About Marcelo Di Franco

Cultural curious, advocate of the unconventional, creative catalyst, husband, future dad, runner aficionado, and Strategy Director at MRM//McCann

Instagram ‘Carousel’ Feature Adds More Photos to Its Ads

Instagram has unveiled a “carousel ads” format that will allow advertisers to post up to four photos, which users can then scroll through with a horizontal swipe. The carousel ads will also include a “Learn More” link that will lead to a dedicated landing page.


Why this is hot?

The new carousel ads, which are like print magazine spreads with links, allow advertisers to create deeper stories, providing more details and points of views, while the links add the opportunity to deliver a clear CTA that tells users exactly what to expect next.

Source: Re/Code

Johnnie Walker Unveils Smart Bottle That Sends Marketing Messages

Johnny Walker Blue Label’s prototype “smart bottle” enables the brand to, among other things, send targeted, personalized marketing messages to consumers, thanks to printed sensor tags in the bottle’s label.

These sensor tags are based on a technology called OpenSense, which uses smartphones’ near field communication (NFC) capabilities to allow any NFC-enabled smartphone to read the tags and display promotional offers, cocktail recipes or branded content.


Why this is hot?

Remember when you watch Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report and thought that cereal boxes talking to you was unbelievable science-fiction? Well, if a bottle label can access your smartphone’s data to send you laser-focused messages that are tailored to your habits, in order to prompt you to buy the product; imagine when every product in the supermarket can do that. The opportunities are endless, and so can be the disasters, if marketers don’t use this technology wisely.

Source: MediaPost

Foot Locker’s video suggests untapped potential to target users based on location

Foot Locker’s effort made the top Instagram video chart among retailers, picking up nearly 28,000 likes and comments since Jan. 29 with a post for its Penn Station location in New York City.

But Foot Locker’s successful post ran nationwide, since Instagram doesn’t offer marketers a location-targeting feature, raising an intriguing question: Should the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing app incorporate the ability to zero in on consumers based on their whereabouts?

The short answer is yes. Location-based targeting features are a must for large retailers with multiple locations, and mobile is the key to driving customers  to the local store, which gives Instagram, both a visual and mobile platform, the upper-hand in the mobile, traffic-funneling retail game.


Why this is hot?

Brands will be able to serve relevant videos to users on Instagram, whenever they need it, and wherever they are, increasing traffic to their locations in a more engaging way.


Source: AdWeek


SuperBowl: Negative buzz around the “Dead Child” ad drove big lift in Purchase Intention for Nationwide

Whaaaaaaat? That can’t be right, right? But it is. At least according to YouGov BrandIndex. Here’s the story:

We know that Nationwide got a lot of negative buzz, as soon as the ad featuring the death of a child debuted on the Super Bowl. We can debate the creative idea, and even the communication and brand strategies behind it, all we want. All I’ll say is that the idea is, at least, controversial; and that it’s not surprising that it generated such a negative reaction during (and after) the game.


Well, according to YouGov BrandIndex, in the ranking of the brands that saw the biggest lift in purchase consideration compared to pre-game baseline, Nationwide comes second with an impressive 6% lift, on top of well established brands like T-Mobile, Doritos, Coca Cola and BMW.



Purchase_ConsiderationThis may strike you as odd, considering the outcry in the wake of Nationwide’s ad, and you may not be alone. So what’s going on here? We can hypothesize about ads, consumers, and the like, but the reality is that we don’t know. All I can say is that, in general, people say what they think, but do what they feel.

Maybe the ad message did get to people’s heart, despite the anger expressed online? What do you think?


Why is this hot?

Because it forces us to question everything we hear from consumers, not just on focus groups, consumer studies, surveys, online panels and social listening. It forces us to “listen between the lines”.

Make Whatever You Eat Work Better For You – And Others!

Enter: Foodtweeks™

Foodtweeks™ is a new app that shows you easy ways to trim calories from your regular foods. Every calorie you trim becomes a nutritious calorie for a hungry family.

The app is designed to help people who want to control their calories intake, right when they are eating out, shopping at the grocery store, or cooking at home. Users simply type in what they are about to eat and the foodtweeks™ app shows them simple ways to trim a handful of calories that they won’t miss. In return, users nourish hungry families, every time they trim calories from their daily diet.

Foodtweeks™ has two missions: to help people eat better in a sustainable way, and to help end hunger in America. Users remove calories. The company give them away to local food banks!

Learn more and download the app here


Why this is hot?

Beyond the fact that you are doing something good for others, by doing something even better for you; this idea has the potential to become a movement that ends influencing the industry. Just imagine if fast-casual customers adopt this behavior regularly, will restaurant chains implement their own programs and encourage customers to order their burgers without cheese to donate those calories? Just imagine…

Your Girlfriend is a Bunch of Guys Working For Amazon

Virtual dating evolved. It’s not just about meeting someone online. Not even dating someone virtually. Now you can date a virtual person.

Services like Invisible Boyfriend are making the dream of an ideal man, a reality… well, not really, but you got the idea.

The problem is that the boy you are dating could be a 13-years old child in India, or a 60-something in Russia. Who knows. And, more importantly, do you care? You should, and here’s why: You are sharing your dreams (from the car you’d love to buy but can’t, to the body you’d love to curve, the places you’d like to visit and food you love to eat. Your hidden (real?) personality is becoming available to the service, and why not, to Amazon. Just imagine the things they can offer to you, based not just on what you search for, but in what you dream with. The sky is the limit…



Why is this hot?

The implications for uncovering consumer insights go beyond what people actually do online. Now we have first hand exposure to what people really wish.



11 Major Logo Redesigns of 2014

In 2014 many brands redesigned their logos. Here are some of them. Personally, I love Airbnb and MLS. I also have serious issues with Hershey’s and the way the unwrapped chocolate looks like (please tell me it’s not only me…)

If you are curious to know why the author rated the logos the way he did, below is a link to the original article.



Source: AdWeek

Bye-Bye, Cookies. Welcome Facebook IDs

Atlas (an ad-serving service that Facebook acquired from Microsoft) lets advertisers target ads to people based on data that Facebook gathers, including your Facebook activity and your web-browsing activity. Then, Facebook associates all of this activity with a unique Facebook ID that allows advertisers to track ad performance across devices and publishers without having to rely on cookies.

At Adweek, David Jakubowski, Director of Product Marketing for Adtech at Facebook, announced that acquisition of Atlas, the company is pushing the market into the next paradigm of “people-based marketing”.

In an interview with eMarketer, Erik Johnson, Head of Atlas, said “people are using multiple devices, and they’re beginning transactions or tasks on one device and finishing on something else. The technology that we use to measure on a mobile device is a cookie, and a cookie is fundamentally flawed.”Johnson explains that  Atlas solves cross-device because Facebook is being used by 1.3 billion people, and if people are using Facebook on one device, they’re very likely using it on all of their devices.

There are two primary functions that Atlas provides to marketers to adopt the “people-based marketing” approach. One is housing the creative, so that when the ad calls happen, the ads flow in the right sequence and they get targeted to the right groups. The second is ad measurement. That’s where the people-based marketing really begins to shine. You get to see how many people you actually reached vs. how many cookies did I reach.

Jakubowski said that people-based marketing lets you see that there are people that you have served ads to who have bought something, either in your store or on your website, that you weren’t giving yourself credit for. “The reason we don’t report it like that today is that the existing infrastructure that we’ve been built on has been focused around cookies, and it doesn’t really account for mobile at all. The people-based measurement solution solves that.”


Why this is Hot?

This approach helps marketers align media buy with consumer insights.


Source: eMarketer – http://totalaccess.emarketer.com/Interview.aspx?R=6001575



Social toys let babies Instagram from their cot

Thanks to social media, privacy is something that pretty soon will belong to a museum! Especially as technology evolves, becoming part of people’s routines and normal life, and moral barriers get forgotten in the process.

Think about this: Those born today will not only have an intimate record of their day-to-day existence preserved online, but they’ll also grow up in a world where shedding their privacy is not only the norm, but expected.

Enter: New Born Fame, a set of interactive plush toys that let babies take selfies and automatically upload them to their Facebook, Twitter and other profiles, straight from the cradle.

If you think this is crazy, wait for the out-of-focus selfies, and disgusting shots of poop, in real time.

Developed by Laura Cornet, a Netherlands-based graduate student, this social interface takes the form of soft toys that hang down over the cot, and interacts with the baby’s social profiles — set up by their parent(s) and synced beforehand.
One of the toys features a camera and a GPS locator. Pull the small bird, and the baby sends out a randomly generated tweet. Pull the Facebook logo, and they automatically update their status along with their current location.
Pull the camera toy and a video is taken and uploaded onto Instagram. The ball shaped toy also lets babies take a selfie and upload it on all platforms.

Even though Cornet developed the project more as an investigation into the ethics of social media and to get parents thinking about the information they post about their children online without their consent, she admits there is also probably a commercial demand for toys like this.


Why this is NOT hot?

To name just one, the data will remain available for anyone — even, potentially, employers — to see long after they’ve grown up, and will probably come back to haunt them.


Sources: springwise.com | lauracornet.nl

Microsoft’s Band: The Perfect Rival for the Apple Watch

I need to start this post by saying that I am a Mac guy. One hundred percent!

My first computer was a Mac, back in the days where laptops didn’t exist. In fact, the Dell they gave me at my current job, it’s the first PC I have ever had; and I’m still struggling with it! I just don’t get it…

That being said, I love the fact that Microsoft products have always (well, almost always) been cross-platform (think Microsoft Office and Windows Operating System, for example).

Now Microsoft does it again with the new Microsoft Health and Microsoft Band.

Microsoft Band

If Microsoft wanted to grab a slice of the impending Apple Watch audience, it couldn’t have crafted a better plan than with its just-released, cross-platform Microsoft Band. The company’s first wearable piggybacks off of the style and functions we’re already familiar with in today’s activity trackers. But with nifty features, a more affordable price tag, and a broader potential audience, Microsoft is taking a different approach than Apple and other wearable makers:

  • First and foremost, the Microsoft Band is cross-platform. This is huge as it’s something Apple can’t, and will not, do. Microsoft Health, the Band’s corresponding software platform, is available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone making the tracker itself cross-platform, too. This opens the Band up to a huge audience (virtually all smartphone owners) rather than, in Apple’s case, limiting the product to devotees of its insular ecosystem.
  • microsoftband-315x258Unlike the Apple Watch, Microsoft’s wristband is not a watch replacement. It’s designed to be worn 24-hours a day on your less dominant hand. It can track your activity and sleep patterns, and if you have a favorite watch, it wouldn’t be weird to wear it on your other wrist.
  • Microsoft Band is not just functional, but also good looking enough to wear every day. It comes in an incredible number of colors, types of bands and textures. It’s a fashion item.

Why It’s Hot  |  We’ve been talking and hearing about the importance of putting consumers at the center. Microsoft has done just that. This is about user’s wellbeing, whether we are Mac lovers, Android fans, or PC enthusiasts. Run, Microsoft. Run!

Sources: Wired.com, Microsoft.com

New Killer Apps in the Gigabit Age


The Pew Research Center interviewed over 1,400 tech experts who predicted that between now and 2025, there will be new, distinctive, and uniquely compelling technology applications that capitalize upon significant increases in bandwidth in the US.

Besides predicting what new technologies will emerge, the experts also talked about the different ways this revolution will change people’s lives

  1. People’s basic interactions and their ability to ‘be together’ and collaborate will change in the age of vivid telepresence—enabling people to instantly ‘meet face-to-face’ in cyberspace with no travel necessary.
  2. Augmented reality will extend people’s sense and understanding of their real-life surroundings and virtual reality will make some spaces, such as gaming worlds and other simulated environments, even more compelling places to hang out.
  3. The connection between humans and technology will tighten as machines gather, assess, and display real-time personalized information in an ‘always-on’ environment. This integration will affect many activities—including thinking, the documentation of life events (‘life-logging’), and coordination of daily schedules.
  4. Specific economic and social sectors will be especially impacted; health/medicine and education were mentioned often.
  5. New digital divides may open as people gain opportunities on different timelines and with different tools.


Why this isn hot?

It will change the way we think about channels: “Owned” will become “Ours”, and “Acquisition”, “Usage”. And because of this, user experience will be more than ever, at the center of everything we do. For real.