Opportunistic Content 101: Toys R Us Giraffe Cam

“April the Giraffe” – a wildlife park’s pregnant giraffe, April, is set to give birth any day now, and the internet is watching. Toys R Us has capitalized on all the eyeballs by sponsoring the zoo’s live feed of April. The buzz has come in the form of genuine excitement and anticipation as well as conspiracy theories.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClnQCgFa9lCBL-KXZMOoO9Q/live

Why it’s hot: Toys R Us saw the simplest of opportunities – a basic sponsorship getting their brand name and logo in front of hundreds of thousands of people who likely fit within their target demo – and seized on it quickly, having to do little more than pony up the cash to support the zoo. It remains to be seen if the whole thing is truly organic, or if it’s a PR stunt orchestrated by Toys R Us, the zoo, and/or Doubletree Hotels whose local franchise has also placed advertising on the giraffe’s dedicated landing page.

Ready to Choose Your Own Adventure?

Netflix is working on technology that will allow viewers to choose their own adventure. They are considering implementing a new interactive storytelling technology for their shows and will have actors film alternative plot segments so that viewers at home can decide the shows unfolding.

Image result for Journey Under the Sea

Much like the Choose Your Own Adventure books of our youth, viewers will be able to decide how their show develops. Some storylines will have simple and linear choices while others will be more complex. All will be handled through your remote control.

Netflix will be running a trial with children’s shows later this year. If they are successful, they will use the model for adult programs.

Image result for alternate ending meme

 

Why it’s hot: 

  1. As attention spans get shorter and shorter, we’ll see a rise in interactive content in order to keep consumers engaged and on platform.
  2. Data, data, data… by allowing consumers to interact with the content, Netflix will be gaining valuable information from consumers which will help improve their customer experience.

Mind control your Netflix

MindFlix is an experimental headband that lets wearers scroll through and select titles on the service with only their thoughts.

Wouldn’t it be great if Netflix could just read your mind and pick out the exact thing you were in the mood for? The technology’s not there yet, but if MindFlix is any indication, that future is not far off. During a 24-hour hack day, Netflix employees were tasked to come up with projects centered around the service. MindFlix is one such project, using a special brainwave-reading headband made by Muse, allows users to scroll through and select items the interface through simple head movements and thoughts. For example, once the wearer decides on what they want to watch, they simply think ‘play’ and the selection starts on screen. It does this by sensing back activity and linking it to pre-selected actions, making finding something to watch easier and faster than ever.

Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot

We’ve been talking about Voice Recognition as a trend, but what about mind recognition? The execution here may be a little silly, but what about implications for health, emergency situations? Will there be a time where we have to recall that we used to have to touch things?

 

 

 

The “Creator Era”

With the Super Bowl just around the corner, it will be interesting to see how brands are leveraging influencers through social media to be a part of the new “creator era.”

The Super Bowl and other live events are the last vestige of a dying era of mass media. Sports–along with The Bachelor, The Voice and other major primetime events–are the few programs that remain impervious to DVR ad-skipping, as the immediacy of the live coverage is key to the viewing experience.

But does advertising on these mass outlets still make sense with increasing prices and changing consumer preferences?

Since fewer alternatives now exist to capture consumer attention en masse, the cost of the options that remain has risen quickly over the past 10 years, as referenced in Harvard Business working paper The Rising Cost of Consumer Attention. A Super Bowl ad for 2017 sells for $5 million–an effective CPM (cost per thousand impressions) of $38, quite an expensive price for the least–targeted advertising buy available.

The cost per eyeball becomes even higher when you take into account the increasingly divided nature of attention today versus 20 or even just 10 years ago. It’s been well-documented that attention spans are shorter than they once were. It’s no longer just running to the kitchen to grab a beer during the commercials, but instead diving headlong into a second-screen device.

One out of three viewers now watches part of the Super Bowl on a mobile device, and 50 percent of this group are millennials. On Super Bowl Sunday 2016, there were 200 million Facebook posts and 27 million tweets about the game. Social media conversation is an ingrained part of major live events.

Studies have shown that millennials are often blind to traditional TV ads or even have a negative perception of brands advertised. Growing up with TiVo and YouTube has conditioned many millennials to be in complete control of what they want to see and when. The result is that social media and smartphones have made millennials both followers and creators.

We deem this new age of participatory social media the “creator era.” Collaborative social engagement is a much deeper experience than the passive consumption of a TV commercial. It’s here, in social creation, where brands will have much higher attention for their marketing dollar.

Why its hot?

As digital marketers we have a challenge, engage audiences within the shortest amount of time and overcome the “second-screen syndrome.” Millennials have grown up with the a negative perception of advertisements and brands interjecting themselves into spaces where they just want to be themselves and talk to friends. They are conditioned to be in control of what they want to see and when they want to see it. Social media in particular has made them creators. To engage this audience we have to provide them with content that is experiential and not passive like TV.

It will be interesting to see how brands approach the super bowl this year.. Snickers is testing a LIVE TV sport and more attention may be put on the second screen this year than past years. In the new “creator era,” successful brands communicate awareness in a personalized manner through co-creation with influencers and advocates speaking in their voice to their audiences.

What “New Journalism” Means for Brand Content

The New York Times recently published internally, but also publicly, their mandate for a new approach to digital journalism. There are some exciting goals expressed for the publication that support what we already know as marketers, strategists and social media specialists – quality over quantity; use of more engaging and experiential digital content formats and visuals; and a clear need for social integration and audience participation with real-time reward.

To see where they are headed, check out https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/12/07/world/asia/rodrigo-duterte-philippines-drugs-killings.html [warning: graphic content]. The full 2020 report is here.

Why It’s Hot: A huge publisher like the Times acknowledging so forcefully this “new” reality of storytelling – rich photography and immersive design, integration of tech (like Google Maps), making UGC part of the story – is important as this will become the way more and more people expect to get their content from all publishers, including brands – especially as more and more people around the world gain access to the technology and networks needed to support the dissemination of this rich experiential content.

You may have also noticed that Medium is expressing something of a manifesto lately across their social media channels. Interesting to consider the way media is adapting and changing as we look to both work with publishers and capture their audiences for our brands. https://www.instagram.com/medium/

 

 

Amazon Launches Next-Gen QVC

stylecode2We knew it wouldn’t take Amazon too long to connect its streaming service with its shopping genius. So here it is, Style Code Live, a daily 30-minute streaming entertainment and shopping show that claims to be this generation’s answer to TV shopping. Goodbye, QVC.  Hello, content shopping.

We’ve seen social titans Pinterest and Instagram successfully play with social shopping. This evolution signifies where it’s headed. Content will no longer just be layered with connection to product and services, but will envelop simple product selling into narratives and ongoing storylines.

Using Yelp to Pass Along Recos to Navigate the Criminal Justice System

Yelp is a great place to find and share reviews for just about everything: restaurants, barbers, landscapers, even doctors. But as a recent article on The Marshall Report highlights, Yelp is now being used by people to provide commentary on navigating imprisonment… with reviews, tips and tricks from people on the inside and out.

Indeed, Yelp is becoming a significant an influential place of prison conversation. Topics run the gamut, sharing knowledge and opinions to influence how people interact with the criminal justice system. Some learnings the article highlights:

  • Requesting certain ethnic meal cards and strategies to get the best meal choice
  • Reviews of guards and protections for high-risk populations
  • Recommendations on what to do with clothing while in the shower
  • Fashion tips for visitors to make sure they will be let into visitation spaces

In cases like the last, users are using Yelp to help others. After being denied entry to the prison for clothing deemed “too tight” and “see-through” while trying to visit her brother, Victoria Ramos of California went to Yelp, as she said, to save others from the type of experience she had during her visit. “Maybe I would have went in the proper attire if I would have read a review similar to mine.”

In other cases, Yelpers on the inside are posting about their experiences to show the realities of prison life, recommend paths to advocate for yourself, and even pass along life lessons. Or as the title of the article suggests, “I reviewed jail on Yelp because I couldn’t afford a therapist.”

Why It’s Hot

As social platforms and user-generated content take more meaningful roles in our lives, instances like this use of Yelp are a reminder that the incredible accessibility of digital means people can appropriate technology for their own needs and agendas. Yelp never intended for reviews to pass along information in this manner, and yet the openness of the platform allows those niche users to use it to satisfy these needs and connect with one another. To create more meaningful connections, marketers and creators of these platforms should be probing for ways in which technology can fulfill new needs in unexpected ways.

Via The Marshall Project

How Instagram Is Changing the Way Brands Look at Photography, Online and Beyond Embracing the ‘perfectly imperfect’

Call it the “Instagram Effect”—that filtered, shadowed, sharpened, brightened, tilted, faded, structured, saturated way of seeing life through a lens. It’s changed the way people portray themselves and see others.

And it’s having the same impact on brands.

Design teams are beginning to see the benefit of moving away from over-lit, over-staged and generally over-edited photography for their campaigns and instead are favoring a more organic (albeit filtered) look and feel that matches the medium—on Instagram itself, obviously, but also in print and across an array of other media.

“We kind of call it ‘perfectly imperfect,'” said Nathan Iverson, evp and design director at Deutsch LA. “People will call you out pretty easily if your food looks overly propped or overly perfect because that’s not how it is.”

Iverson said Instagram certainly isn’t pioneering the use of effects, but it is resurrecting and evolving an old-school aesthetic. Making a photo retro or over-saturated or pushed and electric was done long before computers came along. The difference now is that analytics allow for real-time analysis of which visual styles appeal to viewers, blending art with marketing science.

Why it’s Hot:

Instagram’s influence on photography could add to the evolution of photography as people look to keep moments natural and first person view and move away from over-produced imagery.

Toyota Japan Tells the Same Story Twice in This Really Lovely Father’s Day Ad

To celebrate Father’s Day, Toyota Japan released a heartwarming ad that tells the story of a dad and daughter growing up together — from both of their perspectives.

Titled “Loving Eyes,” the video begins with a montage from the father’s point of view, as he puts a “Baby in car” sticker on his car, takes his daughter to elementary school, drives her around during her moody teen years, goes to her wedding and finally, puts that same sticker on her family car as a new mom.

The video then flips the perspective to show what his daughter sees during these same events.

“This is a story dedicated to parents and children in the world on Father’s Day,” the YouTube caption reads.

It’s an emotional ride.

 

What it’s hot:

It’s an interesting creative spin in a typical and expected messaging around father’s day and celebrating father’s.  Great example of a executional spin on common messaging.

 

Doctors code bills for payment. On October 1st, 2015, this will blow-up. Welcome to ICD-10!

ICD-10 COFUSION 5.29Ever look closely at the form the doctor or nurse gives you as you leave? There are codes that describe your specific medical reason for the visit; and thus, the specific amount of money they will be paid.

This is about to be turned on it’s head and everyone is scrambling. ICD-10 is about to cause potential chaos in our healthcare system.

Once again, government regulation is kicking into place another level of complexity for the entire healthcare system. It’s pretty straight-forward: as of October 1st, 2015, ALL doctors need to use a new coding system called ICD-10. Sounds simple enough until you realize the complexity of switching from ICD-9 to ICD-10 and how the market is reacting; it reveals both the inate fear and reminds us that as consumers we need to pay attention.

ICD-9 vs ICD-10 chart 5.29

ICD-9: 13,000 codes. ICD-10: 68,000 codes. Imagine the fear if they get it wrong. One of the leaders in electronic Health Records, Athena Health, is using this countdown (fear) with an aggressive offer (guarantee) to drive new business. Here is their guarantee:

“We take on the burden of the ICD-10 transition for our practices with a combination of continuously updated cloud-based software, including a team of experts handling payer and interface outreach and testing.  And, because we align our overall financial goals with yours, we put ourselves at risk for your resultsSee full details.”

They use a compelling video, too: http://www.athenahealth.com/guarantee/icd-10

ICD-10 Athena Hot Sauce

Why is this hot? Complexity that requires simplicity is a challenge we all face as communicators and strategists. This is a great trend to watch to see how true disruption is managed. The software mentioned in an earlier post — Sensentia — is a great example of innovation meant to remove the complexity and humanize it. Hot Sauce Sensentia page 1

 

Invisible Concert Anyone?

Billboard Magazine organized a stunt to bring music lovers back in time. The trick… they teamed up with a hypnotist!

As a way for the magazine to pay tribute to their fans, they scoured social media in order to select music lovers to participate in their stunt.

Once the fans accepted the invitation, they were met by a hypnotist that was able to get them in a state of mind to relive their favorite concerts. The result… hilarious and a genius display of share-worthy content for Billboard Magazine!

Why It’s Hot

Brands are turning to stunts and promoting them in the digital space to entertain their audiences and make their content more shareable.

Lego Keeps Facebook Content Fresh

When creating killer content for social platforms, we can get inspiration from brands like Lego that think outside the box (literally).

For this “Bring Your Child to Work Day” edition of Hot Sauce, we are looking at content created by Lego as we #MPOWER the MRM//McCANN kids for the day.

Lego created a thematically linked, ownable content series that kept engagement top of mind.

Can you guess the reference in each image below?

Lego1

lego2

 Why It’s Hot: It’s fun for everyone!

Were you able to guess all of the images? Scroll down for the answers.

 

 

 

(1) The Simpsons (2) Smurfs (3) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (4) Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (5) Little Red Riding Hood (6) The Three Little Pigs

Source: Facebook Blueprint Training

Twitter Redesigns its Homepage to Lure In New Users

Twitter launched a new homepage this week designed specially for visitors who are not logged in to an account. The redesign offers real-time content from popular Twitter accounts for a similar experience to that of users who are logged in.

Read more via Venture Beat.

Why It’s Hot: Twitter found that the number of new birds joining the flock was down and sought to fix that. The company hatched the redesigned homepage solution with the hope that if the homepage is more engaging, more visitors will sign up and become active users. Since engagement is key to growing and maintaining a user base, it’s no surprise that Twitter is trying to engage visitors to its main site.

But rather than outwardly attempt to persuade people to start tweeting, the new homepage seems like a more effective way to reach site visitors by showing them what their experience could be like. Instead of telling people what benefits they’ll enjoy by using certain products or services, just show them.

The redesigned homepage is currently only available on the desktop website and its launch is limited to the U.S., but Twitter says that it intends to bring the homepage to more places over time.

Clever Cancer PSA Stunt

Cancer Research U.K. promoted a PSA to highlight the dangers of being oblivious. I believe that there is a great message behind this because often times in ads, people don’t understand the underlying message behind them. This PSA demonstrates that people are simply missing the signs.

Why Its Hot

Sometimes people ignore the message or the purpose of what an ad is promoting. This PSA was a clever way to expose the ways that people tend to ignore the things that are right in front of them.

Imagine Dragons and Target Win the Grammys with #MoreMusic

Target took a different approach to its Grammys advertising this year. Rather than opt for a traditional 30-second spot, the brand pooled eight 30-second media buys into a single four-minute commercial: A commercial break turned into a live performance by rock group Imagine Dragons.

Target’s VP of Marketing said the #MoreMusic campaign, launched this past week on the night of the Grammy Awards, gives the fans just what they want when watching the awards show: more music! In doing so, the campaign promotes the retailer’s exclusive release of the deluxe edition of the band’s upcoming album.

#MoreMusic literally gives fans more music: During the Grammys broadcast, viewers were treated to an additional live performance during a commercial break, and fans will get exclusive bonus tracks when they purchase the album from Target.

In addition, fans are also able to unlock bonus content on Twitter by joining the conversation with #MoreMusic.

Read more via Adweek and AdAge.

Why It’s Hot: What better audience to try to sell your new album to than viewers watching the biggest night in music? Imagine Dragons and Target made history with the first ever live ad to air in real-time during the Grammys. The #MoreMusic campaign lives on in rotation the week after the awards show, when the Imagine Dragons album is set for release.

With technology booming and us marketers having to be even more creative with ad content and media, this is just one of a list of infinite possibilities of connecting a brand to the consumer.

Time Inc. Tries to Join Millennial Culture with The Snug

Time Inc. is re-imagining the way we curate and deliver content for this highly coveted audience” of millennials, says Evelyn Webster, exec VP of Time Inc.

content + digital + DIY = a hopeful recipe for success for engaging millennials

Many say 2015 is the year of content marketing, and at a time when the media industry is undergoing such a transformation in the way content is distributed, Time Inc. realized it was time to make a change. It’s time to focus on digital.

As part of Time Inc.’s new strategy to publish digital-only sites that aggregate content from across the web, The Snug is a new website that pulls in DIY content from a variety of sources, in an effort to resonate with millennials.

The Snug.

Per Ad Age, here is how it works:

Snug staff repackage articles from other Time Inc. titles to better appeal to young readers. There is, for example, a post on The Snug that includes several pictures of Lauren Conrad‘s home. The Snug headline is “go inside lauren conrad’s apartment (without getting arrested)” — all lower case. The pictures are from an InStyle slideshow that carried the headline “Inside Lauren Conrad’s Beverly Hills Penthouse.”

Why It’s Hot | This new effort by Time Inc. is a great example of understanding the target, and ensuring that we are not requiring a change in behavior in order to access our product. Millennials are always on, super connected to social, and highly mobile. Additionally, they are avid app-users, downloading dozens of apps that pull together feeds from all over the Internet into a one-stop-shop. It makes sense that Time Inc. would essentially create the same thing for audiences, from their own content. Regarding the content being pulled in, as we tell so many of our clients, solutions don’t always have to be entirely new platforms and content. Sometimes we can use pre-existing assets, but share them in a way that is more convenient and enticing for new audiences. Overall, this seems to be a smart move by Time Inc. – even if it is a bit of a late arrival to the game.

Netflix Enables Private Recommendations Across Platforms

Last September, Netflix enabled people to privately recommend content to their friends on Facebook. Now, Netflix has expanded that private sharing capability to Android users, who can now send and receive recommendations right from their phone. The service is also integrated with Android Wear-powered smartwatches: issuing an alert to users who can then use their phone to watch content, thank their friend, or view details about the show.

Why It’s Hot?
Great example of a brand identifying their customer habits, in this case, privately recommending content to friends, and providing an integrated means of doing so across social, mobile, and wearables.

Customer Experience Platform

With so much data and so many tools, many companies are now issuing dashboards to bring everything together.

The latest is NewBrand, a provider of customer experience software for social listening, analytics, and reputation management. The Washington, D.C.-based company is today launching its new Command Center to surface the most important information in its system.

Any differentiation can help a social monitoring platform distinguish itself in an increasingly crowded category.

“You can [go outside] and spit and probably hit a social monitoring service,” CEO Kristin Muhlner told VentureBeat.

Her company’s system, she said, measures not only social data, but other sources as well, including surveys, point-of-sale, and transactional data.

“Pulling all of that info into a single platform gives us a singular lens,” she said, which is the idea of the Command Center.

The dashboard is intended to present anomalies in customer data and offer alerts about possible issues. There’s also the ability to drill down into more detail, make comparisons with competitors, and share information across an organization.
image
Why It’s Hot:
We pride ourselves in being a top customer experience agency and how skilled we are in utilizing our tools such as social listening and performance data. Now a tool exists that could be meant for us. This presents not only a new application for big data, but also an interesting opportunity to bridge the data to directly impact our business goals. Is there something we can take from this? Are we able to create a similar solution?

Instagram Video Ads are here to stay

igvid

The average consumption of video has increased, think about your own personal use of Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr and other personal digital outlets.  After 6 months of testing Instagram is now cementing video ads into it’s business model.

Instagram’s Video Ads Are Finally Live

This a delicate space, Instagram and other partners have to make sure they do not disturb the user flow.  When UX is effected, comments give rise to a negative image for the brand. However, brands like Banana Republic, Lancome, Activision and other large brand truly believe that as brands they are taking advantage of a being first to market regardless of the risk.

Why It’s Hot?

Our target audiences are becoming increasingly more mobile focused, but not mobile banners or text, they love using video.  If we continue to focus on what works now, we will miss out on what works next and the real margins and ROI.  Brands that are lagging with without video, or Instagram or a branded social media outlet for their video will be left behind.  Let us continue to push the envelope and bring technology backed by performance and creative solutions.

Meaningful Connections in Social Meida (Nissan)- via Media Week

nissan6-20141009042501882

In a day and age in the digital world where some brands are throwing ad dollars at the wall and hoping for something to stick, Nissan is being discerning.  They are actually engaging strategy in their social and digital media capabilities, a practice many agencies leave out of their scope of work and leave in the hands of digital teams, which leave social to only be the executor’s, and not strategists. Nicola Kemp of Media Week UK comments that “sport and social media are such obvious partners that it is all too easy to declare the future of sports sponsorship will be played out primarily within the realms of 140 characters.”  This is the type of social and digital strategy that is built in a planning period and not when only executing.  In regards to Nissan, they are focusing their digital media efforts on large sponsorship’s (similar to an old OOH campaign from the 90’s, but layered with deeper analysis and data from today’s digital transparency.), less venues, larger audiences with targeting and live touch points with memorable experiences for consumers OOH & digitally.

Why It’s Hot

Large auto clients, as well as many other publicly traded companies (such as our clients) are shifting their trend of spending media budgets within agencies towards live events with highly targeted audiences.  Years ago this was the same spend that was utilized at large scale and investment with substantial OOH sponsorship’s, however it lacked the targeting.

In the end, you only buy a car every 5-6 years (1-3 years for most single males 25-34 and 3-6 years for single females 25-34- Comscore March 2014*), so by the time you have reached the consumer they have already had ample time to make up their mind and cemented their own opinion.  To prevent being left out Nissan hopes to be part of the long term conversation and have meaningful social and digital campaigns with targeted live events.  “You need to be part of what people enjoy and you have to be meaningful.”  Nissan will attempt this with live events surrounding sports such as their World Cup campaign’s this past year that focused on their Hispanic audience (hyper targeted demo and geo and behavioral).

The Goal is: Less, bigger and live

Two Interesting Approaches in the Movie Business

This week, I came across two interesting stories, that both are grounded in new ways to distribute content and insights about your audience.

1. Adam Sandler has agreed to produce and star in four feature films that will be released exclusively on the Netflix. The deal is yet another effort by Netflix to bolster its content portfolio, and one that is expected to be a hit with users. Sandler is one of the few actors whose films consistently rank among the most viewed by subscribers, Netflix said.”His appeal spans across viewers of all ages — everybody has a favorite movie, everyone has a favorite line — not just in the U.S., but all over the world,” said Ted Sarandos, the company’s chief content officer.

Source: ABC News

2. Lions Gate and Stephenie Meyer, the creator of the vampires-and-werewolves “Twilight” saga, on Tuesday announced plans to select five aspiring female directors to make short films based on “Twilight” characters. The mini-movies, financed by Lions Gate and its production partners, will be shown exclusively on Facebook next year. “We think Facebook is a great way for us to introduce the world of ‘Twilight’ to a whole new audience while re-energizing existing fans,” Michael Burns, Lions Gate’s vice chairman, said in an interview. The effort reflects the manner in which Hollywood is maintaining its most valuable film properties between sequels and prequels and remakes. In the past, studios barely kept a pilot light lit, forcing marketing teams to constantly reactivate cold fan bases. Now the savviest studio marketers are using Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube and other online platforms to keep fans on a constant low boil.

Source: NY Times

Why It’s Hot

I’m interested to see the different ways in which movie and TV content are both created distributed going forward. These two examples show how understanding audience behavior (actor preferences, social media habits) can drive innovative solutions.

Derek Jeter Launches The Players’ Tribune Publication

Just days after his final game as a major league player, Jeter has launched The Players’ Tribune, a new online publication offering “unfiltered, honest and unique perspectives” direct from athletes. The site will feature content from athletes across every sport, including articles, videos, podcasts, photo galleries and polls. 

“I do think fans deserve more than ‘no comments’ or ‘I don’t knows,'” Jeter wrote in a letter on The Players’ Tribune site. “We want to have a way to connect directly with our fans, with no filter.”

This afternoon the publication introduced NFL player Russell Wilson as its first senior editor, with a timely article from Wilson addressing the issue of domestic violence and his personal history. According to a press release, the site plans to announce further athlete editors in the coming days and weeks.

Jeter stressed in an interview with ESPN that The Players’ Tribune was not meant as a substitute for sports journalism. “We’re not trying to take away from sportswriters. Sportswriters are what makes sports successful,” he told ESPN. “I think we’re sort of working in conjunction with them.”

Instead, his site is meant as a way for athletes to address fans directly, beyond the 140 character limit of Twitter.

“How many times do you see someone put something out, and then next thing you know, they’re saying it came across the wrong way, it was out of context, it’s not what I meant,” he told ESPN, adding, “This generation has fun sharing things.”

Why it’s hot:

This site has great potential to disrupt the current sports news franchise.  It would be interesting to see the degree of access and daily in-depth (beyond 140 characters)  interaction between the fans and athletes.

 

 

Scripps Networks Agrees To Supply Channels To Dish Network’s Planned Streaming Video Service

HGTV, Food Network, and Great American Country aren’t the first channels that come to mind when one thinks about programming for millennials. But following an agreement announced this morning, the Scripps Networks Interactive channels will be part of the package that Dish Network is assembling for its planned broadband video service that will target young viewers who want a low-cost alternative to the full pay TV bundle that many consider to be too expensive. The companies agreed to a multi-year contract renewal that will add DIY Network and Cooking Channel to Dish’s “America’s Top 200″ package, and give the No. 2 satellite company additional opportunities to offer Scripps’ services on its video on demand (VOD) offerings and TV Everywhere streaming platform for subscribers both in and out of the home.

“We are committed to making our lifestyle content available to consumers wherever and whenever they want it,” Scripps CEO Kenneth Lowe says. “This first-of-its-kind OTT [for ‘Over The Top,’ industry jargon term  for the Internet] deal for Scripps Networks Interactive enables us to reach even more people through Dish’s innovative services.”

Why it’s not:

Interestingly, this new broadband service likely will offer a single stream, preventing families from using it to watch different channels on different TVs or devices at the same time. Dish has to be careful to ensure that the new offering attracts non-subscribers — without tempting people who buy the full pay TV bundle to trade down to save money. Will this service attract those who are leaving traditional cable?  or will it cannibalize traditional cable base?  Or will this be another content vehicle that feeds our insatiable hunger for more entertainment? 

 

 

The NBA’s Instagram Team Scores Without Sneakers Pro basketball continues to slam dunk social video

The National Basketball Association has held a Dr. J-like grip on the No. 1 ranking in the weekly Adweek/Shareablee Instagram video charts since the pro league’s playoffs got into full stride last month. It would be easy to say the dominance is all about LeBron James—his fans and haters who seemingly cannot get enough of the best player in the world.

But the NBA’s social media staffers deserve a lot more credit than that, routinely finding creative ways to post 15-second clips that generate huge engagement. For instance, one week, it was a series of stills that showed the trendy/preppy duds being worn by James, Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce, Russell Westbrook, etc., as they strutted their stuff before and after their playoff games. No highlight reels needed.

Most recently, the NBA won Instagram with a social video showing the Miami Heat’s Mike Miller running the court and nailing a three-point shot in a Finals game versus the San Antonio Spurs. The catch: The basketball journeyman was only wearing one shoe—and the #FlashBack clip was from last year’s Finals against the Spurs. In terms of repurposing creative, that’s a slam dunk.

Why it’s hot:

Interesting way to generate content around the event.  Sometimes unusual and unknown activities around an event (pre/post) provides the audience with a moment of “discovery” to fuel their immersive experience.

 

 

Brach’s candies introduces a virtual taste test

Head on over to Brach’s website and you’ll discover the brand new virtual taste test.  

What you do is you select a product, and then see a digital metaphor that showcases what the candies taste like through music and graphics. After selecting a description, you move on to the next one until the virtual taste test ends with a completed phrase you made up from the selected word.Then you are given the option to share with friends on Facebook or Twitter and receive a coupon for $1 off any two Brach’s items.

http://www.brachs.com/virtual-taste-test/

Why it’s hot:

As technology moves us to smell-o-vision and other virtual sensory experiences, sometimes we forget beautifully shot ingredients and evocative music could stir our emotional desires for what we love – candy.  In addition, the share and couponing functionality propels us to take action.

 

AMC drama to become first show to ever premiere on Tumblr

Tumblr just became a lot more than the place to find the best GIFs.

Halt and Catch Fire, created by Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers, follows the rise of the PC in the early 1980s, roughly one year after IBM.

A scene from the AMC series

Halt and Catch Fire is a fun ride through the early days of the PC era, a time when no one could imagine a portable computer weighing less than 15 pounds, let alone one that was a few ounces and doubled as a phone,” AMC President Charlie Collier said in a statement. “It’s a perfect show for summer and – given the subject matter – a good fit for Tumblr’s first TV series premiere and AMC’s first social media screening.”

In addition to the launch of the new series, AMC also plans to launch a branded network Tumblr page to be integrated into AMC.com.

“Tumblr is the biggest platform for social TV and destination for many of AMC’s most passionate fans,” Global Head of Brand Partnerships at Tumblr Lee Brown said. “We’re excited to welcome Halt and Catch Fire and the rest of AMC’s lineup to the home of fandoms through Tumblr integration on AMC.com and to offer this first look at Halt and Catch Fire to our community.”

Starting on Monday, May 19 and running through Saturday, May 31, viewers will be able to preview the new series on Tumblr and AMC.com before it premieres on AMC on Sunday, June 1 at 10 p.m.

Why it’s Hot:

This is an an interesting strategy – by putting exclusive content directly on a social media platform should create effortless sharing as well as repositioning tumblr as a content destination.

 

Can Spritz Change How We Absorb Information?

Spritz is a Boston based startup focused on text streaming technology and its integration into modern communication. The founders are serial entrepreneurs with extensive experience in developing and commercializing innovative technologies. We have assembled an international team of experts in reading methodologies and software engineering. Spritz offers a variety of licensing options for the integration with operating systems, applications, wearables, and websites.

The time consuming part of reading lies mainly in the actual eye movements from word to word and sentence to sentence. In addition, traditional reading simply takes up a lot of physical space. Spritz solves both of these problems. First, your eyes do not have to move from word to word or around the page that you’re reading. In fact, there’s no longer a page – with Spritz you only need 13 total characters to show all of your content. Fast streaming of text is easier and more comfortable for the reader, especially when reading areas become smaller. Spritz’s patent-pending technology can also be integrated into photos, maps, videos, and websites for more effective communication.

 

Find out more here, here, and here

 

 

Why It’s Hot

Consumer information is what us marketers want consumers to do. The implication that this technology is being implemented into websites and apps creates huge potential for us to give more information quicker and faster to who we want. At the moment it is also a very unique way to display content and an eye will be kept on Spritz for any future opportunities

 

 

A new Medium.

Among the handful of new social media sites you should care about, Medium strikes a chord. At its core Medium is a blogging site, though really operates as an extension of Twitter. “A place where you can find and share knowledge, ideas, and stories—specifically, ones that need more than 140 characters and are not just for your friends,” its Founders state on the site.

In short: You write a brief blog post, which appears in one of the site’s many “collections”—such as “New York Stories” or “Thirst for Adventure.” Users vote to recommend posts. How prominently a post is displayed on the site depends on how many votes it receives.  Anyone with a Twitter account can log in and start reading and voting. (Note: for now, you’ll need an invite from Medium to actually write something as they have not yet opened it up.)

Picture1

Why it’s hot
Medium was created by Evan Williams and Biz Stone, whom you may recognize as the guys who started Twitter and Blogger. Plus, the About Us page of Medium stresses that the site favors quality over quantity – a welcome respite in the current digital age of clutter.

Bolthouse Farms Unveil ‘Food Porn Index’

Bolthouse Farms, a farm that makes bottled juices and dressings, decided to study our food viewing habits, and it created what it calls the Food Porn Index. It’s a site that monitors social media conversations and mentions of certain food hashtags in 24 categories on Twitter and Instagram. The Bolthouse algorithm checks for references to the keywords every 15 minutes. Of the 171 million posts picked up by the algorithm shortly before the site went live on Wednesday evening, 72 percent featured less healthy foods, while roughly 28 percent were accompanied by photos and posts of fruits or vegetables.
Food porn index

Not surprisingly, unhealthy snack foods tend to dominate the food porn universe, in fact “at any given moment, there are over 6 million mentions of bacon on Instagram!” That’s a whole lot of bacon. Similarly popular items include cake, burgers and pizza. Of the 171 million posts picked up by the algorithm shortly before the site went live on Wednesday evening, 72 percent featured less healthy foods, while roughly 28 percent were accompanied by photos and posts of fruits or vegetables. 

Since Bolthouse Farms believes fruits and veggies are getting the shaft, they’re encouraging people to post more healthy food porn. They “believe if we can change the way people think (and post) about fresh fruits and veggies, we’ll make the world a healthier place.” The site also employs humor, music and games like Beet BoxPizza Bot, Guac-a-Mole and this trippy mushroom animation. Or play a musical Carrot Keyboard or follow the Burger Snake. The goal, say Bolthouse executives, is to remind consumers that a fresh strawberry is just as beautiful as those found in a dessert like a tart — and healthier.

Why it’s hot:

The website is a visual playground of spinning doughnuts, swinging pomegranates, screaming ice cream cones, splattered condiments, dancing Brussels sprouts and more. As more and more consumers make the connection between what they eat and how they feel and seek information about the ingredients in the foods they consume, food companies are increasingly trying to promote the healthiness and purity of the foods they sell in a fun, sexy, entertaining (and hopefully habit transforming) way.