Woebot – Highly Praised App for Mental Health

AI counseling is the wave of the future. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy administered by a smart chatbot, via an app relying on SMS, has become highly popular and well reviewed. Woebot isn’t just the face of a trend, it’s a notable player in technology transforming healthcare.

Why It’s Hot

It’s not new. It’s better. The first counseling software was called Eliza. It was ~1966. Part of the difficulty was it required human intervention. Ironically, in 2019 when many believe a lack of human contact to be part of the problem, that void actually addresses a barrier in therapy. Perceived lack of anonymity and privacy. Sure therapist visits are confidential blah blah but people naturally have difficulty opening up in person. Plus there’s the waiting room anxiety. With an app, studies have shown that people get to the heart of their problem quicker.

Why it Matters

There’s a ton of demand for “talk therapy” and others. Human counselors can’t keep up. People wait weeks and months for appointments. That’s in the U.S. where they’re compensated well. In this On Demand age, that’s seen as unacceptable. Woebot, and others, address the market need for immediate gratification care. Another issue is cost. Therapy is expensive. Apps are obviously a solve here. No co-pay.

Obligatory Statement

All the apps remind users they’re no substitute for human counselors but they are helpful in reflecting behavior patterns and emotional red flags back to their users. At the very least, it’ll help you make the most of your next therapy visit.

Is There Nothing An Influencer Won’t Promote?

Okay. It’s one thing to look to social media influencers for inspiration on a new handbag, sneakers, foundation, hotel stay… What about medication? Surgery? Having advanced in the highly regulated world of medical advertising and come to terms with how to remain compliant with guidelines, pharma is solidly in a new phase of advanced advertising. Yes, many other industries have been using influencers on social for years but pharma is often hesitant. No longer (for some).

Pharma influencers are paid an ~$1,000 per 100,000 followers. There’s deep pockets in this industry so they’re not just using one or two, they’re using a fleet of influencers to sell a lifestyle. That’s not a stretch either. If you think about the TV ads, they’re not selling psoriasis treatment, they’re selling the freedom to walk with naked legs and arms holding hands with your love interest before you take a dip in the pool. So instead of print, a 60 sec spot, or radio ad, pharma gets the pseudo storytelling candor benefits of influencers’ social feeds.

Oh, can’t end without an obligatory mention that the Karshians are, at least, partially to blame.

Kim Kardashian made the news for (mis)promoting morning sickness pills.

Healthy and Informed? That’s Hot.

There’s a million ways to use social media, like finding material for self-righteous indignation. It can also be used to improve public health. Aside from all the Twitter text alerts, patient reviews of medications on YouTube, and questionable use of Instagram by branded treatments, there are legitimate ways using social media can actually improve public health.

HOW DOES IT WORK? A notable method of providing a service to society is the use of podcasts. People can learn about public policy, like the Affordable Care Act debate, in a way that’s easy to comprehend with The Healthcare Policy Podcast. Interested in the future of your Healthcare beyond video therapy sessions and chatbots to diagnose common ailments? Think robotic assistants for surgeons, lasers replacing the scalpel in new ways, and enhanced apps to improve med compliance. The weekly MedTech Talk Podcast has that and more.


Recognizing the seismic shift social media is bringing to healthcare, we’re constantly looking at our proposals to ensure our recommendations place brands at the forefront. Though Healthcare is right to be cautious, there’s actually a plethora of use cases that can be applied.

Like Music To Your Thumbs – Musical.ly, TikTok, Ditty

Heard about the trend “Hit or Miss”? That’s from TikTok. There are similar platforms. “Depending on who you ask, it’s either an entertaining gathering place for younger and older generations or, well … incredibly cringey… For every spontaneous clip filmed by two college kids, there’s a jarringly artificial video of someone dressed superficially and seeking nothing but attention.”

Here’s safe ditty from an 11-year-old.

Why does this matter? Generation Z is all over it. They seem to inherently know how to capture a digital slice of life, edit it, add filters, special effects, a soundtrack, craft a promotion plan complete with catchy hook and hashtag. Brands attempting to reach them need to learn to think like them. One big setback is how brands think long-term. Their audience is thinking about right now. That has its pitfalls. Reference any number of fallen YouTube influencers. The pay off, if done well, can be huge. Tread carefully.

Snapchat Introduces A Redesign… Again

After Snapchat swore that they were going to stick by their decision to separate “Friends” stories and “Professional” stories they have updated their platform yet again. This time, they’ve kept the stories separated but now you can view all of them on the same page.

Users and celebrities alike commented on how much they did not like Snapchat’s (former) redesign. Back in February, Kylie Jenner Tweeted out that she doesn’t even open the app anymore. This little Tweet led to Snapchat losing $1.3B from it’s stock market value.

Snap’s CEO, Evan Spiegel spoke on the new redesign stating, “We are now focused on optimizing the redesign based on our ongoing experimentation and learning,” he said, explaining the changes. “For example, when we separated friends’ Stories from creator Stories, we also moved them to the left side of the camera and merged them into the Chat feed. We learned that combining watching Stories and communicating with friends into the same place made it harder to optimize for both competing behaviors.”

Why It’s Hot: It seems as though Snap’s former redesign all but killed off the platform. It will be interesting to watch and see if this latest update will win back some love from their (former) users.

Source: Newsweek 

American Express Targets With Taxi Cabs

American Express plans to run ads on top of 125 taxis in New York City that will change messaging depending on the location of the cabs.

Whenever a cab passes the location of an American Express merchant in the city, the technology will tap into the cab’s GPS system and serve the correct ad for that company on top of the cab. This provides another line of revenue for American Express, which can charge these AmEx-accepting stores for these highly targeted ads. American Express is currently starting up negotiations with selected partners so there are no examples of companies onboard yet, said Joe Bihlmier, vp of global media at American Express. The ads are meant to send the message that American Express is connected with those businesses, he added. American Express doesn’t break down how many partners it has in New York, but the company has 18 million worldwide.

Geotargeting allows American Express to reach its target consumers where they are and serve an ad that is relevant in the moment. If there is no business partner nearby, the cab will show an ad that relates to the neighborhood the taxi cab is driving through. For instance, if a cab is passing through Columbus Circle, the ad would read: “Don’t Columbus Circle without it,” alongside the American Express logo.

Bihlmier said American Express is still learning from and testing this kind of location targeting. While Bihlmier said American Express does not intend on tracking whether consumers’ foot traffic to its merchants increases, it plans on measuring whether use of American Express cards increased in the taxis.

The effort is part of a wider campaign, created by McGarryBowen, and new positioning for American Express that aims to connect with what Bihlmier calls the “hybrid consumer,” people who blend their personal lives with work. American Express commissioned research firm Morning Consult to conduct a survey of 2,000 people to see how many people were living hybrid lives, finding that half of the people surveyed were doing so.

That’s why the cab ads, other out-of-home digital ads and TV spots for the new campaign feature business products alongside consumer products with the messages: “Don’t Live Life Without It” or “Don’t Do Business Without It.” The ads feature people multitasking as well. The company is also serving ads in digital channels that connect life and business like WeTransfer, across mobile, in 20 different podcasts and on Hulu.

Bihlmier said the campaign will be the company’s widest use of geographical targeting to date. American Express has previously used the technology around large-scale events such as Coachella, the U.S. Open golf tournament and the U.S. Open tennis event, mostly through Snapchat geofilters to target Generation Z and millennial attendees with relevant offers.

Overall, out-of-home advertising is becoming a larger piece of American Express’ ad spend, according to Bihlmier, although he wouldn’t reveal specific numbers. This recent push comes as out-of-home advertising, especially digital, has returned to the forefront of the media-buying conversation, thanks to the news last week that Netflix is verging on acquiring Regency Outdoor Advertising for $300 million. The acquisition would guarantee the streaming service premium real estate on billboards in the Los Angeles and Orange County area.

Bihlmier believes digital out-of-home ads that change their messages, like the American Express cab ads, will help the company stand out to the affluent, cosmopolitan audience that the majority of marketers are trying to reach, said Bihlmier.

“We have a complex challenge of trying to reach these very busy and well-targeted people,” said Bihlmier. “So anything we can do to be contextual to the moment will help us break through.”

Source: Digiday
Why it’s hot: Out-of-home advertising is not known to be as efficient as its digital counterpart. Companies taking steps to bring traditional advertising to the digital age are pushing the concept of normal and showing that out-of-home can be successful.

This Is How You Use Facebook Live To Get Men To Understand Gender Inequality


CMI International Women’s Day Blackout

International Women’s Day was a lot of carefully planned images and status updates but the Chartered Management Institute went a step further and hammered home the gender pay gap among managers using an innovative video strategy.

Facebook Live was used to amplify a panel that discussed gender inequality in the workplace but with a surprise for male viewers (thanks to Facebook’s gender targetting). 22 minutes into the livestream, male viewers were shown a pixelated stream for the remainder of the panel event highlighting the gender pay gap among managers based on data from the CMI’s ‘Mind the Gender Gap’ report. The report puts the pay gap at manager level between male and female salary currently standing at 26.8%. Male viewers were further frustrated by not being able to ask questions or register votes for polls (although they were not told about this until later). Altogether a smart and subtle execution – the full video can be seen at the bottom of post.

CMI International Women’s Day Blackout

CMI International Women’s Day Blackout

Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy & External Affairs for CMI, said: “By disrupting the male viewers’ Facebook livestream, men could experience how frustrating a small thing like a slightly obscured screen can be, which feels particularly unfair when it’s applied simply on the basis of gender. This way we made the point that small, discriminatory and often incidental behaviour, despite seeming minor, all contribute to allowing gender inequality to flourish in the workplace. We believe this is the first time this Facebook hack around gender-based livestreaming has been used in this way so it’s a truly novel way for people to experience gender inequality first-hand rather than just reading about the latest stats. We’re now going to continue using Facebook to tackle this issue with the creation of the CMI Women group. This will become a forum for men and women to crowdsource solutions.”

International Women’s Day was even more poignant this year as strong women across the globe remain in the spotlight thanks to the #metoo movement, President’s Club fiasco, the recent gun tragedy in Florida, the political landscape and strong female leaders. Every year, women come together to show solidarity but also, sadly, to show how much more work there is still to do. Digital can help level playing fields in this struggle and smart strategies like this one can really affect behavioural change if the comments on the livestream are anything to by.

Source: Forbes

Why it’s hot: Gender equality was all the rage this International Women’s Day as brands looked to unique opportunities to honor the female gender and show their support. CMI found a way to celebrate International Women’s Day while teaching a lesson to those who don’t understand the severity of the gender wage gap.

Evan Spiegel: Snap Update Is ‘Here To Stay’

As you may have noticed, Snapchat has recently redesigned their app, moving stories and personal Snaps to the same section, while creating a separate category for influencer’s and celebrities (or those with large followings).

The redesign has many users confused, frustrated and even forfeiting their Snapchats altogether. CEO Evan Spiegel says that the redesign is here to stay, regardless of the numerous complaints and gripes. Since the update, over 83% of users have reviewed the redesign negatively. They’ve left 1 or 2 star reviews on Apple’s App Store review feature. Yikes.

However, Spiegel wants users to rethink the way that they’re using the platform. He firmly believes that with time, and a new adoption process, users will come to love the new layout. He says, “Even the frustrations we’re seeing really validate those changes. It’ll take time for people to adjust, but for me using it for a couple months I feel way more attached to the service.”

Source: Tech Crunch

Why It’s Hot: Many people have written off Snapchat, hypothesizing that the platform will be dead within the near future. However, Snap and Spiegel refuse to let that become reality. With this redesign, they’re hoping that it changes not only the way that users interact with each other but how they interact with their cameras as well. This new update could either make or break the platform, only time will tell.

Was The “Tide Pod Challenge” The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Tide?

In 2016 a lesser known YouTube user shared a video of himself eating a Tide Pod. After that The Onion and College Humor posted satirical content about Tide Pods and their new ‘delicious’ flavors. Then in December of 2017 meme accounts suddenly had a new topic to obsess about which resulted in the Tide Pod Challenge going viral.

Suddenly the YouTube challenge culture saw eating Tide Pods as the next opportunity to get more views with the hopes of being seen as funny, not seriously encouraging others to do the same. Unfortunately, after this videos gained some traction many teenagers and children began making their own Tide Pod Challenge videos that eventually were picked up by news outlets. After news stories began breaking, all eyes were on Tide and their concentrated pod product as a safety hazard.

Because of this Tide was in the spotlight and not for good reason. The brand was challenged with protecting their reputation while maintaining their dominance in the category. What marketing tactics could they deploy to distract from a story this big?

Two words: Super Bowl

Tide isn’t new to the world of Super Bowl commercials, however, they knew that it would take extreme creativity to stand out in the crowd of advertisements. Their plan was simple, hijack all of the “Big Game” commercials in order to make every ad a #TideAd.

Throughout the game Tide purchased 4 ad slots to air in each quarter to insert the brand in the conversation in unique ways. This concept was extended into the digital space by having celebrities, such as Betty White, post their own #TideAds to their social platforms.

These ads were among those being praised by viewers and publications in the advertising industry for being the most successful and most entertaining.

Why it’s hot: Tide successfully redirected the conversation around their brand through an iconic advertising strategy. Less than 6% of the 164,000+ mentions of the brand during the game was about Tide Pods. Since these commercials aired on Sunday evening, the general brand conversation is finally outnumbering the Tide Pod Challenge chatter.

The Emoji Report

Leading social listening tool, Brandwatch, analyzed every emoji published on Twitter for the past two years. They looked at over 6 billion emojis and tracked learnings across industries, time of year and gender. Read the full report HERE

Highlights include:

  • On average 250 million emojis are posted online each month. The month with the highest volume of emoji use was in July 2016, seeing 293 million. This was partly due to the UK’s European Referendum. In fact, in the months during and following the referendum, negative emoji use grew by 3%.
  • On average, 75% of the emojis on Twitter are positive and 25% are negative.
    • Over the last two years, the use of negative emojis grew from 23.2% to 25.4% – an increase of 9.5%
    • The largest volume of negative emojis was recorded during the month of the American election (8th November 2016). During the week of the election, negative emoji use grew to 28.9% (a two year high)
    • Negative emoji use grew by 3% in the months before and during the British EU referendum (23rd June 2016)
    • The highest percentage of positive emojis was recorded back in February 2016 (76.8%). This was partly due to hundreds of thousands of fans wishing @Harry_Styles a happy birthday 
    • 31% of emojis used over the past two years expressed joy
      • The use of negative emojis averages at 22.5% during the day (6am to 8pm)
      • However, during the evening (8pm to 6am) negative emoji use grew to 27.3% – an increase of 21%

      In a similar light, the volume of positive emojis increases in the run-up to the weekend:

      • The average usage of positive emojis on Friday and Saturday is 77.7% 
      • On every other day, it’s 76.2% – a 1.9% decrease

Key takeaways:

Emojis are perceived by many as just a novel way to communicate, and most of us underestimate the value of them.

In less than 10 years the volume and variety of emojis have skyrocketed. Today, 95% humans online have used emojis, making it the internet’s most popular language.

It’s clear from this analysis that the volume of emojis will only continue to grow and increase in importance – we’ve seen the variety of emoji grow, and with the total number of emojis expanding to almost 3,000. As such, more and more emojis will start to replace everyday words and phrases.

This makes the analysis of emoji usage online a vital activity. Brands, organizations, governments, and others can uncover genuine insights in monitoring emojis on a macro scale. Whether it’s assessing brand health against the industry average, or emotion by location.

Brands, in particular, are set to garner the most value from emoji analysis as it provides a real-time look at how their brand, products, and services are perceived online compared to their competitors.

That’s today, but it wouldn’t require much effort to imagine a world in the near future where the volume of positive or negative emojis next to a brand name could be used to help determine a company’s market cap. Or a world where a 100% increase in emojis that represent illness help identify potential health issues across geographies.

With that in mind, here are four predictions :

  1. Emojis will cement its position as the only language that allows us to communicate with anyone globally
  2. The type of emojis available online will continue to diversify (e.g. Animojis and Bitmojis)
  3. Because of this, emojis will start to replace text as the key provider of context in future conversations
  4. Brands, organizations, and governments will analyze the use of emojis on a macro scale in real-time.

What it’s hot:

As social strategists, we have this data at our finger tips. By conducting an emoji analysis for client brands and prospective clients we can bring a new understanding of audiences to strategy and marketing tactics.

KFC’s first FEMALE Colonel

KFC has a new celebrity wearing Colonel Sanders’ signature white suit and goatee—Reba McEntire, who stars in a new 60-second spot promoting the fried-chicken chain’s new Smoky Mountain BBQ flavor.



A 30-second version of the ad from Wieden + Kennedy in Portland will air during Sunday’s Grammy Awards broadcast on CBS. McEntire replaces the noncelebrity Colonel Sanders.

“[The creative team] wrote everything, the script and the music,” McEntire told Adweek. “I thought they did a wonderful job on it all. We had fun with it. I’d go in and sing it my way and they’d laugh and say for me to do it this way, and we’d all laugh.”

McEntire said she was “spellbound” in December when she was asked to be the first woman and first musician Colonel Sanders and that she enjoyed the way she was able to “portray what I do for a living as the Colonel.”

KFC Honky Tonk – Smoky Mountain Bbq

“With Reba’s southern roots and entrepreneurial spirit, she truly embodies the values of the Colonel and the crowd-pleasing flavor of our Smoky Mountain BBQ,” said Andrea Zahumensky, CMO, KFC U.S., in a statement.

The new flavor will be available at participating KFC locations on Jan. 29.

McEntire said it was hard at first to sing while wearing the costume, goatee and mustache.

“It took a while to get used to it because when they put it on me, it was glued on my upper lip, and then when you smile, that stretches out,” she said. “So we kept gluing it back on.”

She continued: “I got a big kick out of the transformation and wearing the wig. The hardest part was when they said to me, ‘We want you to eat this piece of chicken while you’re the Colonel,’ and I looked at them and I looked at the band and they had mustaches and I said, ‘How do y’all eat with the mustache?’”

McEntire is in four spots for KFC, with the potential for a fifth appearance, according to a rep for the brand. McEntire noted that it “would thrill me to pieces to continue it on.”


Why its hot: THIS IS A BRAND TO WATCH! They are constantly keeping fans on their toes, waiting to see what they will come up with next. This stands out from the crowd b/c they broke away from the tradition of having a male colonel since they were founded and for the first time have a female spokesperson. With inclusion and diversity being a hot topic constantly on the minds of consumers, this proves how as advertisers we have to be in tune with the world going on around a brand to breakthrough and grab attention. Cultural and social cues have so much to do with the messages brands are putting out.

Pregnant? Clear-Blue or IKEA

Exciting news doesn’t just come from a Clear-Blue test anymore. Anticipating on being pregnant? No need to go into your local pharmacy and purchase a pregnancy test.

IKEA just released their latest product… a pregnancy test! How does it work? It’s  going to start appearing in your favorite magazines and readables – all you have to do is pee on the strip (just like any regular pregnancy test) and then wait a few minutes. If you’re pregnant, a sweet surprise will be waiting for you. A discounted price of a crib will appear, in red, signaling that you or your spouse is pregnant!

Why It’s Hot: Not only is this extreme out-of-the-box thinking for a furniture store known for their inexpensive products and Swedish meatballs, but it is also proves as an extremely creative example of how a brand can insert and position themselves in the lifestyle change of a family.

Source: Here.

By now, you’ve probably already seen the City of Los Angeles’ stunning social media call for a graphic designer. Rarely have we seen a need so eloquently illustrated.

Government bodies can be among the worst graphic design offenders (consider the FBI’s “fun and games” page). The people most equipped to help often waste little time pointing it out. Remember that one time the freaky NSA report leaked and, amid the loss of our privacy, etc., all we could focus on was how ugly it was?

But it’s also possible we suffer from a dearth of good bureaucratic design because nobody’s applying to those gigs, which makes L.A.’s horrific offense to the senses a veritable stroke of genius. On Twitter, it’s generated nearly 30,000 retweets and over 73,000 likes since it was posted Friday, not to mention a passel of responses, including these fridge-worthy treasures:

Given how many people were just flabbergasted that the city would dare to post an ad so lacking in professionalism (because that’s our biggest problem right now), it’s cool to see that L.A. gives as good as it gets.

Seriously, though: There’s not enough trolling in job placement.

The complete job posting—which is far more boring, if just as illegible (for different reasons)—can be found here. The role includes creating posters, covers, pamphlets, signs and exhibits, and translating statistical data across all departments. Two years of full-time experience and a bachelor’s degree in art, graphic design or computer graphics are required.

The payscale ranges from $46,708 to a whopping $103,230, probably contingent on whether you completed kindergarten with full stickers. You can apply through Jan. 25.

Before and after the ad was posted on Twitter, the City of Los Angeles also shared ads for a carpenter and an auditor. While topic-relevant in their own unique ways, they do signal the presence of an actual designer, hidden somewhere in the bowels of the building.

Sadly, though, they lack the rigorous effort put into generating a hair-trigger response that resulted in the graphic design ad.

Points for puns, though. God knows we don’t have enough of those.

Why it’s hot: Effective marketing can take all shapes and forms, even a Microsoft Paint drawing. This proves that thinking outside of the box can work to your advantage in even the most “boring” situation.

“I’ll Be” The Greatest Grand Slam of your Life – Denny’s

If you were wondering what Edwin McCain, the singer-songwriter behind the soaring 1998 hit “I’ll Be,” is up to these days, here’s your answer. He’s right here, on your electronic device, singing a gag music video about chain diner Denny’s online delivery service.

In the 3:30 video, the soft-rock crooner strums a guitar, emotes and rolls around on giant blowups of tweets from the restaurant’s fans begging it to bring its food to their doorsteps. All the while, cheeky subtitles make it extra clear that the service, launched last May, is only available in select areas—because, you know, the U.S. is kind of big.

Highlights include the moment where McCain sits on a set of stairs, with a giant framed photo of his younger self in the background. He’s still much the same guy, though, managing to sound simultaneously heartbroken and euphoric … just this time about the fact that you can have pancakes and nachos at your place.

Part of a broader campaign celebrating 800,000 orders on the app, the video comes with its own site, youinspired.us, that offers to reward the Twitter users quoted therein with a Denny’s gift card. Any new users who sign up for a delivery or takeout account at the website or in-app will also get a free dish—a promotion supported by a :15 TV spot from EP+Co as well.

The McCain video is not, though, the first Twitter-inspired fast-food ’90s schmaltz act revival parody. In 2014, Wendy’s tapped Boys II Men to make sonic love to its Pretzel Bun. Presumably, that was enough of a success that Denny’s though it a blueprint worth following. (Wendy’s, for its part, has graduated to Twitter rap battles with Wingstop. And in slightly less related news about musical next-acts and comestibles, there’s always that 2015 Biz Markie dittyabout marshmallows-only Lucky Charms.)

Find the full McCain lyrics for Denny’s below, for your amusement, or horror—and for posterity, so nobody can ever pretend this didn’t actually happen.

For ten years, you’ve been dreaming
Tweeting us and scheming
Facebook post your friends all laughed at you

You all said the same thing
United in desire
You’ve inspired us to make your dreams come true

Denny’s delivers, Denny’s delivers
Denny’s delivers to you
Shout out all to your friends
With your mouth all full of food
Denny’s delivers to you

So tweet your dreams don’t be surprised
When they become true
Denny’s knows there’s nothing more than
sharing 800 pancakes with you

When the sun begins to set
Don’t give into your sorrows
Call the friend that’s always open
and join this guy for nachos

Denny’s delivers, Denny’s delivers
Denny’s delivers to you
Shout out all to your friends
With your mouth all full of food
Denny’s delivers to you

We’re going to bring the feast to your place
You just have to tell us where
You’ve been asking for delivery since I had my long hair

The world is new everything’s changed
You can order with a touch
You tweeted it and we agreed
Delivery is so clutch

Denny’s delivers, Denny’s delivers
Denny’s delivers to you
Shout out all to your friends
With your mouth all full of food
Denny’s delivers to you

With posts from every place
Even got a message on MySpace
Denny’s delivers to you

Source: AdWeek

Why it’s hot:

  • In the social space, Denny’s has made a name for themselves by being the quirky or “out there” personality that goes where no other brand dares to go (except Moon Pie). By choosing to promote their delivery service through a one-hit-wonder of the 1990’s is something so far-fetched that it shows unique ways to reach social audiences and create buzz still exist.

OkCupid Redefines ‘DTF’

OkCupid is DTF, but not like that.

The dating site rethinks that blunt old acronym, originally meaning “down to fuck,” by making it the centerpiece of a new campaign from Wieden + Kennedy New York—with the F word replaced by dozens of enlightened alternatives, leading to phrases like “down to feel fabulous,” “down to forget our baggage” and “down to fight about the president.”

The point being: Dating can and should be about more than hookups. The tagline is, “Dating deserves better.”

The headlines are matched with fun, brightly colored photographs. Several of the ads also have a political message, adding to the already provocative use of “DTF” as a theme. It’s a highly artistic campaign, too—W+K worked with artist Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari, the creators of Toilet Paper magazine, on the ads.

The campaign marks the latest attack on dating culture, which has come to seem dehumanized in the binary, swipe-left-or-right age of Tinder. (Other dating apps, including Hinge, have also based recent ads around fostering deeper connections between users.)

OkCupid CMO Melissa Hobley tells AdFreak that the new campaign signals the brand’s commitment to being focused on substance and depth, while also reflecting the issues and passions that people care about.

“In the current political and social climate, we felt a responsibility and saw an opportunity to play a part in changing the conversation about dating culture and empowering each individual to reclaim the meaning of DTF and make it theirs,” she says.

OkCupid aims to achieve substance and depth through the app’s features. It asks users more than a dozen questions while setting up a profile and recently launched OkCupid Discovery, which lets users search by passions and interests. It aims to achieve relevance through the brand voice, having found traction by leaning into politics over the past year—including adding a “Trump Filter” to its list of questions.

“The response to this blew us away, and most importantly, signaled how important it was for people to be able to talk politics in dating,” Hobley says. “We do this better than anyone, and regularly add political questions into the OkCupid experience.”

Source: Adweek

Why it’s hot: 

  • In a world of political correctness, choosing to push the limits with a risque campaign is a risk for a brand looking to win over more users. However, in a sea of competitors like Tinder that are pushing they envelope it is a risk worth taking in order to stand out.

Snapchat and Coach Debuted Snapcodes Embedded Into Holiday Pins

Forget about camera-equipped sunglasses—Snapchat and Coach are hoping to make Snapcodes en vogue.

Today, the companies announced they’ve partnered to create a limited-edition set of Coach pins equipped with Snapcodes. The pins mark the first time a brand has created a product with the technology embedded in it.

The pins, which will be available online and at 20 Coach locations across the U.S. throughout the holiday season, feature Coach’s holiday mascots—a unicorn, a dinosaur and a shark—inside an outline of Snapchat’s iconic ghost. To win a pin, Coach customers just have to take a free online or in-store quiz about their favorite mascot. According to Snap, users can scan the pins to play an arcade game based on Coach’s holiday video campaign.

“The pins are all about creativity and individuality,” Marni Schapiro, Snap’s director of retail, said in a statement. “They’re fun, playful and allow our community a way to Snap the virtual onto reality.”

The quiz will also be featured in some Snap ads from Coach running throughout the season and can unlock campaign-themed Snapchat filters.

While it’s the first time Snapchat has created a customized accessory with Snapcodes, Snap has experimented with fashion products before. Last year, the company unveiled Spectacles, and while they garnered a lot of hype, they failed to catch on with everyday consumers. While the company reported $5.4 million in “other” revenue (primarily from Spectacles), it also reported a $40 million write-down in the third quarter from unsold specs.

However, the pins could help Coach in another area that Snap’s been touting lately—in-store visits. According to a Nielsen Buyer Insights study commissioned by Snap, Snapchatting households spend 39 percent more at retail stores than the national average. The results, which analyzed a year of debit and credit transactions with retailers, found that Snapchat users are more likely than others to try new products. The study also reported that more than two in five remember using the app before, during or after shopping, and a quarter of users said they’ve looked for Snapchat filters while shopping.

Luxury brands have traditionally been slower to adopt emerging technologies than other industries; Coach has been gradually experimenting. For 2016’s New York Fashion Week, the brand offered up its runway show in VR. Earlier this year, the company partnered with IMG, Simon Malls and Facebook to create a virtual reality experience at 20 Coach locations within Simon Malls.

Why it’s hot: Taking something so digital as a Snapcode into the physical world of retail is a risk on all accounts. However, this campaign will allow the digital persona and the real-life experience to meet and sing together in perfect harmony. I believe this is only the beginning of brands utilizing Snapcodes in the real world (as long as Snapchat continues to stay strong in its user base).

Wendy’s Hosts an AMA.. And It’s EPIC!

Wendy’s peeled back the curtains and gave the social media world a peek inside of their brains. They hosted an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on December 14th, the night before, they sent out a message on Twitter that mentioned that they would be hosting an open Q&A on Reddit.

They received a groundswell of positive feedback from their fans. They were asked tons of questions ranging from serious to humorous, and everything else in-between. The company gave a peak into what goes on behind-the-scenes with the people who run their Twitter account.

Fans were curious about everything from what Tweets were the teams’ favorites, to asking if they’ve ever gotten in trouble by their management for something that they’ve Tweeted out. This personalized approach to interacting with their fans gave a humanistic perspective to a huge, widely recognized social media brand.

Link To Reddit: Here

Why It’s Hot: While the social voice of Wendy’s is extremely distinct, and even snarky in nature, this provides a good example that human works. Fans have taken well to this informal, real interaction with one of the most popular social media accounts.

Facebook is using AI to spot users with suicidal thoughts and send them help

Facebook is using artificial intelligence to scan users’ posts for signs they’re having suicidal thoughts. When it finds someone that could be in danger, the company flags the post to human moderators who respond by sending the user resources on mental health, or, in more urgent cases, contacting first-responders who can try to find the individual.

The social network has been testing the tool for months in the US, but is now rolling out the program to other countries. The tool won’t be active in any European Union nations, where data protection laws prevent companies from profiling users in this way.

In a Facebook post, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he hoped the tool would remind people that AI is “helping save peoples’ lives today.” He added that in the last month alone, the software had helped Facebook flag cases to first responders more than 100 times. “If we can use AI to help people be there for their family and friends, that’s an important and positive step forward,” wrote Zuckerberg.

Despite this emphasis on the power of AI, Facebook isn’t providing many details on how the tool actually judges who is in danger. The company says the program has been trained on posts and messages flagged by human users in the past, and looks for telltale signs, like comments asking users “are you ok?” or “can I help?” The technology also examines live streams, identifying parts of a video that have more than the usual number of comments, reactions, or user reports. It’s the human moderators that will do the crucial work of assessing each case the AI flags and responding.

Although this human element should not be overlooked, research suggests AI can be a useful tool in identifying mental health problems. One recent study used machine learning to predict whether or not individuals would attempt suicide within the next two years with an 80 to 90 percent accuracy. However, the research only examined data from people who had been admitted to a hospital after self-harming, and wide-scale studies on individuals more representative of the general population are yet to be published.

Some may also be worried about the privacy implications of Facebook — a company that has previously worked with surveillance agencies like the NSA — examining user data to make such sensitive judgements. The company’s chief security officer Alex Stamos addressed these concerns on Twitter, saying that the “creepy/scary/malicious use of AI will be a risk forever,” which was why it was important to weigh “data use versus utility.”

However, TechCrunch writer Josh Constine noted that he’d asked Facebook how the company would prevent the misuse of this AI system and was given no response. We’ve reached out to the company to find out more information.

Source: The Verge

Why it’s hot:

  • Artificial Intelligence in marketing is gaining popularity across many brands, however Facebook is utilizing this technology to help people in need.
  • Facebook is notorious for keeping user’s data under lock and key, however, they are taking a look into their user’s life by analyzing their posts and actions.

Amazon Alexa for Business

Amazon announced that they will begin to sell voice-activated tools for the work place, bringing the convenience of voice to the office. The hope is that workers will begin shouting things such as, “Alexa, print my spreadsheet” or “schedule a meeting for me”
New Amazon Echo devices on display in front of the Seattle Space Needle during a promotional event in Seattle on Sept. 27.

Tired of dialing in the conference ID? Just ask Alexa to do it! By simply saying, “Alexa, start the meeting” the software will automatically connect you to the meeting. Additionally, Alexa for Business will be able to use calendars and contact information associated with Microsoft Exchange.

Source: Entrepreneur 

Why It’s Hot: This could be the start of the revolution of transforming the workplace.

Chrome Extension Turns Abusive Facebook and Twitter Comments Positive

Lionsgate’s movie Wonder (which premieres on Friday) tells the story of August Pullman, a boy who was born with facial differences and looks different from his classmates. Classmates bully him as he enters fifth grade at his first mainstream school. T0 make that message relatable online, the film studio created a clever way to filter content and show how much better the world would be without hurtful comments.

Working with Alphabet’s tech incubator Jigsaw, which focuses on creating “tools to make the world safer,” and MediaMonks, Lionsgate built the desktop Choose Kindness Chrome extension,  which scrapes toxic comments and replaces them with messages of kindness. The tool was created with Jigsaw’s Perspective technology that uses machine learning to suss out questionable content. The extension plugs into Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and works on copy within posts and comments.

The extension has three levels of moderation: Kind, kinder and kindest. When it finds an abusive word, the extension automatically places a banner with copy like “Kindness is contagious” over the content. Users who mouse over the content have the option to either reveal the text or keep it hidden.

Here’s an example of how the extension targets Facebook comments.

The Chrome extension is part of a bigger campaign Lionsgate is launching today for World Kindness Day, which also includes Snapchat ads and social components.

“Wonder is such a contagiously happy film,” said Evan Fisk, vp of digital marketing at Lionsgate. “We wanted to bring some of that positivity and kindness to the social feeds we scroll through all day.”

Source: AdWeek

Why it’s hot:

  • Advertising via commercials, billboards or simple social media posts won’t cut it any more for big brands. The need to innovate marketing efforts while still relating to the product or service at hand is a constant struggle for us all. Lionsgate is showing yet another way that brands can extend their message beyond traditional media avenues and make a bigger impact.

280 Characters—Have At It!

It’s official—We all have 280 characters now! Let some users rejoice, and others complain.

The update is now public for all users to enjoy/disdain. For those who oppose Twitter’s decision… don’t fret just yet. Twitter says that when the 280 character limit trial went out to a select few, they found that “people Tweeted below 140 most of the time and the brevity of Twitter remained.” In other words, people seem to continue to share their messages in short, concise ways.

Twitter’s decision to increase the character count was initiated because users’ who post in certain languages had to condense their messages more than others. There is some valid data to back up their decision; According to their research, 9% of Tweets in English hit the character limit—after addition of extra characters, that number shrunk to 1%.

Some believe that 280 characters may not change the function of Twitter, it could just make things easier. After analyzing the data from the trial, Twitter states that only 5% of Tweets that were sent out used more than 140 characters and only 2% went over 190 characters.

Source: Twitter’s Blog

Why It’s Hot: While Twitter’s data shows that the way that users are posting on the platform hasn’t changed much during the trial period, only time will tell how this may develop down the line. Perhaps users’ habits will evolve with this update, motivating them to share more detailed messages—something they haven’t been able to do since Twitter’s inception in 2006. It will be interesting to see how brands will alter their strategies, if at all.

Facebook says its ad transparency features will go live next month

In response to concerns that Russia used Facebook ads in an attempt to influence last year’s presidential election, the social network has said it will increase transparency by allowing anyone to see any ad run by any organization.

Now it’s releasing a few more details about its plans, like the fact that the new transparency features are expected to go live next month. Once they do, when you’re looking at a Facebook Page, you should be able to click “View Ads” and bring up all the ads that Page is currently running. (You can see an example of a View Ads page at the end of this post.)

Facebook says it’s starting out with a test in Canada. When the feature expands to the United States, it’s also supposed to include an archive of ads related to federal elections, covering “a rolling four-year period” that starts at the launch of the archive. And it will include additional information like the total and average amounts spent on ads, the number of impressions an ad received and the demographics that were targeted.

The company also says political advertisers will have to verify their identity, their location and the fact that their ad is election-related. The ads will come with a “paid for by” message that you can click on for more information. And Facebook says it’s building machine learning tools so that it can find the political advertisers who don’t identify themselves.

 Facebook View Ads

Will most Facebook users take advantage of these capabilities? Maybe not, but vice president of Ads Rob Goldman writes, “Transparency helps everyone, especially political watchdog groups and reporters, keep advertisers accountable for who they say they are and what they say to different groups.”

This news comes as Congress considers a bipartisan bill proposing new regulations for online ads, and shortly after Twitter announced some similar transparency measures.

Source: TechCrunch

Why it’s hot:

  • Facebook closely guards its data on Facebook users and pages on the platform. This would allow us to closely monitor what ads competitors are running on the platform and have insight into their strategies that were previously hidden.
  • Although any user will have access to this information, it is unlikely that the every day Facebook user will take the steps to view this tab on business’ Facebook page.

Starbucks Holiday Cups Are Out…

…lets see how offended the internet gets with this one!

All kidding aside, Starbucks just released their holiday cups for 2017, and they’re pretty cool! The cups are designed for customers to color on and put their own unique twist on them. Although we can’t give them all of the credit for this one – the coffee connoisseur took this concept from their customers and workers who frequently draw their own designs on its cups.

Why It’s Hot: C’mon, this just screams UGC. Although this is nothing new for the brand as they frequently use content from their fans, this new design is sure to be shared millions of times over.


Netflix’s Latest Stranger Things Treat

Hawkins Power and Light plays a pivotal role Netflix’s Stranger Things, and in anticipation of the release of the show’s second season this week, the streaming platform unveiled a sneaky new ad campaign for the fictional company.

Billboards and other out-of-home work from creative shop Doner L.A. touting Hawkins Power and Light have popped up in Los Angeles and New York. The tagline, “Flipping the Switch for a Brighter Tomorrow,” is perfect for the bland yet sinister corporation.

The campaign features a working 1-800 number that functions much like a regular corporate 1-800 number—soothing on-hold music, menu directions to follow, automated responses—until there’s a crackling sound similar to something you might hear in Stranger Things.

Fans who are excited for the new season found the campaign and posted about it on Twitter and Reddit. One fan,  recorded the 1-800 number and uploaded the recording to Soundcloud (see below).

Further information about the campaign was not immediately available, as representatives for Netflix did not respond to a request for comment. Doner L.A. declined to comment.

 Source: AdWeek
Why It’s Hot: Netflix has been pushing the envelope with unique advertising methods, specifically for their Stranger Things show. This advertisement will only be noticed by true fans of the series and will serve as a fun easter egg for the target audience.

Now You Can Order Food with Facebook

Ordering food for takeout or delivery is supposed to be simple. That’s the point. But somehow it’s gotten complicated. First you need to decide what to eat, then you have to sift through a bunch of options and services.

Today, we’re taking the time out of finding what you want to eat by officially launching the ability to order food for pick-up or delivery, directly on Facebook. People already go to Facebook to figure out what to eat by reading about nearby restaurants, and seeing what their friends say about them. So, we’re making it even easier.

Facebook combines options from a number of food ordering services like EatStreet, Delivery.com, DoorDash, ChowNow and Olo, as well as restaurants like Jack in the Box, Five Guys, Papa John’s, and Panera, so you don’t have to search through multiple places to find what you’re looking for. From local spots to national chains, Facebook connects you with old favorites and new discoveries in just a few taps. You can even check out what your friends have to say about a restaurant before you order your food.

You can browse restaurants nearby by visiting the Order Food section in the Explore menu. On this page, you can browse food options and select Start Order when you’ve found what you’re looking for. If the restaurant you want to order from offers takeout or delivery with multiple services, you can select which service you’d like to use. For example, if you have an account with Delivery.com, you can easily order with your existing login. If you don’t have an account with that service, you can quickly and easily sign up, without leaving the Facebook app.

We’ve been testing this since last year, and after responding to feedback and adding more partners, we’re rolling out everywhere in the US on iOS, Android and desktop.


Why its hot?

Social listening identified a trend among fans, the pains of ordering food! This Mobile integration will allowing brands to reach fans the moment they are making a decision AND make it even easier for them to pick and order without having to leave the facebook app/social scrolling.

Meet Sophia: The World’s First Robotic Citizen

Meet Sophia – the world’s first robotic citizen. On Wednesday, Sophia took the stage at the Future Investment Initiative where she addressed hundreds of delegates. She has been granted citizenship, the first of it’s kind of a robot, in Saudi Arabia.

Hanson Robotics, a company based in Hong Kong, is responsible for building Sophia. While at the event, they gave a presentation that displayed her immense capacity for human expression.

When talking about becoming the world’s first robotic citizen, Sophia said, “I am very honored and proud for this unique distinction. This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.”

Not only does Sophia have voice inflection while speaking, but she is also able to display facial expressions. She also wants to make the world a better place, she states that she wants to use artificial intelligence to “help humans live a better life” and that she will do as much as she can to make the world a better place.

Source: Business Insider

Why It’s Hot:
Robots. Are. Taking. Over!!!! All kidding aside, this is a huge stride for robotics and artificial intelligence.

Bud Light Wants Millenials To “Drink With Their Face”

What if a real-life commercial looked, sounded and felt like an SNL skit? It’s happened before, both purposely and accidentally, and it’s happening now in the U.K. with a new Bud Light ad.

The AB InBev brand, which launched there earlier this year, parodies a bunch of hipster, millennial-targeted ad tropes with a musical number that features sun-drenched beaches (in England?) and beautiful “friends” enjoying their bohemian lives. Even a pet rabbit, inexplicably used as a prop, is “an 8 out of 10” on the looks scale, the commercial says.

It’s bull’s-eye self-aware marketing.

The ongoing campaign, dubbed “Keep it Bud Light,” recently teased a line of branded “leisurewear” consisting of tube socks, shower shoes, scarves and cross-body bags. AB, whose execs say the apparel and accessories are not a joke, calls the “fashionable” product a lighthearted take on streetwear.

Its bright-blue logo-heavy kimonos make an appearance in the new 30-second spot, from Wieden + Kennedy London, that sings about its “super-cool girl with aspirational friends, lifestyle ad with Bud Light at the end.” There’s an identifiable dash of Lonely Planet throughout, especially when the song says: “Follow your heart, those pants are quite tight/Drink with your face, and keep it Bud Light.”

As part of the brand’s across-the-pond push, the ad will air on TV and in cinemas, with digital versions planned that will star the cast of the hero spot. AB plans a “significant” spend on digital via Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube through the end of the year.

The ad aims to give Bud Light “a distinctive voice in the U.K. beer world,” Ray Shaughnessy, the agency’s creative director, said in a statement. “We’ve tried to make it clear that this is a co-ed beer brand having a laugh because—wait for it—turns out both men and women enjoy beer as well as a chuckle.”

Why it’s hot:

  • An upcoming trend in advertising is this satirical style of commercial that pokes fun of the industry while managing to break through. Bud Light succeeded in making a commercial worthy of going viral that still featured their product and branding prominently.
  • Bud Light released their athlesiure line in the UK a few weeks ago, however it seemed off-brand and like they didn’t quite understand their market. Turns out this clothing line directly relates to this series of commercials that features the brand breaking through the fourth wall so to speak. If Bud Light reversed the order of these activations it easily could have had a higher impact and better relevance with the audience.

Burger King Fights Bullying

In their latest ad, Burger King speaks out against bullying in an effort to bring awareness to National Bullying Month which takes place in October.

The ad documents a real-life social experiment where they hired teenage actors who were supposed to portray bullies, picking on their target in public. Burger King set up hidden cameras to capture real-life customers’ reactions to the teens bullying their “friend”. The customers that were shown during this phase of the commercial look shocked, but don’t speak up. They continue to enjoy their meals as the teen is getting bullied and picked on by his peers.

Next, they showed what it looks like to “bully” a Whopper Jr. They had their cooks “punch” the Whopper, wrap it up and serve it to customers. Each customer with a burger that came out sub-par, brought their smashed burger to the cashier’s attention. The cashier responds, “is your burger bullied” – the customers were thrown off guard, not understanding the context of what was happening.

They flash two statistics onto the screen; “90% of customers reported the bullied Whopper Jr,” while only “12% of customers stood up to the High School Jr. being bullied.” The ad demonstrates that bystanders to bullying find it easier to not get involved, than to stick up for the person who is being bullied.

As the ad concludes, two different customers are shown as “heroes” as they go up to the teen who is being bullied, and set his peers straight. One goes as far as to give his testament as to why he decided to stick up for the kid being bullied, noting that he has been in his position before. The last image to appear on the screen says, “Help stop bullying at nobully.org”

Why Its Hot:
Burger King wins with this one, as far as social-purpose advertising goes. Not only do they stand up for a cause that needs to spoken up for much more from large brands, they do it well. The end user feels as though they are getting something from watching this ad, and the timeline of the events hooks them on to watch until the end.

Google Express Just Upped Their Game

A few years ago, the idea that Target and Walmart would publicly chat about having the same strategy would have seemed odd—the retail titans are notoriously tight-lipped about their tactics, particularly when it comes to giving the other intel on what they’re doing.

But as Amazon’s dominance continues to grow, stealing shoppers away from brands’ ecommerce sites, an intriguing partnership today with Google offers a look at how retailers could be more willing to put their differences aside and work together to fend off Amazon’s encroaching competition. While Google said that it will keep the two partnerships separate from a data-sharing perspective, the deals show how major retailers are willing to back the same initiatives for the sake of shaking off Amazon.

“These partnerships aren’t about voice—they’re really more symbolic of the fact that major retailers are willing to partner with Google in the fight against Amazon,” said Cooper Smith, director of Amazon research at L2. “Brands and retailers need to scale their audiences in order to compete against Amazon online, and Google can offer them that. We’re in the beginning stages of what eventually could be a legitimate alternative to Amazon.”

Today Target announced that it’s making its inventory available on Google Express, the shopping service that also counts Costco, Kohl’s and Walgreens as clients. Consumers will also be able to ask Google Assistant, which is plugged into its Google Home devices, to order products.

By next year, shoppers that use Target’s credit card to purchase items will save 5 percent on orders from Google Express. The retailer also plans to build out a capability that allows consumers to link their Target.com accounts to Google to receive personalized product recommendations.

In August, Walmart announced a similar voice deal with Google that allows consumers to purchase “hundreds of thousands of items” by linking a website account to Google Assistant. Over time, Google’s technology can remember which products, sizes and flavors someone regularly buys to make check out a bit faster.

Now, Walmart and Target will somewhat compete on terms—or keywords—that consumers order from Google. For example, if someone asks Google Home to order detergent and they shop from Target more frequently than Walmart, Google will surface product recommendations from Target.

“This is clearly a chain reaction to the Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods,” said Mario Natarelli, managing partner at MBLM. “Google’s expertise founded around search gives them a profound understanding of consumer intent—they probably know more about what people are specifically searching for than any other company. Finding ways to bridge that with what Walmart or Target understands around satisfying demand seems like a potentially powerful partnership.”

Source: AdWeek

Why It’s Hot
I guess it truly is Amazon against the world… Who would have thought that two major competitors would ever join forces, let alone allow their products to be sold on the same platform. Target joins Walmart as one of the major retailers on Google’s e-Commerce store, Google Express, that allows shoppers to access a variety of products all in one place, ala-Amazon. Both retail giants will have their products on the website, where shoppers can shop right from their Google Home devices. This is sure to be an interesting battle going forward, as Google has more access to an unlimited amount of data surrounding keywords and how users shop than any other company.

Upgrade Your Flight with VR

Flying isn’t what it used to be, so more people opt for budget airlines. They will (usually) get where you need to go, but you also know not to expect a pleasant experience. Will your luggage be small enough for the cabin, or will you have to pay an exorbitant rate to check it?

And forget food. If you get that, you got lucky.

With this in mind, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, part of the Air France-KLM family, launched the KLM Flight Upgrader, a virtual reality experience that (almost) enables you to escape your budget flight … without paying the brand-name airline cost.

Distributed at no cost to people waiting to board budget flights for JFK New York, the KLM Flight Upgrader makes a compelling promise: From your paper-thin seat, spend hours holding the app to your face and enjoying everything a KLM flight would have offered you—entertainment, newspapers and the enjoyment of watching a “caring crew” issue a proper meal you can only hope to taste. (Toss a peanut into your mouth. Salt is salt, right?)

“Just pop this thing on your head and you can use virtual reality to escape the real reality of your flight,” a narrator brightly tells us.

Passengers can spend as much time aboard the virtual flight as they wish, and can watch either the full episode of a show, or 10 minutes of a blockbuster movie. Better yet, peer down to scope the leg room. Don’t kick, though.

This last illustrates the masochism of the concept, which in some ways eclipses its cleverness. KLM never addresses why people take budget flights in the first place: Flights are expensive, even as the perks begin to vanish; a budget airline at least assures you get somewhere without having to skip a mortgage payment. On a recent trip, I took a budget international flight that cost around $500. KLM’s sister brand Air France proposed upwards of $3,000.

Faced with this dissonance, it’s too easy to pretend people opt to suffer through budget flights because they simply don’t know how much better an established brand experience will be. Distribution of the Flight Upgrader was relatively small, so user impact is probably the least relevant part of this story, but we’re not convinced it did much more than rub salt in the wound.

Not that that matters. KLM isn’t stupid; this is a promotional play, and it’s hedging bets in the budget arena. Air France recently shared news of its own budget offering: Joon, targeted to younger users and blessed with the improbable tagline, “Also an airline.”

In any event, users looking to escape some future airborne reality (or simply watch a free TV show) can download the KLM Flight Upgrader app from Google Play and the App Store, then use their own VR headset to make the magic happen. A limited quantity of KLM cardboard headsets—not so subtly labeled “Do not disturb—pretending to fly KLM”—are still available and can be requested free of charge on the website.

Why it’s hot:

  • VR continues to grow in popularity, but it still is not the norm for advertising especially in the transportation space. KLM does a great job at targeting their competitors and showing exactly how they are a better choice for travelers.