to you by Apple! Apple’s brand and value proposition permeates this entire experience.

Why it’s hot

Apple is positioning itself as a brand that can bring a new magical realm to life. As we work out the ways in which AR will play a role in our lives, this project sells AR in a surprising and fun way, perhaps warming people up to the idea that a life lived with a layer of AR mapped over the physical world would be desirable.

Source: Dezeen

Make getting drunk great again

British data science company DataSparQ has developed facial recognition-based AI technology to prevent entitled bros from cutting the line at bars. This “technology puts customers in an ‘intelligently virtual’ queue, letting bar staff know who really was next” and who’s cutting the line.

“The system works by displaying a live video of everyone queuing on a screen above the bar. A number appears above each customer’s head — which represents their place in the queue — and gives them an estimated wait time until they get served. Bar staff will know exactly who’s next, helping bars and pubs to maximise their ordering efficiency and to keep the drinks flowing.”

Story on Endgadet

Why it’s Hot

Using AI to help solve these types of trifling irritations is better than having to tolerate other people’s sense of entitlement, though it also highlights the need to police rude behavior through something other than raising your kids well.

Conversation-as-a-Platform

The search for a solution to the perennial problem of shrinking click-through-rates has led us down a lot of interesting paths. In so many cases it seems like trying to bail out a sinking ship with a Grande Starbucks cup. But sometimes a breakthrough idea gives us a temporary “bilge pump”, to keep us afloat for another day.

With all of the recent buzz around conversational interfaces and chatbots, it’s easy to be skeptical of their commercial value, and see them as the latest passing fad. Enter, “chatvertising”: conversational-style advertising that’s been shown to deliver 3.2% – 4.4% engagement rates, compared to the the 0.044% CTR banners have grown used to.

“Cavai is a platform pioneering conversational-style advertising, using a decision-tree based model, and we are seeing first-hand how this highly engaging advertising model is growing mainly in response to the needs of the consumer. Those needs are for example expressed by 9/10 consumers globally who want to use messaging to talk to businesses. 72 trillion messages were sent via chat apps in 2018, surpassing social media and browser interactions. Also, 53% of consumers say that they are more likely to buy from a company that they can contact via a chat app ( eMarketer).”

Why It’s Hot

A whole new opportunities, to build enduring relationships between brands and people, by creating stronger rational & emotional connections – engaging with humans on human terms.

Volvo backfilling a moat?

Volvo has built its brand around “being the safest cars on the road”.

For years, the company developed research and processes that lead to numerous vehicle safety innovations that established their credibility.

At Volvo, the Accident Research Team has compiled real-world data since the 1970s to better understand what happens during a collision.

Two truths:

  1. At the industry-level, women tend to be underrepresented in data (male crash test dummies are the standard). But not Volvo (they’ve incorporated men, women and children in their data over 40 years of research)
  2. More importantly, new car manufacturers are stepping up to the “Safey” arena (specifically Tesla) and looking to take on Volvo.

Dare:

So what do you do? Do you protect your moat with yet-another-ad saying how Volvo is a “different kind of safety”?

Well, yes and… (if you’re Vovlo) you build a library with all of your safety knowledge and make it publicly available.

 

Why it’s hot:

Looking beyond the obvious advertising play, what this Campaign (Big C) is helping solve for is the core brand challenge: trying to go from being simply the provider of cars to something that offers mobility on a broader scale.

The execution of it is flawlessly told with a gripping narrative, and maintains Volvo’s thought leadership in “Safety”.

 

Tattoos as Health Trackers

Tattoos could be a way for people with serious health issues, such as diabetes or kidney disease, to track their conditions in real time.

A team of scientists at the Technical University of Munich in Germany developed a way to tattoo the skin with a fluid that changes color as certain properties in the blood spike or decline.

This fluid is made up of different dyes that react with elements of a person’s metabolic system. The Technical University team tested three of those elements: pH levels, glucose, and albumin, which is a type of protein found in the blood. They injected the different dyes into patches of pig skin and chemically adjusted concentrations of the three biomarkers. The tattoos changed colors as the concentrations of pH, glucose, and albumin shifted. To evaluate these changes, the researchers developed an app that detected the color of the tattoo and gave a reading of what possible heath concerns it might indicate.

According to the study, published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, the Technical University researchers believe that applying these color-shifting tattoos to patients whose health conditions must be monitored by measuring levels of these elements could be a low-cost way to offer them a consistent way to track their health.

Each of the elements measured tracks with specific health concerns. Changes in a person’s pH levels could indicate a range of issues, particularly with the lungs and kidneys, which help regulate blood acidity. As pH levels rose from five to nine (normal human pH levels are around 7.4), the tattoo ink shifted from yellow to blue. If a person tattooed with this ink, for instance, noticed their dermal artwork was turning yellow, they’d know their blood acidity was too low, and on the flip side, if it appeared dark blue, they’d know it was too high.

The glucose-detecting ink shifted from light green to dark green as concentrations of glucose increased. High blood glucose levels could indicate diabetes, which inhibits the body’s ability to metabolize sugars, so a person with diabetes could be clued in to if they’re experiencing a dangerous spike by the color of their tattoo.

To detect levels of albumin, the research team applied a dye that shifts from yellow (indicating low albumin) to green (indicating higher levels). Low albumin levels could signal liver or kidney failure or conditions like Crohn’s or celiac disease, which limit the body’s ability to absorb protein.

The changes in the tattoo ink are not diagnoses in and of themselves, but rather a potential way for a patient with longstanding health concerns to keep an eye on their condition in a relatively low-maintenance way. The idea is still new and preliminary, but the Technical University team will continue to study the feasibility of this dermal monitoring system.

Why it’s hot: Though this is not the first experiment of tattoos serving as a utility, this could be a cost-effective option for those with long term conditions to monitor fluctuations.

Source: FastCo

German Staycations Made Possible by Real-Time User Data

72% of Germans travel abroad for their holidays. With that knowledge, German Rail set out to encourage Germans to vacation in their home country by focusing on price and picturesque German locations that mirror famous foreign tourist destinations.

German Rail targeted travel enthusiasts interested in specific destinations on Instagram and Facebook. Then, through geo-tagging technology and Google Search, the audience was served video ads updated with real-time prices, comparing two gorgeous locations (one in Germany and one abroad), detailing the cost of travel from their closest airport to the foreign country and carbon emissions created by travel.

Why it’s hot:

Brands talk about using data all the time but we don’t always see it done in a smart, multi-dimensional way. German Rail successfully tapped into the insight that the record of the holiday (on Instagram & Facebook) is just important as the holiday itself and leveraged real-time user data to influence behavior of the German traveler.

Source: Contagious.io

Mayonnaise + Leftovers = Gourmet Restaurant?

Unilever-owned mayonnaise brand Hellmann’s is so familiar that it can get overlooked in the fridge, along with other ingredients that often get thrown away when we don’t think we can use them.

In the brand’s newest campaign, Hellmann’s highlights the food waste caused by unused leftovers. To prove that mayonnaise can be a key ingredient that turns leftovers into a meal, the agency opened a temporary restaurant in São Paulo, Brazil: The Restaurant With No Food.

Diners were sent Hellman’s branded cool-bags to bring their fridge leftovers, and invited to dine for free at the restaurant. A handful of celebrity chefs then created gourmet meals from the ingredients and Hellman’s mayonnaise. Following the meal, Hellmann’s gave them the recipes for what they had been served.

During its two-day activation, the campaign generated more than 200 news reports and 50 million impressions. Sales of Hellmann’s went up by 8% and it’s estimated that over 2,700 ingredients were saved. The Restaurant With No Food also received an official endorsement from the UN World Food Programme, and Hellmann’s plans to repeat the initiative in other key markets in Europe this year.

Why it’s hot:

This campaign is a perfect example of what a good insight can do. The brand likely saw the decline in mayonnaise purchases, but this unique insight around food waste allowed them to unlock a solution to the problem in a new way. Viewing their business challenge through a wider lens than just “nobody’s buying our mayonnaise” allowed Hellmann’s to tap into a larger cultural conversation.

Source

‘Claw is the law’

“If you think about it, LaCroix is just a virgin White Claw”

For years we’ve contemplated craft beer’s impact on big beer – and thought long and hard about Aeperol Spritzs and Natural wine, but this summer, a new trend has made itself (very well known) – Hard seltzer.  (Forbes, Esquire, Business Insider, Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance)

“The category, currently worth $550 million, could grow to reach $2.5 billion by 2021, said Sean King, an analyst at UBS. That implies an annual growth rate of 66% and a jump in consumption from 14 million cases in 2018 to 72 million cases in 2021.” (BI)

“Hard seltzers will continue to take share from: 1) wine & spirits (especially vodka/soda, as hard seltzer in cans is more convenient), 2) non-beer drinkers who don’t like the taste/calories in beer, and 3) domestic light beers, plus Corona Premier/Michelob Ultra drinkers,” (Yahoo)

Why it’s hot:
It’s hot because it’s a pretty monumental trend in the beverage world

To me, this is one of those ‘it was all so obvious’ sort of things, where key players noticed the continually growing health and wellness mentality colliding with peoples love of drinking.
+ It feels reminiscent/parallel/likely related to the success of La Croix and development of ‘Bubly’ by Pepsico.

Chase commits to AI after machines outperform humans in copywriting



“Chase is getting more creative with its marketing language—by tapping machines to write it. The bank announced Tuesday it has signed a five-year deal with Persado, a New York-based company that applies artificial intelligence to marketing creative.”

Welp …. ummm… hmmm…

Article Link
Agency Link

Why it’s hot: 
The conversation around automation continues to evolve – and it has countless implications.
At a SUPER high level, relative to our industry, it feels important to consider how our value proposition can remain unique in a world in which writing copy can be automated.

The Closest Drone to Bike Delivery is Here

The newest entrant into the drone food delivery space is using slower speed to gain a competitive edge. The Rev-1 by Refraction AI is unique in that operating at a max of 15 miles per hour, it can travel both on the road and in bike lanes–giving it more flexibility to avoid causing traffic. The company’s vision is for the drone to emulate the patterns of a cyclist.

The vehicle is currently being tested in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where it delivers food from local restaurants in a range of .5 to 2.5 miles. It’s 6 cubic feet of space is enough to hold around four grocery bags.

Another competitive advantage is the Rev-1’s lower cost of $5,000. Instead of using lidar sensors like most other drones, it uses multiple cameras in combination with ultrasound to see and navigate.

Why It’s Hot

The smaller, slower drone is well-positioned for local deliveries, with a high potential to help solve the last-mile delivery challenge in a cost-efficient manner.

Source

More beer + health trend: Anheuser-Busch’s craft brand, Golden Road Brewing, announces multi-year sponsorship of USA Swimming

USA Swimming, the national governing body for the sport of swimming in America, U.S. Masters Swimming and Golden Road Brewing has announced a new multi-year partnership, marking the first-ever alcohol sponsorship for USA Swimming.

As part of the partnership, Golden Road will serve as co-presenting sponsor of VIP hospitality experiences at USA Swimming House and USA Swimming Live at next year’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Neb. The brewery will also hold activation rights in the Toyota Aqua Zone and serve as presenting sponsor of the “Last Session Show” and the Golden Goggles red carpet show. In a unique extension, Golden Road will also implement an athlete support program that provides financial support to adult athletes, as well as industry exposure and professional training.

A former captain of the Yale University swim team, Gill co-founded the Los Angeles, California-based brewery in 2011 when she was just 25. In 2015, Anheuser-Busch bought Golden Road.

“My dream since I was a little girl was to spread the passion and excitement I felt for swimming with others. My second love, beer, happens to have the ability to bring fans together and add to the enjoyment of watching competition,” Gill said. “By chance meeting last summer at the Nationals, I realized USA Swimming’s leadership team had a big vision of taking the sport of swimming to new heights — so our teams have worked on a truly unique partnership to help drive excitement for fans and athletes leading into a major year for swimming on the global stage. I can’t wait to enjoy a Golden Road beer while watching my favorite swimmers compete for a spot in Tokyo next summer.”

Source: Craft Brewing Business

Why It’s Hot

Just last week we had a post on “Performance Beer” and discussed how beer + healthy lifestyle coming together is a trend. Here is further support of that.