The New Republic Is All Like: TEENS?! On the INTERNET?!

I was going to post some boring stuff about a cyber security tool that will probably destroy the world (according to the NYTimes), but chose the article about teens and tumblr instead.

It’s pretty “stupid adult peeks into fetid writhing mass of teen culture, is surprised to find some things of worth”, but I love deep looks into online culture. The article is both the pinnacle of cringe-y adult misunderstanding:

Lilley is tall and lanky, with dark brown curly hair. Greenfield is shorter, with glasses and honey-brown hair. They both wore plain polo shirts. Summer had just ended, and there was a pool in the backyard, but they were quite pale. After studying their mannerisms and hearing Lilley’s repeated allusions to Greenfield’s math skills and superior memory—he was briefly a mechatronics engineering major—I determined they were nerds. They were witty and warm and very smart, and I liked them immediately, but they were total nerds. It surprised me, because nerds are often defined by an inability to read social interactions and respond in a way that makes them cool, confident—relatable. So I gently asked Greenfield how he was able to make these minute social observations that hinge on complex emotions being expressed in subtle facial expressions when, perhaps, this was not his strong suit in real life. His answer: internet research.

As well as a demonstrate of how kids are growing up with an innate understanding of digital marketing:

The outrage clicks were so powerful, Lilley and Greenfield decided to experiment with “negative attention.” Haters are more loyal than fans, so they promoted the bad hacks. The worst hacks brought in thousands of followers, and that’s how Lifehackable built the bulk of its audience. “Tom knew what was happening, and so then he was more incentivized to actually not do his job right,” Lilley said. “And in sucking, he succeeded.”

And later

Lilley was disgusted by the thought of “trying to build a personal brand by sacrificing your content.”

It’s great and you should read it.

https://newrepublic.com/article/129002/secret-lives-tumblr-teens

 

Pinterest tells you what strangers are wearing

Ever see street fashion and want to remember to add it to your wardrobe. Now creepy Pinterest will help you!

Take a picture of a stranger and Pinterest will help you shop their clothes. Totally not weird! You hate it… but you know you’ll use it.

One Twitter user called it a “shazam for everything”!

Why it’s hot:

Technology is allowing us to do all the little things we’ve always said “I wish my phone could do X.”

 

 

Fed40 Food Delivery Program

With the advent of home delivery meal kits like Blue Apron and the recent sale of Whole Foods to Amazon, there has been much talk about food delivery. While these companies target Americans who can afford healthy and interesting meal combinations, there are about 13% of Americans who are unsure of where their next meal with come from. The non-profit, Feeding Children Everywhere, has created a simplified version of the pre-portioned meal kit which they are calling Fed40. Users can sign up on the Fed40 app or website for 40 shelf stable meals within one business day. They must provide their address and how many family members live in their residence. The best part is that it’s free!

They are currently offer one meal, Red Lentil Jambalaya. This meal can be shipped without an ice pack, which saves on shipping costs and can easily be adjusted at home to include additional spices or ingredients.

Feeding Children Everywhere thinks of this solution as a stop gap, and wants to encourage participants to take advantage of their local federal and state support programs. If participants sign up 4 or more times for this program they will be contacted to ensure they are aware of all the other support services in the area.

Why it’s hot: Feeding Children Everywhere has taken a home delivery meal kit craze and turned it into something that can serve the sizable population of people who are lacking resources in this country. While the program aims to address this problem, the organization also acknowledges that there is still more than needs to be done to support these families. Therefore they can also act as a hub where participants can learn about the other support programs in their area. However, there still seem to be some issues that go unaddressed. It would be interesting to conduct user research to gather insights about how people would use this service, how it improves their experience and what pain points are still unaddressed.

Amazon, not content to ship a mere 1.6m packages per day, announces new service

Amazon has introduced a new service called Prime Wardrobe. Users can get between 3-15 clothing items shipped for free, pay for the stuff they keep and ship the rest back (also for free).

Story on TechCrunch

Why It’s Hot

Not only will this be a huge win for the USPS, but we will now be able to use the phrase “Warby Parkerization” at client presentations….or not.

Facebook Has a New Mission

As Facebook approaches 2 billion monthly users, its CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed a new mission statement, to “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

Zuckerberg announced the change today at the Facebook Communities Summit for top Group admins where it announced new Group management tools. “For the last decade or so we’ve been focusing on making the world more open and connected. But I used to think that if we just give people a voice and help some people connect that that would make the world a whole lot better by itself,” Zuckerberg admits. “Look around and our society is still so divided. We have a responsibility to do more, not just to connect the world but to bring the world closer together.”

Rather than have the new mission be just a philosophy, Zuckerberg says Facebook is turning it into a goal. “We want to help 1 billion people join meaningful communities. If we can do this it will not only reverse the whole decline in community membership we’ve seen around the world… but it will also strengthen our social fabric and bring the world closer together.” Right now Facebook considers there to be only 100 million meaningful group members.

Why Its Hot

Given Facebook’s issue with “fake news” and inconsistent enforcement of community guidelines, it will be interesting to see what changes they implement as part of their new mission statement. There are many, many communities in the world and they tend to clash with one another. How will Facebook “bring the world closer together” while also keeping abusive, harmful, and “fake” content offline? And how will they determine that content?

Additionally, how do ads fit in? We’re already seeing 15 sec. ads on just about every video. Will Facebook put its mission statement ahead of their bottom line?

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure with Puss in Boots

Dreamworks GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Netflix announced an experiment in interactive storytelling earlier this week with the children’s programs Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale, and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile. The shows, which offer thousands of permutations, bring the “choose your own adventure” format to internet TV and give the chance for the viewer to be the director. Netflix has proven an ideal platform to test this out on for a variety of reasons: its large user base, its original programming and the fact that a show does not need to start or end at a certain time.

It works like this: at certain, predetermined points in the story, Netflix pauses the tale and offers you a choice. Should Puss (from Shrek) befriend the bears he just encountered, or fight them? Your choice dictates his next move, and changes the arc of the story. Puss in Book offers viewers 13 opportunities to shape the story, which features two possible endings. It can be as little 18 minutes, or as long as 39. There are three thousand possible variations of how the story could go. Buddy Thunderstruck will provide eight opportunities to make a decision, an average length of 12 minutes.

Netflix explains that they started with children’s shows because “Kids’ content is essentially cheap to make, it also is more resistant to changing tastes and trends than other genres. All of which is to say, it’s the perfect laboratory for experimentation.”

Why it’s hot:

  • Increases engagement: this challenges the conventional way of watching TV or movies by forcing the audience to interact with the content in an exciting way
  • Increases data points: this could create a large amount of data for Netflix regarding: how many people are making active choices, what choices, are they re-watching the show at a later point in time?
  • While this likely won’t catch on with mainstream audience, this could create a new niche of Netflix viewers

Source: Wired

 

Are You There Arthur? It’s Me, Marcel

Two days ago, Publicis Groupe CEO and chairman Arthur Sadoun announced that his network would be foregoing all awards, trade shows and other paid promotional efforts for more than a year while developing Marcel, an AI powered “professional assistant” that it plans to launch next June at the 2018 VivaTech conference in Paris.

This well-timed announcement, right in the middle of Cannes, has generated an huge flurry of press, with speculation about the real driver of the announcement ranging from “It’s just a publicity stunt” to ” “Make no mistake, this is purely about saving money in 2018 as growth has slowed to a crawl” to “It’s smart. Award shows are a misguided way to stroke a few people’s egos. On top of that there’s a ton of work being done for the sole purpose of winning awards. And the number of shows is ridiculous too.”

Regardless of intent, sticking to plan will be difficult. Creatives across Publicis are reportedly up in arms. Surely, the lack of opportunity to stock a trophy case will make it more difficult for Publicis to attract some top creative talent. And, of course, clients like awards too. Poaching is a real concern.

Having gotten sucked into the drama, we’ve read it all, and this response, from R/GA is a favorite. Quick wit has earned R/GA a share of Publicis’ spotlight!

Why it’s Hot: Publicity stunts. All the cool agencies are doing it.

MailChimp is broadening its horizons

Think MailChimp just supports small business email marketing? Think again.

Based in Atlanta–far outside Silicon Valley’s bubble of venture-funded would-be unicorns–the company has 600-plus employees and did more than $400 million in revenue last year. More than 15 million customers sent 246 billion emails in 2016.

But the future of the company, CEO Ben Chestnut says, is “to take MailChimp magic we give to email, and sprinkle it on other marketing channels.”

A year ago, MailChimp introduced a recommendation engine–akin to the ones devised by big companies such as Amazon–that let its customers plunk product suggestions into the emails they sent their customers. In January of this year, it began helping small businesses buy Facebook ads.

Now MailChimp’s Instagram ad-buying feature aims to simplify the process of purchasing ads.

MailChimp’s strategy with these new ad-buying services and other functionality it’s recently added isn’t to give itself a new revenue stream. Instead, it’s offering them as part of its existing subscriptions at the same price as before. As with its freemium model, the company is betting that the more essential it can make itself to the way small businesses operate, the easier it will be to get large numbers of them to pay on an ongoing basis.

https://www.fastcompany.com/40424782/mailchimp-wants-to-solve-every-small-biz-marketing-challenge-even-snail-mail

Why It’s Hot
While most companies aim to leave their roots behind and move on to bigger and better customers, MailChimp is staying firmly committed to small businesses and providing them easy yet robust marketing support at a price most can afford.

How much is that Puppy in the windo….err flat screen TV

Pet care brand Pedigree and its partner charity Ampara Animal needed to drive foot traffic to animal shelters as part of the Pedigree Adoption Drive.

The brand partnered with shopping-centre electronics stores to create the Dog Channel, where the generic content displayed on the TV screens in-store was replaced with videos of dogs waiting to be adopted from a nearby shelter.

Alongside the footage was a message to customers that included the dogs’ names and encouraged people to visit the shelter. When the dogs on the screens found new homes, the display changed to indicate a successful adoption.

Why It’s Hot:

-Chimes with the brand’s quest to grow the pet ownership – and by extension the pet care market.

-It merged a digital activation with OOH in a pretty unusual and innovative way

Uber’s crisis of culture and why it matters

It may have been hard to keep track of all icky news around Uber in the last 6 months (I know I for one went down the rabbit hole after the explosive Susan Fowler blog post in February and have been following the fall-out closely ever since).

In case you haven’t been keeping as close a tab, Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down on Wednesday this week after pressure from the board following Eric Holder’s report on the company– proving that all it takes for the bros of Silicon Valley to get their act together is just a little gentle scolding from the US Attorney general.

WIRED wrote a helpful timeline of the last few years’ mishaps and exposés here, in “A Brief History of Uber’s Many, Many Screw Ups”:

https://www.wired.com/story/timeline-uber-crises/

WHY IT’S HOT

It’s cringeworthy to say the least. And it got me thinking about company culture overall, and how tech giants who have grown quickly and exponentially with little oversight or accountability can manage culture and the right way to do so. With all of the recent talk about Amazon’s retail (world) domination, it’s worthwhile to note that Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick based his company’s values on the leadership principles of Amazon. But while Jeff Bezos obsessively tends to the churn-and-burn culture of Amazon, Kalanick let the “always be hustlin” ethos of Uber run amuck. It remains to be seen if Uber’s 180-day plan can make a sizable shift in its company culture in any sort of meaningful way.

Companies like Uber, Amazon, and Google aren’t just services, retailers, or manufacturers. They are fundamentally upending our economies, our policies, and our daily behaviors. What is the “right” company culture for companies that will continue to influence so much more than just their employees’ 9 to 5 – and shouldn’t we care?

Valedictorian Has His Graduation Speech Censored

 

WHY ITS HOT:

The ability to speak the truth is continuing to be censored by authoritarian figures and is part of a larger trend in this country for those in power to control the narrative they want to hear.

This year, school across the country are censoring student’s words in yearbooks, newspapers, and classrooms. Students are able to complain about schools, expose wrongdoing and rate teachers — often anonymously — on social media. Yet schools seem uneasy about hearing them.

When public schools tell a student not to disclose information or express a heartfelt opinion solely because they want to control the narrative or fear the repercussions will make them look bad, it un-ravels a lifetime of education of civic responsibility.

 

Twitter leaves its nest

Twitter has changed (again). It seems as though with every recent interface update, Twitter glided away from its original path. First, the favorite star was replaced by a heart, then the egg avatar was cracked and abandoned, only to be replaced by a generic profile icon and now literally everything else has changed! There’s no more perch on the birdhouse for the bird to sit on, the quill has completely vanished, and the reply is a generic speech bubble.

 

Why it’s hot:
Twitter’s interface was intriguing because it was different. But change is inevitable and supposedly the new interface is meant to drive more user interaction by making it easier to use. But is it really easier? Or are things just now unnecessarily bolded, rounded, and strangely thin? Has Twitter completely destroyed it’s nesting ground or is this just a migration towards something better?

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of the new layout – I feel as though they’re telling me to get my eyes checked because of all the unnecessary bolding going on. But I guess that’s the least of my worries when there’s an orange man with very tiny hands who thinks his 140 character Tweets about “alternative facts” are life changing.

Article: https://www.wired.com/story/twitter-redesigned-itself-to-make-the-tweet-supreme-again/

Insta leans into Influencers

Today, Instagram rolls out a new feature that will now tell you who’s getting paid to post. I.e. You see your favorite Instagram model is going to a music festival in the Bahamas, and the post itself will have a call out to the sponsorship.
 
WHY IT’S HOT:
In addition to contributing to the suite of ad products Instagram currently provides to advertisers, this feature will explicitly note partnerships, sponsorships and paid product placement– and will hopefully mark the beginning of the end of the #ad hashtag. influencer marketing tends to be covert and transparency has at times been an issue. But instead of trying to fool consumers, Insta is leaning into its place as the natural outlet for bloggers and brands alike to reach their audience.

Amazon Goes Offline with a Physical Bookstore

After helping drive many U.S. bookstore chains out of business, Amazon has been opening its own retail stores recently.

Its first Amazon Books location in New York City opened in Manhattan’s Shops at Columbus Circle, which was previously home to a pretty large — and now closed — Borders Books and Music.

A customer review, the number of total Amazon.com reviews and a star rating are displayed under each book on the shelf. All the books in the store either received four-star ratings and above on Amazon.com, or come from lists of best sellers or a hand-curated selection of new, yet-to-be reviewed titles.

The brick-and-mortar locations aim to provide a “mecca of discovery” for book lovers, according to Jennifer Cast, vice president of Amazon Books. The books all have the covers, not the spines, facing out, to encourage browsing —even though the store could have fit as many as 5,000 more titles if books were displayed the conventional way, Cast said.

Why It’s Hot:

Though it’s possible to check out like a regular bookstore, Amazon Books offers significant discounts to Amazon Prime members. This provides a strong incentive for customers to join Amazon Prime — a program that analysts say prompts more spending on Amazon.com.

Experts say that by converting just two or three dozen customers a day to Prime would result in a tremendous growth in revenue. Customer lifetime value for most Amazon customers is in the low thousands of dollars.

No One Lies to Google

Recently Vox came out with an article interviewing Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are. Who said that polling that predicted Hillary Clinton’s win might have been up ended if pollsters had been exposed to data from Google.

Stephens did a deep dive into Google Trends under the hypothesis that people lie to pollsters, but they don’t lie to Google. He saw trends in increased searches of racial epithets and analyzed area data to find intent to vote (searching for polling places, researching candidates, etc.)

“There was a darkness and hatred that was hidden from traditional sources,” Stephens-Davidowitz says. “Those searches are hard to reconcile with a society in which racism is a small factor.”

When asked what he sees as his most startling finding…

I’m pretty convinced that the United States has a self-induced abortion crisis right now based on the volume of search inquiries. I was blown away by how frequently people are searching for ways to do abortions themselves now. These searches are concentrated in parts of the country where it’s hard to get an abortion and they rose substantially when it became harder to get an abortion. They’re also, I calculate, missing pregnancies in these states that aren’t showing up in either abortion or birth rates.

Why It’s Hot:

We are at a point of crisis in polling and electoral faith, if we have Google data to help us match results this might restore confidence in our system. This also can help point us to where people are under served or suffering in our country. By keeping anonymity, this lie free data collection keeps users protected but could use data for good…. or bad, I guess.

Source: https://www.vox.com/conversations/2017/6/13/15768622/facebook-social-media-seth-stephens-davidowitz-everybody-lies

Instagram has no shame.

Instagram has added lenses and father’s day stickers, similar to Snapchat.

The new lenses include a road trip filter, old man filter, dog filter (cough cough Snapchat rip off), a bear filter, sleepy time filter, and rainbow filter. Most filter are animated and bring the 2D lenses to life.

This is me as a dad, driving through my hood.

The update is available now! So hope on Instagram stories and take these new features for a test drive.

Why its hot?

  • Its only a matter if time before they start offering sponsored filters/lenses to brands.
  • It’s pretty crazy how much Instagram stories copies features from Snapchat but no one really cares because Instagram stories is doing so much better. Brands are going to be where their fan base is and a majority of brands have grown their following on Instagram.
  • It will be interesting to see where Instagram takes this with brands.

BONUS! Eater NYC justput out some really great article that I thought you could all benefit from…

  • Where to get $1 oysters (heck yes!): https://ny.eater.com/maps/dollar-oyster-deals-in-nyc-mapped
  • 27 Best Happy Hour specials in NYC (dont have to tell me twice): https://ny.eater.com/maps/happy-hour-nyc-best
  • Best ice cream in NYC rated. (you scream, ice scream): https://ny.eater.com/2017/6/15/15808630/new-york-ice-cream-ranked

4 Reasons People Watch Gaming Content on YouTube

Gaming videos are a head-scratcher. Why watch someone play when you could just … play? To find out, we asked gamers directly. This new research uncovers four key reasons people watch gaming content. For brands marketing to gamers, knowing these motivations can enable more meaningful connections.

1. For the community—to be part of something larger than oneself

2. For the inclusion—to feel accepted

3. For the fun of it—to escape

4. For the desire to improve—to learn new skills

Why It’s Hot: The implications for brands are real. Gamers are a highly influential audience with major purchasing power. But to truly connect requires knowing a bit more about why people are tuning into game-related video content.

Related article: Why Gamers Should Be Part of Your Audience Strategy 

 

Prepare to be a dog parent with Lola the AI mutt

AI isn’t just for setting reminders and asking general questions like with Alexa. We’re starting to see talking bots that specialize and focus on narrower tasks.

Not sure if you’re ready to have a dog? Get Lola on Google Home and see if you’re up for the task.

The whole point of Lola is to make people aware of what it’s really like to be a dog owner — random non-stop barking and all — before they take on the full responsibility. The bot will even throw in a joke every once in a while to keep you entertained.

The bot is not about selling stuff, it’s about training adults and kids before they adopt a dog. Lola will tell users it is going to run around in circles and chase a butterfly while they try to go for a run, and details other weird things dogs do on the regular.

Why It’s Hot: 
  • This bot shows us that bots can/will become more task-specific in the way apps have become more tailored to individual needs.

Bonus: Watch this video of a goldfish controlling a hammer.

OR this orchestra covering Daft Punk

Amazon is rolling out a Dash Wand with Alexa to make you buy everything

ake Amazon wants its Prime subscribers ordering from its online store all the time, so it just cooked up a new device to help them do exactly that — and it’s essentially giving it away for free.

The company just launched a new instant-ordering gadget, the Dash Wand, that lets you fill up your Amazon shopping cart by using voice commands or scanning barcodes on the packages you have sitting in your kitchen cupboards.

The Dash Wand is essentially an updated version of the OG Amazon Dash wand that debuted in 2015, but this newer version crucially adds Amazon’s artificially intelligent assistant, Alexa, to help out. The digital assistant can sync your shopping list across Amazon devices, convert units of measurement, and search for recipes.

This is a huge upgrade for Amazon’s instant-ordering devices. The original Dash was significantly bigger, cost more than twice as much as this new one, and only worked with AmazonFresh orders.

Amazon’s really pushing the Wand, offering a similar deal to previous promotions for its instant ordering Dash buttons. If you buy a Dash Wand for $20,  you’ll qualify immediately for $20 credit for your next purchase after registering the device. It literally pays for itself — and you can opt-in for a free 90-day AmazonFresh trial, which typically costs $15 per month. It’s actually a pretty great deal for anyone with a Prime subscription.

The Wand is also magnetic, so it can live on your fridge close to all of your most frequently ordered foods, and its Alexa access makes it more useful than the Dash buttons, which are restricted to one item instant ordering.

You don’t get the full Alexa experience here, though. The Wand can’t play music, and its press-button functionality means it won’t automatically respond to the genial “Hey, Alexa” wake command.

It might sound ridiculous that the company is essentially giving the Wands away with all the discounts and incentives, but it’s a savvy business move. Making the shopping experience easier and offering a new Alexa toy to play with will only drive up orders, as if Amazon needs any help to keep its business afloat.

Source: Mashable

Why It’s Hot

Connected AI experiences make the virtual assistant craze more useful. Amazon is pushing forward on many different ways to connect Alexa with other platforms, and this is a great example of a type of utility that in a few years we will wonder how we lived without.

 

This App Has Moved Over 333 Million Pounds of Food

Americans toss out, on average, 72 billion pounds of safe, edible food each year. Around 52 billion of those pounds flow from manufacturers, restaurants, and grocery stores into landfill. Feeding America is a nonprofit that reaches the 42 million people in the U.S. who struggle to afford food through managing 60,000 partner organizations and efforts. They have developed a new tech platform called MealConnect to streamline food donations from stores and restaurants to those in need. They have facilitated 737,000 pickups and moved over 333 million pounds of food–enough for 278 million meals.

MealConnect officially launched in early June after a 3-year pilot period. It is a platform that acts as a dashboard to manage the flow of excess food in the communities around Feeding America’s food banks. Accessible in both website and app form, MealConnect allows business donors—whether it’s a retail chain like Chipotle, a local shop, or a farmers market—to create a free account, where they can upload information about excess food they have to donate, and select a date and time they’d like it to be picked up. On the Feeding America side, an algorithm sorts through the available donations and matches them with a partner organization, like a soup kitchen, based on need and timing. Once a donation is matched with a partner, someone from the partner agency will drive to collect the excess food from the source.

Before MealConnect, if a restaurant offered leftover food, they’d have to call the food bank, and the entire process might take a long time through a series of phone calls. On the app, donors snap a picture of the food, and fill out the reason for donation, ingredients, and sell-by data, if possible (for retailers who tend to consistently have the same type of food to donate; they can also include instructions for pickup logistics. For each donor account, their donations live on a dashboard they can access to view past transactions.

So far, the platform has facilitated 737,000 pickups and moved over 333 million pounds of food–enough for 278 million meals.

The platform was developed with a $1.5 million grant from Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org; another $1 million grant from General Mills will help it scale out to more communities and organizations. Feeding America is hoping to make significant progress in solving hunger – its goal is to save around 2.8 billion pounds of food each year and end “food insecurity” by 2025.

Why it’s hot: This is an awesome example of using technology to simplify a dated process, and works towards getting wasted food into the hands of people that need it. Hopefully this platform is able to work towards solving a fundamental problem in the U.S.

Source: Fast Company

Spray-On Skin

While spray-on tans have been around for years, spray-on skin seems to be on the horizon. RenovaCare has developed a “Cell Mist” that sprays stem cells onto burn wounds. This process is more effective in regrowing skin that functions as the original skin did and is much less painful and faster.

 

Why it’s hot:

  • It’s less painful, faster and more efficient than skin grafting. Overall a great development for burn victims.
  • We tend to focus on tech gadgets made of metal and microchips, but this example reiterates what advancements in medical tech can do.
  • It’s interesting that they chose a spray gun to dispense the stem cells. I wonder what the design process looked like and what other options they considered. What other types of designs will we see and this type of technology evolves?

A Small Lesson in Listening and Content Strategy

Sometimes repurposing an asset for social isn’t as cut and dried as a quick video edit. 

Care.com, a website for sourcing home help like childcare, senior care, housekeeping and pet care, ran a video ad on Facebook. To the audience they served it to [twice] it came off tone deaf. It’s a Facebook spec-friendly version of a longer length commercial. The captions that appear over the video read, “Look at Mom and Dad. Cleaning the house on a Saturday, instead of playing with me.”

  

What did they do wrong?

  • The ad appears to tactlessly leverage a pouty, sad little girl to guilt parents into hiring a housekeeper. Does guilt really inspire action and create a positive brand connection? It’s a risky gamble, especially in social.
  • The Facebook edit fails to consider how the content comes off without the context of of the longer-form commercial. Repurpose with care.
  • They ran the same ad before, and got the same response. Then changed nothing, and ran it again (without responding to community comments). Maybe they targeted the wrong people?
  • The ad goes against the advice and values they push in their own web contentas directly pointed out by viewers of the ad. 
  • There’s also a typo. Oops.

Why it’s hot: It’s not that hot, but I saw this ad twice and it bugged me enough to keep me thinking about it. It annoyed me as a parent, sure. But it annoyed me more as a content strategist. Not sure how much was spent on this, but the investment could have had way more impact and positive feedback.

Why would Amazon buy Slack? Workers of the world beware…

Amazon is rumored to be mulling a purchase of Slack, the fast-growing corporate chat platform. A deal could give Slack a valuation of $9 billion, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Slack now has 5 million daily users, including more than 1 million paying users.As of last year, Slack claimed 77 Fortune 100 companies among its clients.

Slack

It’s easy to see why Amazon would want to add a popular corporate communications tool to its suite of offerings to Amazon Web Services customers. But the more intriguing explanation of Amazon’s interest has to do with one of the company’s even bolder visions of the future.

Amazon is one of the major players in the fight for dominance in the realm of voice-activated artificial intelligence. As of January, Amazon had sold more than 11 million of its Echo home device, according to a report by the investment banker Morgan Stanley. Lex, the conversation interface that powers the Echo, already has a Slack integration.

Acquiring Slack could position Amazon for shaping the way workers use voice-activated technology at a time when Slack is already considered a possible email slayer. Just think of what bringing all that work data to the Echo’s capabilities would mean for the worker—and the further blurring of any remaining line between work and home.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/06/why-would-amazon-want-to-buy-slack/530430/?utm_source=atltw

Why It’s Hot

The fight to keep work and personal time separate is real. Keep your eyes on this one as the line continues to blur.

Volkswagen Humor – Yay or Neigh?

There’s only one way to properly advertise trailer assist and it’s obviously with the help of some stable friends. Volkswagen saddled up but almost missed out on the chance of mounting this gem. This German ad showcases the Volkswagen Tiguan doing its thing using Trailer Assist.

http://players.brightcove.net/1126101268/ryIOOTgtg_default/index.html?videoId=5440122332001

The ad was released on YouTube prior to being aired on television due to fear of it stirring a negative response. The ad quickly became viral making VW reconsider its potential and eventually being pushed on to TV.

Why It’s Hot
The emissions scandal was no joke. Cheating emissions tests for the sake of sales and reputation ended up backfiring, essentially leading to a massive decrease of brand trust. But is it time for the emissions scandal talks to hit the hay for the enjoyment of some innocent horsing around?

Reality Winner and dots

A security contractor named Reality Winner was arrested this week for leaking documents about the Russian election hack to The Intercept.

Her arrest set off a conversation about journalism and op-sec, or operational security.

Reality Winner made a number of mistakes, but in particular she was outed by the specific printer that she used to print and carry out the documents.

A security firm contacted by BoingBoing said:

The document leaked by the Intercept was from a printer with model number 54, serial number 29535218. The document was printed on May 9, 2017 at 6:20. The NSA almost certainly has a record of who used the printer at that time.

The situation is similar to how Vice outed the location of John McAfee, by publishing JPEG photographs of him with the EXIF GPS coordinates still hidden in the file. Or it’s how PDFs are often redacted by adding a black bar on top of image, leaving the underlying contents still in the file for people to read, such as in this NYTime accident with a Snowden document. Or how opening a Microsoft Office document, then accidentally saving it, leaves fingerprints identifying you behind, as repeatedly happened with the Wikileaks election leaks. These sorts of failures are common with leaks. To fix this yellow-dot problem, use a black-and-white printer, black-and-white scanner, or convert to black-and-white with an image editor.

I thought this was an interesting look at how far digital traces can be used to identify us, and if you’re leaking something, just remember to remove all the metadata.

link: https://boingboing.net/2017/06/06/reality-winner-was-outed-by-in.html

Delta encouraging travel… and love? #DeltaDatingWall

Delta Airlines is partnering with Tinder to make dating app dreams come true with their #DeltaDatingWall.

Delta Air Lines, with help from Wieden + Kennedy New York, has put scenes from nine exotic destinations on a wall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, so that NYC singles can take selfies for their dating profile—looking like attractive jet-setters.

The printed photos on the wall, surrounded by cute illustrations by Andrew Rae, feature Honolulu, Paris, Los Angeles, Pisa, London, Mexico City, Amsterdam, Moscow, and Zurich. And while the selfie-takers might not have the cash to actually fly there, the work does celebrate the fact that Delta flies to the most destinations of any airline from NYC.

The #DeltaDatingWall will be up throughout the summer. On June 17, Delta, in partnership with Tinder, will hold a singles-centric event where you can actually get a proper photo taken next to the wall by a professional photographer.

Why its hot?

  • i-n-n-o-v-a-t-i-o-n
  • Not a traditional partnership but it works for their target audience
  • Delta and Tinder and hosting a singles event where people can get their picture professionally taken with the wallll……

Delta Painted Exotic Locales on a Brooklyn Wall for Singles to Snap Selfies Like They’re World Travelers

Facebook Filed a Patent To Secretly Watch Users Through Their Webcam

In a Facebook patent published in 2015, it explains how the company would use technology to see how your facial expressions change when you come across different content, and it would use that information to keep you on the site for longer.

 

The patent explained that if you looked away from your screen when a video of a kitten played, Facebook would stop showing similar type of videos in your Feed. If you smiled as you looked at pictures of one of your friends, for instance, Facebook’s algorithm would take note of that and display more pictures of that friend in your News Feed.

(additionally)

This is a picture of Mark’s desk and computer last year, where he has the camera and microphone taped up. If Mark is concerned about privacy and internet security, we should be as well.

WHY THIS ISNT HOT:

Do we really want, or think, that Facebook can make our lives better by keeping us on their site for longer, or tracking and leveraging our emotions as they happen in real time? When does Facebook stop becoming a tool that we feel like we have control over, and when does it become that manipulative sociopathic friend? If Facebook is one giant ad targeting machine, what will get us to stop using Facebook?

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/facebook-plans-to-watch-users-through-webcams-spy-patent-application-social-media-a7779711.html

 

Sephora adds new component to tech app

The latest upgrade to the Sephora app-based digital makeover experience has arrived.

The well known beauty retailing has expanded the functionality of its Sephora Virtual Artist, an augmented reality-based feature on its mobile app that enables shoppers to digitally try on make-up. The app’s new Cheek Try On service allows users to virtually try on over 1,000 shades of cheek color, including blush, bronzer, contour, and highlighter shades available in single colors and palettes.

As users choose their favorite shades, a list of the top matching colors available from Sephora is quickly returned to the user. Matches can be immediately tried on in Virtual Artist then purchased in app.

The Sephora Virtual Artist also enables users to virtually try on an assortment of lip colors and false eye lash styles. The tool integrated the ability to try on thousands of shades of eyeshadows earlier this spring.

Source

Why it’s hot:
As the beauty retail industry continues to sore and increased competition from main competitor, Ulta strengthens, the approach to converting your audience without even having them enter a store will only increase brand loyalty. I know from experience, that it is hard to visualize what you will look like with different makeup products on, and by adding this new feature to the Sephora app will help bring the already existing eye shadow and lip color functionality full circle. I may have to download this app!

 

Why Internet Giants are Fighting for Net Neutrality

Heads up for Monday June 12th, when major internet leaders (Amazon, Etsy, and Reddit among them) will join forces in the face of impending decisions by the FCC to potentially roll back Net Neutrality rules.
WHY ITS HOT
What is Net Neutrality and why should I care?

Net neutrality is the idea that internet traffic is treated equally and internet service providers can’t prioritize some traffic over others.

Net neutrality made it possible for Vimeo, along with countless other startups, to innovate and thrive. The FCC’s proposed rollback of the 2015 open internet rules threatens to impede that innovation and allow a handful of incumbent ISPs to determine winners and losers,” Vimeo said in a statement to CNet.

It will be interesting to see how the internet bands together to take action and how the FCC, and Congress, responds.

More Reading on Net Neutrality:

  • A very extensive Wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality
  • TechCrunch looks at the arguments against Net Neutrality: https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/19/these-are-the-arguments-against-net-neutrality-and-why-theyre-wrong/
  • Letter from Sam Altman of Y Combinator in WIRED making the case to other tech entrepreneurs to speak out Net Neutrality: https://www.wired.com/2017/05/hey-startups-duty-fight-net-neutrality/