Wearables takes another step forward in mind-body management


Is that big interview stressing you out? A new wearable may be able to tell you how to fix that.Spire is a device that measures your breathing rhythms to deduce stress levels, its website says. It then provides suggestions on how to combat those stress symptoms, such as taking deep breaths. Spire clips onto a belt or shirt and tracks movement and corresponding breaths, which it then sends to your smartphone. A Spire app then sends the data to the cloud for analysis.


Why It’s Hot

Because self-health via tech will be the wave of the future, as healthcare costs will continue to increase, and 2) the idea puts more power and responsibility in the individual’s own hands.  Plus, and it’s a big plus, it opens the door to huge branding and experiential opportunities for marketers to enter more deeply into individual’s lives.

Twitter announces ability to deliver Weather-related Tweets

When temperatures rise this summer, expect to see more promoted posts on Twitter for iced tea recipes and other ways to beat the heat.

The owner of the Weather Channel announced an advertising effort on Twitter on Wednesday that will allow marketers to target products to real-time local weather conditions. A Twitter user in an area with especially cold weather might see a promoted message for chili, while a user in Seattle could see messages promoting movies or other indoor activities.

Advertisers will be able to send promoted tweets based on factors including temperature, humidity, wind, rain and dew point that are targeted to Twitter subscribers based on information including location, interests, keywords and devices, the Weather Company said.


Why It’s Hot

Simple alignment between data provider (Weather Channel) and Engagement Channel (Twitter) that provides new means to leverage temperature or weather-related triggers on a personalized level.

This is the coolest trophy ever @NewYorkFestival

The New York Festivals has taken trophy design to the next level.
The design reflects the iconic manhattan skyline.  However, these
trophies are like no others as they have a built in projector that plays
the winning case study when you pick it up.


Why It’s Hot

Design is excellent as it shows how the pieces all fit together to convey one message–city-based theme and awards, and then, implanting technology to enable much higher interaction and appreciation of the content. The only missing link–internet-enabled downloads that can change the content after the event for further information.  Love how an old category–trophies–was reinvented.


L’Oreal Targets Ads Based on Hair Color in Online Photos

The ad-targeting technology from “in-image ad platform” GumGum earlier this month began placing ads for L’Oreal Freia and Preference Ombre products within photos across its network of 1,000 news and entertainment sites from such publishers as Tribune Co., New York Times Co., and E.W. Scripps Co. Different products are featured based on the hair color of the women in the photos.

The Ombre lineup, expanded earlier this year, was the product of a brand research and innovation team that had noticed a trend toward celebrities using highlights from the jawline down to the ends. Clients also include car companies targeting photos of cars or movie studios, such as Paramount, which targeted photos of Katy Perry to promote her film “Part of Me.”

“Photos drive more page views than any other content,” accounting for 65% to 70% of views for a typical news property, Mr. Tanz said. While GumGum may sound like a niche player, he said its ads reach 70 million unique visitors monthly, according to ComScore

The technology looks for appropriate images and then inserts relevant ads.

Why It’s Hot

Incredibly innovative use of Google data to leverage consumer mindset and interest based on what they are looking at, to align product perfectly.  Opens the door to asking the question for other marketers–can all ad content be matched to photographs being viewed?  Active wear for athletic/fitness products?  Smoking cessation for people who are smoking? Weight reduction for overweight individuals?  Does this enhance contextual placement based on copy–could be.  The question is how and where.


Smart Bike Brings GPS Directions to Your Handle Bars

Similar to a fitness wristband tracker, the bike keeps track of your riding progress, too: it monitors and logs your activity such as distance traveled, calories burned and duration. That data is housed in a corresponding app, where bikers can later analyze the details and set goals.

In addition to giving turn-by-turn directions, the bike gets smarter over time too — it learns where to avoid potholes and suggests the safest route. And because it’s connected over a network, the company is alerted when one goes missing to help aid in its recovery.

Another helpful perk that every rider could use some help in is blind spot detection. The Valour picks up on haptic feedback in the handle bar grips when an object enters a blind spot and then alerts the ride.


Why It’s Hot

The Internet of things is coming, well faster than we all realize. This example of how it is working for something as simple as a bike–and commonplace–is a perfect example of how technology-enabled “things” can make consumer’s lives easier and better.



MIT Invents A Shapeshifting Display You Can Reach Through And Touch

At the MIT Media Lab, the Tangible Media Group believes the future of computing is tactile. Unveiled today, the inFORM is MIT’s new scrying pool for imagining the interfaces of tomorrow. Almost like a table of living clay, the inFORM is a surface that three-dimensionally changes shape, allowing users to not only interact with digital content in meatspace, but even hold hands with a person hundreds of miles away.

Put it in the simplest terms, the inFORM is a self-aware computer monitor that doesn’t just display light, but shape as well. Remotely, two people Skyping could physically interact by playing catch, for example, or manipulating an object together, or even slapping high five from across the planetat’s only the beginning

TouchingvirtuallyMIT Touching Virtually

Why It’s Hot

The virtual world and the real world are bound to connect, in the near term. What this means for brands and marketers–including companies like eHarmony and Facebook–is the ability to now enable sensory relationships between their prospects and products–to “feel” the shape of a new phone, for instance, or to enable people living apart to touch each other.




A Slip-On Leather Shoe You Assemble Yourself

Instead of buying yet another pair of Toms this summer, perhaps you order an envelope with a leather shoe upper, a leather shoe sole, and some cotton laces inside. Then you stitch the pieces together. And so you’ve made a shoe, with all the ease of an Easy Bake Oven.

That’s the premise behind Pikkpack, a new footwear company with a Kickstarter campaign. “By implementing the DIY concept, we would like to encourage the user’s participation in the manufacturing process and therefore to improve the user-product connection,” says Hanna Halasz, who–along with co-founder Sara Gulyas–based the Pikkpack design off a traditional Hungarian bocskor shoe made from a single piece of leather. It’s an ultra-minimalist product: Pikkpack shoes weigh less than one pound, and only uses a small amount of glue in the heels.Shoes


Why It’s Hot

While it may seem just another competitor to Tom’s on its face, the larger point is how it can marry up to the future of 3D Printing becoming available to individuals. With this technology, marketers can start thinking about how they can actually give consumers their products in new ways–digital ways–that enable delivery to be cheaper, immediate and infinitely customizable.


How One Game Studio Is Fighting Alzheimer’s Disease With Spaceships And Sci-fi

65 isn’t old–not when most of us hope to push into our eighties. That’s why designer Gaz Bushell of developer Fayju and Dr. Jody Mason, a biochemist at the University of Essex in London, are turning to video games to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. Today it affects one in 20 people over 65. A decade from now, that number will be even bigger.

The two are developing Cascade, a tower-defense game due in June for the Android microconsole Ouya. The game explores the amyloid cascade hypothesis, a theory about why Alzheimer’s happens, through easy-to-understand concepts for the young generations that the disease will be hitting later in life. Players work alone or together in the same room to defend brain cells from the disease.


Alzhiemers Game

Why It’s Hot

This is the second gamification idea around health conditions to emerge in as many weeks. This one however is even more superior, as it educates players about the disease, even incorporating the latest therapeutic treatments into the game, and how they are used to prevent damage to the neurons.


Burt’s Bees finds a new way in to your life: Your Calendar

In what Burt’s Bees describes as a marketing first, they are using people’s calendars to promote a new line of anti-aging facial products that promise to reduce the appearance of dark spots and brighten complexions, Burt’s Bees is asking consumers to click on a link that will automatically add a series of eight weekly calendar items.

As with typical appointments, all fields are filled in and, if users have configured calendars to send them reminder alerts, they will get them from the branded appointments, too. (The brand will not be able to post future messages in calendars automatically, or to learn anything about the content in them.)– NYTimes: Burt’s Bees gets into your life

Burts Bees invites itself into your calendar/NYT

Why It’s Hot

It a digital world that’s totally cluttered with messaging, this marketer identified a new channel to exploit, and one that consumes a large amount of consumer’s time. What’s more, they don’t choose to openly sell until the 4th (and last) week, thereby using content and goodwill as a thank you for invading your space (and not getting kicked out). Furthermore, any marketer that has products that require long sell-ins, or reminders, or low-loyalty can benefit for this avenue.  Kudos to them for finding a new, and pure avenue to reach consumers.

New Condition-Related Gaming Links Patients Closer than Ever (and Others)

A 19 year-old diagnosed with Cancer and given a 2% chance of living founds “Survivor Games”, a non-profit, purpose-based gaming firm that unites those with Cancer around a common community. The games open an enormous door that not only unites those who share an interest, but provides an outlet for them to a) spend a lot of time online in one content-area, b) lets them communicate with each other, and c) lets them build toward a common goal (success) together.


Condition-Related Gaming CompanyCondition-related Gaming Company

Why It’s Hot

The idea of linking like-minded individuals around cause- or purpose-based gaming–with the net outcome that they help the cause–and help themselves feel good in the process–is huge.  People who feel passionately around causes have two current outlets: they can volunteer to help (time-consuming, and not fun) or they can donate (a once and done relationship, or painful over time). Purpose-based gaming–especially if the more you play the more you help the cause–is a powerful way to unite individuals who share collective passion around a brand’s larger mission–or one they sponsor (“brought to you by”).

MIT proves Digital is now about personalized Shapeshifting

The Transform, from MIT’s Tangible Media Group, changes shape depending upon how users interact with it. Imagine a chair that could transform from an upright rocker to a sumptuous lounge, just by detecting your mood.  What the Tangible Media Lab is trying to prove with Transform is that there are more to just shapeshifting interfaces than just shaking hands over Skype. The future of interface design is that we’ll be able to interface with everything, and the line between what we call a computer and what we don’t will eventually go away entirely. Tomorrow’s computers will be furniture, clothing, and more, and the ways we interact with them–and they with us–will be richer than we can possibly imagine.


Shapeshifting by MIT

Why It’s Hot

The dawn of digital extending into personalized forms, based on individual wants and needs is apparent in this technology.  Brands will incarnate themselves into forms, and even forms that can intuit wants—while also being able to embed themselves into lives in incredible ways–is what makes this technology truly incredible.  Once that connection is established–and the data feeds that result from it–brands will become literally and figuratively attached to individuals as never before.


Wearables: Smaller, Waterproof and now Light-data Enabled

The World’s Tiniest Fitness Tracker goes light-data enabled

The size of a shirt button, the Goccia syncs effortlessly to your iPhone with the clever use of light. Goccia (it means “drop,” as in a drop of water, in Italian) is a tracker fairly similar to the market leaders, like Fitbit or Jawbone Up or Nike Fuelband, in most ways. It’s the smallest of all of them–at least, we couldn’t find any smaller ones–about the size of a large button, and perhaps more attractive than most, as a simple silver circle. It’s waterproof, and meant to be worn all the time in some capacity, whether that’s clipped onto a shirt or worn as a necklace or wristwatch.


Next-generation Wearables/Fitness Tracker

Why it’s Hot

The coolest aspect of this advancement isn’t the miniaturization, or the water-proofing. It’s in how it uses light to upload data to your iphone. The Goccia syncs with your phone via light: you place it face down on your iPhone‘s front-facing camera and the Goccia emits a beam of light that has all your data encoded. Using the camera to upload data, via light, can have huge simplicity implications for the user experience and further break down the walls of getting wearables widely embedded into mass public.

Google Glass as a powerful first-person/Journey Strategist’s Tool?

This video from Google was used to create an incredibly powerful first-person account regarding the horrors of domestic violence, in this case against women (and it should be watched just for that reason alone).  It depicts a day-in-the-life record of her experience, and while used as an ad, it spurs the idea of using Glass for capture of first-person journeys.


Glass In Action for Domestic Abuse

Why It’s Hot

Used in real life, this is could open new doors to see just what really happens in the most emotional/private of situations, as people really live them. That has implications for brands to get closer than ever before to lives and experiences, including more private areas like medical issues and their barriers, how people interact with their families, their personal regimens, shopping behavior, product usage behavior, etc. The idea is to outfit people with Google Glass and use it to capture these Journeys as never before and give us a much more effective means to understand and portray Journeys for our clients.



Mobile Fetal App Tracks Mood Disorders and Links to HCPs

Bellabeat’s app tracks heartbeats per minute and gives users tools to track other important stats, like the number of times a baby kicks or how its weight changes over time. However, the new mood-tracking feature also helps pregnant women recognize early symptoms of depression and by asking two questions per week regarding their mood.  If a pattern suggesting early signs of depression emerges, the app encourages users to seek help from their healthcare providers and even provides listings of nearby clinics to make it easier for women to find treatment.


Bellabeat Mobile Pregnancy Heartbeat App and Mood Tracker

Why It’s Hot

This app represents a huge nexus, merging wearable technology with medical monitoring of physical conditions, along with mental conditions, encourages social sharing of the condition, and, then goes further to locate nearby doctors and clinics for help when the device signals there may be an issue. This takes personalized medical care to an entirely new level by putting more diagnostic power in the hands of the patient–and more data and advertising opportunities in the hands of marketers.

Facebook to roll Video Ads in Newsfeed

Facebook finally breaks the down the last ad barrier and puts video into their newsfeeds.

The :15 Facebook Premium Video Ads ads will auto-play, but are soundless unless you click on them. Facebook will sell and measure the ads “in a way that’s similar to how advertisers already buy and measure ads on TV,” according to the post from Facebook, which is based on Targeted Gross Rating Points to reach a specific audience over a short period of time.  Delivery of the ads will be measured by Nielsen and advertisers will only pay for what Nielsen measures.


Why It’s Hot

This represents another step in the long march of FB toward getting its stock price much higher, by monetizing the fan base. But for advertisers, as this rolls out and becomes optimized, the ability to deliver highly targeted, contextualized video content on their substantial fan base has finally become available.  Watch for more and more integration with Youtube videos and direct click-through linkage.

New findery app takes social to hyperlocal

The Fusion of Google Maps, Yelp, Instagram and Facebook, all in one hyperlocal sharing app–new from Flickr

Findery takes a hyperlocal approach to social discovery. Users pin notes, which can be public or private, to locations on a map. Notes consist of everything from pics and tips, to trivia, to personal memos about an individual’s personal experience at that location.

“Every place has a story, or a thousand stories,” Fake said in a statement. “Findery brings places to life, be they where you stand or where you hope to go.”

Maps are at the heart of the app. Upon opening the app, users are greeted with a series of “notemaps,” themed collections of notes from users about nearby locations. Users can also slide over to the map view to see a map of their current location and track all of the notes people have about nearby places.



Why it’s Hot

Another barrier has been broken down toward unifying communities of people sharing experiences at the hyper-local level. Now instead of flipping between yelp listings, or checking reviews among your friends, or searching on google maps or TripAdvisor–this interface marries all of them together.  Great tool for marketers to capitalize on areas of interest around certain areas in locations of interest, by zeroing in on what users write, concentrations of posts and commonalities around certain areas–e.g. best places for moms to take kids, etc.


HIV Test on a Phone Goes Global


Mobile Aids Test in one hour diagnosis.

This represents the forefront of the mobile/pharma intersection being pushed even further. This story speaks to a chip being able to be used to insert a drop of blood into a phone, and used to diagnose if that person has AIDS/HIV, in an hour, and to use it on a global scale for a fraction of current testing costs.

Why It’s Hot

Mobile as a tool for pharma marketers has even more opportunity, now that patients can be given test results via their phone, especially for conditions as challenging as HIV/Aids, for new diagnoses or managing current conditions.  This also speaks to the ability to generate much larger data sets, and to scale programs even further by individualizing outbound messaging and acquisition through the phone.