Reese’s calls out tree shaming

The Internet Criticizes Reese's Peanut Butter Trees, But Then Reese's Drops The Most Witty Response

Reese’s has been getting a lot of flak this year on social platforms for their holiday treats, supposedly peanut butter-chocolate shaped like Christmas trees but more often a near-shapeless blob.


reeses tweet

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While customer response didnt reach the levels of heated conversation incited by Starbuck’s red cup, the tone generally denigrated the company as not caring about their product. So Reese’s responded.

reeses response1

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and their followers called it a win, as a charming and even motivating answer.

Why It’s Hot

Neither ignoring nor apologizing for their product “fail”, Reese’s brilliantly stopped the product-shaming in it’s tracks.


A Fast-Tracked New Emoji for iOS

emojiApple released iOS 9.1 on Wednesday and the thing that caught everyone’s eye, was the eye. A new emoji of an eye/word bubble.

Turns out, it’s part of the anti-bullying campaign called “I am a witness.” According to the Ad Council, when they first approached Apple about developing an emoji for the campaign, it should have taken a year. But apple was able to combine two existing emojis and fast-track it into the new release in weeks instead of months.

Why It’s Hot

terrific buzz generation not just for it’s existence, but across tech circles for the expedited development. All calling more attention to the cause. They made the process worth celebrating.


Tinder meets Presidential election

voter app1

“Siri, who should I vote for?”

Now there’s an app that brings the swipe right/swipe left match-making into the presidential election. It’s the Voter App.

This new app lets you work through your position on all the major issues– repealing Obamacare, legalizing marijuana, increasing the minimum wage… then you are matched up with the party and ranked list of candidates to see who lines up with your views (and who is furthest from them). There are different levels of questions depending on the amount of effort you want to make. Now you can make the same rash decisions about the leader of the free world that you do on dating.

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Business Insider Article

Washington Post article

App on itunes

Why It’s Hot

Aside from the frightening observation that you can avoid deep understanding of candidates positions… it shows how quickly we adopt certain structures and behaviors when the Tinder experience is now a standard digital experience.

The Void: Virtual Reality Theme Park

A small team of engineers and designers in Utah have taken VR to a new level with an experience that is a seamless blend of virtual reality and real, physical environments.

voidvoid headset

The Void is still in alpha stage, but is the furthest advanced application of VR as a truly immersive and interactive environment.

Business Insider Review

Video Tour

void landscape

Alien landscapes with hot breezes and falling rain, or an Aztec Temple where you feel the heat of your torch. This is the Star Trek holodeck come to life, a true mapping of virtual world over physical world and its being developed by a small group of enthusiasts– setting the bar for companies like Oculus to beat.

Why It’s Hot

The most advanced of the true VR experiences and its moving rapidly toward deployment worldwide. But its also setting the bar for the category in timing and sophistication.

App usage rises to 37 1/2 hours per month

New data released by Nielsen yesterday shows that smartphone app usage has risen to almost 40 hours per month, another 63% jump over the prior year. Interestingly, the number of apps that are used on a monthly basis has not changed– we spend more time with a few selected apps.


Why It’s Hot

The study illustrates several important insights;

1. we prefer to be invested heavily in a short list of apps rather than using a deep library (even if we have them)

2. we continue to increase our smartphone usage for activities previously spread across multiple devices (laptop, desktop, handheld games, television)

3. we are easily distracted by our phones– we go the screen for one thing and wind up doing many other things since we are “already there”

Apple TV as the gateway to connected home


Analysts were caught by surprise when Apple TV doubled its TV Everywhere share in a single quarter (ending March 2015) after such a long struggle to gain traction. Spurred by a price drop for the holidays to some degree, this gives Apple devices almost 58% of the TV Everywhere usage.

Some are crying “woe” as a good part of that share was shifting from Mac. This ignores that the overall category grew significantly, and the Apple TV-mobile connection (ipad/iphone) is what Apple really wants.

Why it’s Hot

The shift back to the living room from laptop is interesting. More interesting, is that Apple is seeing the shift to the two channels it really needs to launch and fuel HomeKit. Apple now controls the bulk of data with the majority of viewing, and is in best position to monetize the entire connected experience.

Global Space App Challenge

This weekend an ambitious event called the Space App Challenge will be held simultaneously in 162 countries with over 10,000 participants. Co-sponsored by NASA and IBM, the event is a hack-a-thon designed to tackle challenges around space and human problems that can be solved using the data available through NASA and platforms/cloud provided by IBM. The participants include developers, scientists, students, entrepreneurs and educators.

25 specific challenges have been identified under four major themes, with local organizing groups in 100 cities and tools, data, prizes all included.

Space App

Why It’s Hot

The perfect intersection of data, tools, focus and incentives combined with the drivers of achievement and collaboration– these kind of hack-a-thons are now being applied in new areas (health), powered by the Internet of Things and the data being generated.

Insanely Detailed Viral Campaign for Jurassic World


First launched softly on Twitter last August, the viral campaign for Universal’s Jurassic World movie went into high gear after the Super Bowl. Two incredibly immersive websites launched– one for the fictional park which will have you believing you could book a trip there tomorrow (take a tour through the resort rooms, check the restaurant menu, look at activities, live webcams of the park, even buy merchandise), and the other for the equally fictional company that supposedly owns and built the park, Masrani Global.

Neither site acknowledges they are fictional. Rich in video, imagery and detail; updates are now being released that have fans poring through the work for clues about the film.

Why It’s Hot
Viral marketing is often a “leap of faith” as we cant predict or forecast success, it is completely in the hands of the user to determine whether the content is shareable. It is impressive how much detail and depth went into these websites, and is continuously being released without a shred of paid promotion. That’s the definition of faith in your idea, your instincts and the resulting content is so rich and compelling i am waiting to see when this gets real traction.

The Digital Super Bowl

New England Patriots v Seattle Seahawks

The ultimate live event, known for the both the game and the advertising, is struggling in the digital universe. Yes, like the elections and the World Cup you can count on Twitter going off the charts with patriots fans lamenting the game and commentary on every ad. But no one has really cracked the true digital experience to complement the game.

There are plenty of apps (applications not appetizers, in this circumstance that does need to be clarified) that will “enhance” your experience. But most of them are about the pre-game and post-game, nothing so compelling you will be glued to the second screen during the game. And facebook is trying to take advantage with a new approach to advertising during the game– forcing video feeds and real-time responses to posts.

Your Facebook feed is going to be unbearable during the Super Bowl

These 7 iPhone Apps Will Help You Tackle the Super Bowl Like a Pro

Why It’s Hot

With the Super Bowl such a cultural phenomenon, tracking the efforts of brands and platforms to bring the game beyond the first screen is critical to see where those companies may go in the future… both by the nature of their efforts, and the results. If brands cant guide the consumer, then consumers will eventually organically create an experience that may be very unexpected.

The Case for More Screen Time

many screens

As with any major cultural change– and technology is obviously transforming our culture– it has been so much easier for the older generations to talk about the negatives when our teenagers are spending 11 hours a day in front of a screen or multiple screens.

But the tide may finally be turning to see the more balanced impact. Recent studies are showing that all this screen time is building reasoning and logic skills, enhancing visual acuity, teaching brevity in communication, enhanced ability to filter and sort rapid streams of information…

Why It’s Hot

Understanding both sides of our users and the generational differences enhances our ability to create individualised experiences that have impact.



CES 2015

CES wearables

The evolution from Comdex days to the current CES is astounding– this year, the show expanded to three separate venues across Las Vegas. the Health section, relegated to a basement corner in its first year was an entire hall in it’s second year. From 130 wearable companies last year to 1300 companies this year. Connected homes running on laptops. All held together by “Intelligence Everywhere” powered by processors Intel is releasing that are enabling the proliferation of drones, wearable devices, connected appliances and automated homes.

60 Seconds from CES: The MRM//McCann Blog


Apple’s Fastest Growing Product: eCommerce

iPhone 5S fingerprint scanner

$4.1 billion in Q1 2014– up 20% and rising fast. Very quietly, Apple is maneuvering for real innovation in ecommerce/mobile commerce. Volume alone isnt enough– but Touch ID, ibeacon and ApplePay are connecting the dots between retail and mobile at the individual user level.

Why It’s Hot

As they roll out iBeacon, Apple will be able to track individual retail behaviors on mobile, in-store and transactions. Apple has the platform, the connectivity and the security to enable commerce and tracking as few can manage.


Google pushing the “Open Web of Things”


The Internet of Things is the over-used (and only moderately understood) buzzword of 2014/2015. The idea that all things will be connected– appliances, automobiles, wearables, retail, clothing, everything– is emerging as a reality on the front-end.

But the back-end is only being addressed by device or limited family of devices– the common language, settings, privacy and protocols that can make the connection reality.

Google is assembling the best and brightest across industries and academia with challenge grants to develop the back-end standards as an “Open Web of Things.”

Google IOT Open Innovation Grants

Why Its Hot

The next generation of “Things” may rapidly begin to be truly connected. As with telecom, web and other networking platforms before now, it will be critical to trace and track the emerging (and competing) standards from Google and other parties.

Net Neutrality

Internet_02The question of who owns the internet, is now front-page news. Is it a utility, a basic service for U.S. citizens or is it controlled by the providers who can decide how to prioritize traffic?

I have always advocated for free and open web but its not a simple issue. For example, regulation might slow down innovation and progress as seen with AT&T already suspending some build-out until it’s resolved. On the other hand, ISPs have the lowest satisfaction scores and haven’t delivered on service and innovation.

Why It’s Hot

This will impact every Client, differently. Cisco and Verizon are closest to the debate but our social and mobile programs, innovation partnerships are on the other side. It impacts the long tail of channel planning, start-ups we would like to invest in, possibly cost structure for access on behalf of Clients.

Most importantly though, this could be a spur to competition, service and innovation as the spotlight hits the ISPs.

Wearables Getting Smart

Microsoft Band

With two health platforms launched (Google Fit and apple Health), more on the way (Samsung, Nintendo) and a thousand wearables with varied functions in various stages of development…. Microsoft has somewhat quietly released the most advanced device yet. The device is slim but packs 10 sensors into single band. It’s cross-platform (although Microsoft did release their own platform).

What’s really new is the intelligence from the device– it can analyze your behaviors and give you feedback. It can also guide you through workouts. And it can work through its app on almost any device.

Why It’s Hot

Wearables are less than two years old, and the acceleration of utility and intelligence only required the right platforms to unleash them– from dumb monitoring devices to intelligent, engaging tools. This is the beginning.

The Future of Retail Shaped Equally by Technology and Experience

ShopBox_015-pop_10679interactive displays, augmented reality, instantaneous commerce, social influence, even immediacy in shipping are reshaping our retail experience rapidly.

Why It’s Hot

even with the same or similar product available in different places, we will gravitate toward the superior retail experience– as brands are now shaped by experience as much as ideas, the ubiquity brought by technology continues to push the importance of brands in a new direction.

Tech Tattoos


What will wearable tech look when it reaches beyond the wrist?

It will/can be invasive implantation. Weaving together biology science, medicine, electronics, a lot of interaction, and cultural wisdom, implantable technologies are now in development. Surprisingly, the drag on development isnt connectivity, sensors, implantation or power– its figuring out the display.

Why It’s Hot

Tracking the cultural norms surrounding such invasive/physical technology will be as important as the enablement and opportunities. We may create a completely new set of signals/communication formats because the old ones wont hold– do you want Starbucks ads poppiing up on your wrist?


Neil Gaiman on Creativity in the Social Age


Interesting commentary and perspective on how social influence impacts the creative process and expression/publishing.

Social platforms and connections can be equally distracting and inspiring, can enable or disrupt. they affect both the individual creator, and the crowd, and certainly disrupt the old models of content distribution (Amazon’s battle with hacchette is an example of the latter).

Why it’s hot

Digital natives will wrestle with incorporating social behaviors and engines into the creative/strategic thought process and the distribution of intellectual property– how to make sure crowd-sourcing and real-time expression don’t become the process.

Think Different: Equal Parts Inspiration & Caution


This is a juxtaposition of two articles that happened to be back-to-back in my newsfeed.

The first (with a shout-out to Todd) is about the unintended consequences or possibilities of technology– in this case, the reveal that your Android smartphone can listen in on real-world conversations not through the microphone (which you can block) but through the gyroscope (which you can’t block).

The second is a piece from IFLScience addressing a recent edu-tainment show on Discovery Channel’s Shark week that has convinced millions of people that long-extinct “moster sharK’ is hiding in the oceans.

Why It’s Hot

A real inspiration to look at the tools available to us– the channels, platforms and devices– and look past the pre-defined purpose to their possibilities; and the power of our narrative whn delivered through those channels in such an impactful fashion.


Self-Assembling Robots


Transformers are here!

Using some paper, a circuit board and the plastic used in Shrinky Dinks, a team of researchers has designed an origami-inspired crawling robot that folds itself into working order in about four minutes.

The fusion of 4D printing and origami techniques has already made complex, mobile self-assembling robots possible– starting from a flat sheet sheet of material and becoming a working, moving robot.

Why it’s Hot

it was only weeks ago that we identified 4D printing as an nascent technology and its already advanced to complex structures. The implications for health (miniaturized components), space exploration, law enforcement, armed forces, and more are incredible.

The Science of Cool

Behavioral scientists are at it again, publishing studies and theses that leave us wondering “who paid for that?”

In this case, researchers identified four traits of “cool” and its the fourth one thats tricky– unconventiality. When does “unusual” become “abnormal”? The conclusion is that “cool” isnt too risky, people need to ground the new design/function in their human needs or habits.

Why it’s Hot

Two lessons for us as we create experiences and interactions. First, we must tether our design to something solid in peoples lives (think about music, where albums went to cassettes to walkman to ipod, vs Segway). Second, it means “cool” is a journey because others will be able to copy rapidly if we arent too unconventional.

Shopping Experience Re-Imagined

This is a pair of articles that together drive home the need to understand people as we build multi-channel, multi-device, multi-format experiences.

A model demonstrates a virtual fitting room

First, a new study that confirms mobile commerce has not upset or displaced brick-and-mortar shopping– in fact, it drives in-store sales by extending the experience. The way we use smartphones is so fundamentally different from desktop or tablet; we use smartphones for couponing, reviews, location-finding but not for actual commerce. This harkens back to a “scholarly disagreement” I had with a Harvard Economics professor 12 years ago, who predicted that ecommerce would be frictionless and drive product sales on price alone, that brands would be irrelevant.

Smartphones changed the way people shop, but they won’t kill local commerce (study)

Second, trends in shopping that bring augmented reality and social engagement in-store and at-home.

The science of shopping: digital innovations shaping the future of retail

Together, a total re-imagining of the shopping experience.

Virtual Reality Journalism

use of force

Use of Force is a VR simulation, that places the viewer as a witness to a real-life incident where border guards beat a non-resisting man to death. It uses actual cell-phone audio, 3D imaging of the location and witness accounts as the basis. It was created by Nonny de la Pena, a former Newsweek journalist to change the way we perceive events being broadcast to us. It mirrors the way television changed our perceptions of the Vietnam War.

While most applications now talked about are gaming or virtual meetings (social and/or business), this kind of VR experience has the potential to radically change our perceptions– good or bad. Studies are showing our perceptions of VR experiences are fundamentally different than other immersive even 3D experiences.

Why It’s Hot

As VR simulations become more immersive than ever, these emotional moments will feel more and more like the human perception of memories, like nothing we’ve ever experienced before.

Real-Time Visualization of the World’s Emotions

Two Australian research firms have teamed up with Twitter (through their recently-acquired Gnip) and Amazon Web services to create a real-time emotion-quantification project called “We Feel.” By analyzing the English-langugage Twitter activity every 15 minutes, they can map the emotions around the world. The website has an interactive visualization that lets users break down emotions (for example, “joy” could be “zest” or “pride” or a number of sub-groups), geography, time, gender.

I’ve been tracking the World Cup matches and how they affect the countries playing.


Why It’s Hot

Behind the scenes, the collaboration was sparked by Amazon looking to donate their services. These kind of collaborative projects begin to show the intelligence and insight we can use to measure the impact of products, politics, events.

D-Day on Twitter


At least three organizations are creating re-enactments of the Normandy Invasion on Twitter, using archived photos and first-hand accounts for a real-time immersive experience.

Why Its Hot

Using the platforms of the 21st century to “translate” a defining moment in history, into an accessible human drama for new generation. Says a lot about the power of reach, immediacy and content to capture the imagination in education.

10 Algorithms That Dominate Our World


Some have been around for a while (Google Search), some are just coming into view (IBM’s Crush for crime prevention). Some have become so ubiquitous we hardly even notice them (Amazon’s referral). But these algorithms shape our experiences, our economy and maybe our love lives.

The 10 Algorithms

Why Its Hot

At first, I was struck by the patterns, the structure of these algorithms. And the fact that there is research that proves humans follow patterns and structures, its how we understand our environment and why “thinking outside the box” is not always a good thing. But then I realized– not one of these algorithms existed 15 years ago. Now they define our lives. That says a lot for how we adapt to the visualizations, how we integrate experiences into our lives, and challenges us to look for the new experience drivers that are waiting to be created.

10 Most Disruptive Technologies

4D Printing

Citi Velocity (the think tank of Citibank) has released their second annual report on the most disruptive innovations/technologies of the coming year.

Interesting commentary on how technology changes the world quite literally, and the range of technologies.

#1: 4D Printing. We’re just getting our heads around the possibilities and already we’ve jumped a generation in capability? Check the video below for exactly what’s been dubbed 4D printing. It’s a bit mind-blowing.

#3: Digital Currency; we’ve ben talking about the possibilities here.

#4: Digital marketing, specifically the use of data to inform experiences

#8: Immunotherapy; a real focus for us as we seek out transformative products and companies.

Disruptive Innovation

Why Its Hot

We often take the expression “change the world” lightly. When financial-based analysts look at how technology will change culture so fundamentally that global financial markets must account, then you pay attention to the phrase “change the world.”

Apple’s hand has been tipped on the iwatch



A few months ago, I posted about Apple’s Healthbook– their health monitoring platform, and its extensive possibilities (from counting steps and calories, to hydration levels and blood pressure). And it’s been noticed that Apple is quietly hiring a good number of medical professionals, and has been meeting with the FDA. Now the plans for iWatch have been leaked– it is not the wearable computing device everyone expected (and thought would be late to to market). It is instead a complex health monitoring device, with the same experience design and range of function you would expect from a new Apple device.


iwatch rumors

Why its hot

Apple is coming in to shape and dominate the mobile health category as they did for music, then entertainment. In fact, this is likely why Nike abandoned their fitness device. Apple will take wearables and health to a new level, make it mainstream.

LinkedIn’s Path to Publishing Platform

I admit it… I am rooting for LinkedIn. Since they became the first network to use gamification principles so well, I have embraced that spark of genius. But they have had a long road to get out of the “recruiters” platform perception.

This week, they hit 300 Million users. And clarified their ambition to be a content delivery engine. Very different from facebook, because they dont depend on advertising (they have paid memberships).

Why LinkedIn is morphing from a social network into an online newspaper

Why Its Hot

LinkedIn is poised to be a business influence and content engine. The counterpoiint to “frivolous” social networking. And a great opportunity to use content and influencers in our creation of experiences.

Computing Power as Currency


First SETI borrowed your “spare” time on computer, then FoldIt turned gene mapping into a game, now you can donate your mobile processing power to solving complex medical issues. As more and more devices, even your home itself, has computing and processing power, you can begin to direct that power wherever you like.


HTC takes on cancer with smartphone-powered supercomputer

Why its Hot

Thinking about the raw computing power coming online is incredible, if we can begin to aggregate and direct it to real human challenges– global warming, econometrics, even cancer research. You can decide the cause or institution you will support with your new currency. And we can begin to solve the most complex problems at a fantastic rate!