COALchella – coachella without the crowd

View image on Twitter

Think of it as all the fun of an outdoor music festival without the crowds—or the outdoors.

In late September, nearly 3,000 people logged on to their Minecraft accounts and got ready to party. The world-building video game has been often used to create larger than life sculptures, buildings, and artworks, but internet-collective Thwip Gang had bigger ideas.

After hosting a Minecraft-based “Birthday Party” for one of their members back in May, the Thwip Gang got to work organizing a full-scale concert completely within the gaming platform. With no more promotion than a few tweets on the organizers’ personal Twitter pages, Coalchella drew in 27,000 listeners over its 8 hours across various streaming platforms. (“Coalchella” because in Minecraft one mines coal, among other minerals. Just go with it.)

The free festival required nothing more than a Minecraft account to attend and drew some big name headliners like ANAMANAGUCHI and Electric Mantis. The musical lineup came together somewhat serendipitously—in an interview with the blog Melting of Age, one of Coalchella’s creators and Thwip Gang collaborator, Umru Rothenberg said, “It was a very random process of just asking whatever friends came to mind or saying ‘this person would be cool’ and checking if anyone was mutuals with them.”

After entering, festival goers arrived at the stage of their choosing — REDBLOCKS or BEDROCKS — and tuned into a livestream on the broadcast audio website Mixlr. Just like IRL, when the performer’s avatar took the stage, the crowd of block people burst into life and the music started. The digital attendees then started dancing and the in-game chat flooded with commentary about the concert.

Why its hot?
Comfortable co-existence with brands without them trying to be controlling:
As if a full-scale two-stage concert “venue” isn’t enough, the Thwip Gang also scattered brands and logos thoughout the virtual site. An IHOb restaurant, a giant Bass Pro Shops Pyramid, and an overhead IKEA blimp were among those featured. Only there was a catch: None of the brands knew their logos were being used for the event — they were mostly plastered around Minecraft as cultural touchstones.

“What will always be most important to me is…that [brands] are not influencing, openly or otherwise, what I am experiencing in any way,” says co-organizer Robin Boehlen, “We can coexist with brands without them becoming controlling.”

 

A dog treat that doubles up as a selfie stick

To promote its DentaStix product, Pedigree in New Zealand created SelfieStix – a smartphone clipper which can hold one treat. Dog owners simply have to clip the SelfieStix on their phones and attach a DentaStix to take the perfect selfie with their pup.

To support the SelfieStix clip, they also created a standalone app which, using machine vision technology, recognises dog faces and puts filters on them.

The agency reports that, so far, across social platforms, the project has reached over 2.1 million interactions, 3.5 million engagements and a 24% increase in sales. One quarter of New Zealand’s dog owners redeemed a SelfieSTIX, making acquisition cost 12 times lower than the industry standard.

Why its hot
The DentaStix was, in many markets, perceived as being quite a functional product as opposed to other dog treats on the market. DentaStix was the thing you gave your dog to keep their teeth clean. The brief was to change the perception of DentaStix from being this functional product to something that is equally irresistible for dogs.

Coughing and tweeting bear

Toxic air is London’s silent killer and is linked with more than 9,400 premature deaths a year – that’s 40 times as many deaths caused by car accidents.

raise awareness of the city’s poor air quality and put pressure on the government to do something about it, air pollution monitoring company BreezoMeter set up roadside memorials in the most toxic locations.

The main feature of the memorials, which are designed to look like those typically laid out after a roadside death, is an animatronic soft toy called Toxic Toby. Every time pollution levels get dangerously high, the furry bear starts coughing and, simultaneously, posts a Tweet to the local MP, urging them to address the problem.

Why its hot
Made the invisible visible. Turns out London’s air quality is as bad as Beijing and Delhi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paper books sell a digital solution

Google Cloud wrote fictional biographies detailing the future of ten French business leaders and sent them to the executives as part of a prospecting campaign. The idea is called the Biographies of Tomorrow to help Google Cloud win the attention of French business leaders and promote the brand’s enterprise solutions services.

They researched 10 of France’s most important executives, as well as the industries in which they worked. It then commissioned authors from Cherche Midi publishing house to write short, fictional biographies detailing how these leaders digitally transformed their businesses after employing the services of Google Cloud. The nature and content of the biographies also emphasized the predictive qualities of Google Cloud’s service. Economist Jacques Attal wrote a foreword for each of the 10 biographies and artist Alix d’Anselme drew portraits of the subjects for the front covers. Google Cloud then hand delivered the biographies to the business executives.

2 of the 10 executives that received a biography have signed deals with Google Cloud

Why its hot?
Business buyers don’t go to work and forget what they want as human beings

Have your drink and packaging too



British sports drink brand Lucozade is moving away from plastic. Instead of distributing its Lucozade drinks and gels in plastic, the brand is trialling an edible packaging alternative to reduce waste.

At two upcoming sports events, the Richmond Marathon and West Sussex Tough Mudder, which Lucozade sponsors, participants will be given Lucozade Sport-filled Oohos. The Oohos are seaweed-based and have been developed by startup Skipping Rocks Lab.

Why its hot?
Oohos can be eaten or discarded like their plastic counterparts. Unlike plastic, however, these sachets are compostable and will take six weeks to decompose (plastic takes 700 years).

Video of biodegradable packaging created bySkipping Rocks Lab for other companies

Dating meets baby sitting

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

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

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

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

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

From discarded flowers to paint

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Words don’t matter. Buttons do

Xbox One used guerrilla tactics to promote the release of Fifa 18 despite losing the right to market the football simulation video game. Sony PlayStation, Xbox’s main competitor, had secured the exclusive marketing rights to FIFA 18 prior to its release (on both PlayStation and Xbox). Microsoft-owned Xbox decided to promote the game anyway – just without mentioning or showing the product.

Xbox achieved this with The Beautiful Combination, a campaign created in partnership with football team Real Madrid. The activation kicked off with an online film featuring several Real Madrid players showing off their skills while the corresponding Xbox button combinations for FIFA 18 loom large in the background.

Viewers see slick passes, shots and skill moves before a voiceover announces: ‘Xbox and football – a beautiful combination’. At no point in the film is FIFA’s product or brand mentioned.

Xbox extended this mechanism into several Real Madrid football games, including the much-anticipated Uefa Champions League fixture between Juventus and Real Madrid – a match watched by millions around the world in April this year. Passes, tackles and shots by the Real Madrid football players were ‘decoded’ into Xbox button combinations in real time by a ‘world-class gamer’ (shots became Bs, passes As, and so on) during the game. These button combos were then broadcast on pitch-side boards around the stadium, turning the football match into a live tutorial for Xbox gamers.

Meanwhile Talksport, a popular sports radio broadcaster, adapted its live football commentary to chronicle the equivalent button combinations throughout the match. The day after the Champions League game, Xbox published a post-match report teaching readers how to recreate moves from the game on their consoles. The report was published in the sports section of London Evening Standard, one of the most widely-read newspapers in the UK.

Why its hot?
-Beautiful Truth Well Told: Gamers don’t just watch to enjoy the game. They want to learn the moves.
-Xbox hijacked competitor’s sponsorship by speaking the fans language.

Birthual Reality

The irony of being called “expectant parents” is that many actually have little idea what to expect from childbirth.

While they certainly understand the general process and medical procedures involved, one can’t really understand the full experience of birth until you’ve witnessed it first-hand. Given that childbirth is a relatively private moment—at least in terms of the number of people on hand—most people don’t have that experience until it’s time to meet their own newborns.

The uncertainty about the birth experience can create anxiety for expectant moms and dad alike, so one insurer came up with a compelling way to help.

Sweden’s Gjensidige Insurance worked with a hospital to film a childbirth in 360-degree video, creating a VR experience that anyone can watch. In fact, you can watch it right now as a 360 video on YouTube.

Luckily, it’s a rather uneventful pregnancy in the sense that the process goes smoothly. (And the birth itself is shot at a respectful angle that makes you feel you’re standing alongside the mother rather than in the place of the doctor.) But it still conveys the physical and emotional struggle of childbirth, along with the singular joy.

Why its hot?
-Preparing people for something that has been almost impossible to prepare for
-Great strategy to be top of mind child insurance provider (without selling insurance)
-A very real, authentic human gesture from an insurance company

Source: Adweek and https://www.gjensidige.se/birthualreality

Sleepiest ad in the world

Ikea has created a sensuous print ad to help give people a great night’s sleep. The Sömnig (meaning ‘sleepy’) ad with Ikea as part of the brand’s 2018 bedroom campaign after discovering that nine out of 10 people in the UAE don’t get the recommended eight hours of sleep per night. To aid people’s sleep, the agency created a soporific print ad that was designed to be placed on a nightstand.

The ad is printed with ink made from lavender (which is associated with relaxation), has a portal which gives off more lavender scent, and it also has speaker that plays white noise (a sound that cancels distracting noises and induces sleep).

The advert was placed in Good magazine (the April 2018 issue). It could be torn out of the magazine and it had adjustable tabs to help it stand upright. The ad was also fitted with a USB port, to charge the battery when it ran out.

Why its hot?

Turned a print ad into a problem solving object that people want to keep and use in their home.

Bacoin

Oscar Mayer has launched a Bacon-Based Cryptocurrency, called Bacoin. Oscar Mayer is giving away a limited amount of Bacoin that fans can mine, track the value of and cash out for real packs of Oscar Mayer Bacon at OscarMayerBacoin.com.

Similar to other cryptocurrencies, the value of Bacoin can be volatile. However, Bacoin stands out by the fact that Bacon lovers can boost value by spreading the news via Twitter and email on OscarMayerBacoin.com. The more they share, the greater Bacoin is worth. When ready, Bacoin owners can select the best time to cash out and receive real packs of Oscar Mayer Bacon.

Why its hot?
The more people share the higher the value of bacoin and you can track its value on an hourly basis

 

 

 

 

All Blacks vs. Lions at the airport

The sponsors of the New Zealand All Blacks and British & Irish Lions rugby teams turned the display advertising at Auckland airport into a battle for territory between opposing fans.

The All Black’s sponsor, Steinlager created the Battle For Territory activation to boost the brand’s profile during the British & Irish Lions’ six-week tour of New Zealand.

Steinlager bought all 65 digital display screens in Auckland airport and equipped each with image recognition software that could identify whether the person standing in front of it supported Britain or New Zealand. The lager brand then invited Guinness, the official sponsor of the British & Irish Lions, to fight for possession of these boards.

If a fan dressed in team colours stood in front of one of the displays, the image recognition software would register their presence and show an ad from their team’s sponsor. An opposing fan could then stand in front of the same display to claim it back for their team.

Why it’s hot?

The idea was the result of a simple truth: fans spend more time at airports traveling to different games than at the stadium itself

Source: Guinness

Don’t stir. Spin

400 million stir sticks are used every day in America alone.
Stirring sticks come in all shapes and sizes, with the wooden ones being much easier to recycle than the plastic alternatives. But even so, we typically use these sticks exactly once before throwing them away and adding to the growing pile of waste us humans create every year. Scott Amron decided stirring sticks needed replacing, and so he developed Stircle.

Stircle is a device meant to be embedded into a table like those found at all major coffee chains, although you could just as easily have one at home if you have an aversion to spoons. Once it is hooked up to a power source the Stircle can stir any drink for you. Simply place your cup on the circular plate and watch it spin. Stircle spins in both directions, forcing the liquid inside to change direction with enough force for the contents to mix thoroughly. As the video above demonstrates, it really does stir drinks well.

At $345, the Stircle certainly isn’t cheap, but well within reach for an independent coffee shop or chain. Running costs are estimated at $0.10 per 50,000 cups stirred, so that’s negligible. Offering consumers a way to stir their freshly-made beverage without creating any waste could/should more than make up for the initial cost in the long run.

Why its hot?
Apart from the obvious good for environment and financial benefits, it gives coffee shops a new way to market themselves

Source: New Atlas and TechCrunch

Currency for women only

For the launch of its first womenswear collection, fashion brand Paisley has created a currency that addresses the gender pay gap.

The new FEM notes are worth 21% more than any other currency – a nod to the 21% gender pay gap in Germany. This means that whenever customers use FEM currency, they get 21% more for their money.

The notes have been designed with special security features to avoid misuse and highlight a number of iconic female figures who have helped pave the way for equal gender rights.

Customers can exchange their money for FEM notes by visiting the Paisley flagship store in Hamburg. Paisley is also looking to partner with other companies which want to make FEM currency part of their brand.

Why its hot?
Using a cultural insight they dressed up a run of the mill coupon / discount as a movement

Read more: https://www.femcurrency.com/

 

Speak and thou shalt receive


Google has issued its first voice-activated coupon, a $15 offer for Target orders placed via Google Assistant.

Using a Google Home, a phone with Google Assistant built in, or the Google Assistant app (on either Android or iOS), simply say or type, ‘Spring into Target.’ If everything goes as planned, you’ll get a small paragraph informing you about the credit you’ve just received,”

The paragraph reads: “Three cheers for Spring! You’ve unlocked the Spring promo. Save up to $15 on your next order from Target on Google Express. You can order essentials like paper towels, laundry detergent, and trash bags. To try it out, ask me to order something you need from Target.”

Of course, it would be weird if this happened without any hitch. ‘Android Police’ reported potential confusion between “in to” and “into,” requiring a manual edit of the voice entry in some cases.

Why its hot?
Voice enabled things starting to hit adolescence. This coming of age means they are ready to go beyond basic stuff like weather to playing music to finally enabling hardcore retail sales. The possibilities are endless.

Source: MarketingWeek

Face of white collar crime

The Brazilian edition of business magazine Forbes has created a provocative strategy to spotlight the issue of corruption, which is flourishing while the nation continues to struggle economically. Forbes has personified the issue by creating a fictional character to represent the estimated $61bn that corruption costs the nation annually. The result is Ric Brasil, an AI-generated avatar whose aggregated ‘earnings’ from white collar crime would place him at number 8 in the upcoming Forbes 2018 billionaire list.

The features and persona of Ric Brasil have been developed by drawing on existing data and images held on convicted corporate criminals. Over the last eight months this material has been analyzed along with information sourced from media reports, witness statements, interviews and books covering two of Brazil’s most infamous corruption cases.

Members of the press will be able to interview Ric Brasil in the run up to the launch of the billionaires list on April 16.

Why its hot?
Making the intangible tangible. Part of the problem with corporate crime is that while it has a cost, it’s often hard to find a way to channel public anger against what can feel like a victimless crime. By literally putting a face on an intangible, distributed crime – vividly ‘bringing the problem to life’ – there is a better chance that people will connect with the issue.

World’s first baby marathon

Babies can cover a distance of more than 3 kilometers per day, according to research by New York University. Taking this data, babycare brand Huggies decided to host a Baby Marathon to raise awareness of its products in South Africa.

Four babies, nicknamed Thunder Pants, Hurricane Thando, Racin’ Grays and Danger Boy, were tasked with roaming 21km around their homes. Their progress was recorded over seven days using custom-made fitness trackers.

Huggies covered the race in four online episodes. With a fake sports commentator narrating the action, the videos highlight the effectiveness of Huggies diapers as if they were sports gear. Viewers could find out more about the products, as well as the babies and their training regimes, on a dedicated microsite

The Baby Marathon resulted in a 28.9% increase in Huggies’ diaper sales. The campaign trended within 10 mins of launch for 9 hours and attracted 8.4 million views.

Why it’s hot?
Brings the sportswear performance psychology to baby products.
By showing babies as athletes, it breaks away from the usual diaper efficacy claims.

Source: Huggies, South Africa

Diesel vs. Deisel

Diesel opened a pop-up with a twist. The shop, called Deisel, was situated on New York’s Canal Street – a location famous for its knock-off stores that sell replicas of designer products at cheap prices.

The Deisel pop-up sold a range of hats, t-shirts, jumpers and denim pieces, all branded with the knock-off logo. Prices ranged from $10 to $200: much lower than similar products found in standard Diesel stores.

But what looked like a fake pop-up was a stunt by the brand, supporting its latest campaign, Go with the Flaw. New Yorkers who ended up buying from the Deisel pop-up got their hands on real, limited-edition pieces at knock-off prices.

Why its hot?
If you can’t beat them, join them. 
The counterfeit industry was worth $460bn in 2016, according to the International Trademark Association. The fake goods culture has become so prominent that fashion brands have started referencing it in their collections and marketing activations. In 2016, luxury streetwear brand Vetements launched an ‘Official Fake’ collection and sold it in a garage space in the outskirts of Seoul. Elsewhere, luxury fashion darling Gucci became Guccy for its 2018 spring/summer resort collection – again, a nod to the rise of knock-off culture

Bet on Whodunnit

France 3 partnered with an online bookmaker to offer viewers of crime drama La Forêt real-time odds on the identity of the show’s killer. Windows sporadically appeared on-screen during live broadcasts of La Forêt offering odds on a particular character being the show’s murderer. If a character behaved suspiciously, their odds would shorten; if they offered an alibi, the odds would increase.

Viewers could place their bets through a dedicated microsite, where they were given a set number of free credits (buying more credits was not an option) and the opportunity to spread these across as many as five bets during each episode of the six-part series. If they bet smart (by putting the most money on the right suspect when his or her odds were at their highest) viewers had the chance to win an iPad, a GoPro camera or a weekend break in a forest cabin.

The campaign attracted 76.2 million media impressions. A typical user spent 15 minutes interacting with Bet On A Murderer (63.5% of those were mobile users). The TV show also attracted a substantial audience: 13.4 million viewers over three weeks, an increase of 9.5% for the channel

Why it’s hot?
It gave people a vehicle to compare their instincts against others, turning a regular murder mystery into a game. So, essentially adding an additional layer of drama over an existing drama. At the crux of it, It’s not about betting but a way to get people to commit to watching a program live.

What you cannot see is more interesting than what you can see

Skittles will not be airing its Super Bowl spot during the game this year. Instead, the film will be revealed to one selected fan whose reaction will be livestreamed on facebook.

In a mock TV broadcast video, a presenter reveals that the lucky fan is California-based teenager Marcos Menendez. The brand will release four teaser videos in the run up to the event to encourage speculation about the film, but has no plans to release the final ad to the public.

Why its hot?
Reaction videos meet Cialdini’s scarcity principle, which explains one of the most fundamental theories about human behavior: people will always want what they can’t have.
And, I think in today’s world which is addicted to sharing content, its pretty ballsy to show it to just one person and broadcast just the reaction not the content.

Delivering the most good looking pizzas

Domino’s is using artificial intelligence cameras to ensure that every pizza made in-store is up to scratch. The Pizza Checker cameras take pictures of pizzas from above the kitchen cutting board, and an AI program assesses the pizza type, temperature, crust type, toppings, and distribution of ingredients.

The results are then sent to the store manager. A picture of the pizza is also sent to the customer (through Domino’s order-tracking website) along with a notification that tells them if it failed its assessment and must be remade.

At present, the AI camera is being trialled at one Domino’s restaurant in Australia, with plans to implement the system across the rest of the country in 2018. The Computer Vision Quality Management System was developed by Dragontail Systems and incorporates Google’s AI software.

Why it’s hot?
We’re getting closer to the live delivery movie we’ve always been curious about

Source: Thrillist

It’s not a marathon. It’s performance art

BMW partnered with running apps to give runners in the Shanghai marathon an artwork based on their performance data. It created digital artworks that turned runners’ pace and speed data into colourful cylinders and waves.

BMW partnered with running apps such as CoDoon, JoyRun and Rejoice, as well as a data artist Joshua Davis, to collect runners’ data and then present it as an artwork. Runners could interact with the digital artwork, by rotating it, to reveal more information. The imagery could also be shared on social media.

Why its hot:
Applied BMW’s positioning as the Ultimate Performance Machine to running. It doesn’t feel too forced or out of place.

Applied the insight from car customers: just like car owners are curious about their car’s performance, runners have the same desire to know about their performance

What BMW said:
‘BMW aspires to earn a place in running culture while staying authentic to their brand. So we asked ourselves, if cars and running have almost nothing in common how can BMW add value to the running experience? The simple truth was performance. BMW has a rich heritage using technology to enhance performance in everything they do and we thought, what if they could do it for runners? This was leap off point our creatives took and ran with’

Irresistible Pointless pre-roll ads

Ikea in Sweden ran deliberately dull pre-roll ads, which were between four and nine minutes long, on YouTube. The average view time of the ads was three minutes, despite the option to skip appearing after five seconds. Also, the agency also states that 39% of viewers watched the ads to completion.

The humorous spots provide viewers with a window into typical Swedish households where people are getting on with their mundane lives. In one four-and-a-half-minute spot, a young boy washes dishes and repeatedly tells viewers to skip the ad because there’s nothing interesting to see.

In another spot, this one almost nine-minutes long, a young couple is showing kissing on a sofa until one of the pair gets freaked out by the thought of pervert viewers spying on her, and we’re left to watch her boyfriend fall asleep on the couch.

All the ads also feature occasional flashes of product information about the furniture used in the scenes. They fit within Ikea’s Where Life Happens positioning.

Results: The average view time of the ads was three minutes, despite the option to skip appearing after five seconds. 39% of viewers watched the ads to completion.

Why its hot:
-We are attracted to rejection
-So boring that its mesmerizing
-Where most brands pray that the audience stays longer, Ikea wins attention by doing the exact opposite.

Source: Adweek

Lifetime label




Mimica Touch, is a food label that decays at the same rate as food. The Mimica label is filled with gelatine, which decomposes in the same way as packaged foods. The gel is calibrated to each product line using shelf-life testing data, and it also takes into account the temperature at which it is stored.

When new, the label is smooth. But as time goes by and the gel decomposes, it becomes bumpy to touch, signalling that the food is no longer safe to eat.

The Mimica Touch was developed with visually impaired people in mind. It is also easy to assemble, so that manufacturers can make the label – which consists of a plastic tray, gel and a lid – on site.

Why its hot?
90% of Americans prematurely threw away food because they misinterpreted sell-by and use-by labels as indicators that food had gone rotten and become unsafe. 

Source: Mimica Lab

The flying supermarket

German airline Lufthansa has partnered with an online supermarket so passengers can shop for groceries on their flight home and avoid returning to an empty fridge.

Passengers on long-haul flights can use Lufthansa’s in-flight internet, FlyNet, to access Rewe’s online delivery service and shop for groceries. Passengers can then select a delivery date and the food will arrive at their home (provided the address is in Germany) in a cool box. They are also planning to trial this in the US next year

The trial began on 1 October and will run until 1 December. For the first six weeks of the trial, the service will be available on long-haul flights to Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich. In the second six weeks, the service will be available on long-haul flights that have those three cities as the final destination.

Why it’s hot
From plane to home at just the right moment. Not only they deliver to your home but you can choose the exact time you want it to be delivered to your address.

The idea came from a customer survey where people said they want duty free products to b delivered home

Source: FutureTravelExperience.com

Ticket please. But I’m the ticket

Swedish train operator SJ Railways is equipping passengers with chips as an alternative to paper tickets. The system comprises a NFC (near-field communication) microchip and a smartphone app.

Each passenger is given a membership number, which is stored in his or her chip and monitored via the app. Once implanted, conductors can simply use their device to scan people’s hands and validate their journey.

The company started by trialling the tech with 100 of its loyalty programme members and reports that 3,000 travellers are now using the microchip system.

The innovation follows the news that Swedish co-working space company Epicenter gives members the option to use a chip implant rather than a plastic card to access its premises. ‘Some of SJ’s business passengers at Epicenter contacted us and asked about the possibility of using the microchip for the train journey.

Why its hot?
From screen to skin. So, let the bio-hacking begin:
According to World Economic Forum, implantable mobile phones will on the market by 2023. These devices will potentially be able to accurately track a person’s health, while also allowing them to communicate thoughts through signals. While this might seem far-fetched, SJ Railways’ chip system is an example of how brands could tap into the emerging human augmentation market in a way that is more acceptable to the public.

Source: Contagious

Dubai is building a mock Martian city


United Arab Emirates has announced that it’s building a 1.9 million square feet simulated Mars settlement. It will be called Mars Science City and will serve as home to interconnected domes housing various laboratories simulating the planet’s terrain. The team building the structure plans to use advanced 3D printing techniques and heat and radiation insulation to mimic the harsh environment of our neighbor.

Why it’s hot?
New start-up movement: The city will have labs to develop technologies that can provide future Martian colonies with food, water and energy.

Source: Engadget

Cliffhanger: Pop-up on the edge of a cliff


Climbers on the iconic Bastille in Eldorado Canyon deal with heavy winds, pouring rain and temperatures that can rise and fall by as much as 40 degrees in August. As prepped as they might be, they could likely use an extra layer or two on their way to the top of this picturesque mountain outside Boulder, Colorado.

Enter the world’s most remote pop-up, dubbed Cliffside Shop and manned from sunrise to sunset by a fellow climber handing out hoodies, socks and other gear to anyone who needs it. The price may be free, but it does require you to climb 300 feet to a shop that juts out from the sheer face of the mountain.

The pop up lasted for two days, and the campaign, includes a dedicated microsite where users can find more information about the material and shop branded gear.

Why it’s hot?
Give people what they need exactly when they need it, no matter where they are

Source: Adweek