What does food sound like?


Indian food ordering and delivery platform Swiggy challenged people to use Instagram voice notes to create waveforms in the shape of different food items.

They promised a year’s worth of food vouchers to Instagram users who could best replicate various foods from kebab skewers to pancakes in their voice notes. All in all, Swiggy set five daily challenges and handed out 50 food vouchers to competition entrants each day.

To help users with the Voice of Hunger challenge, the brand handed out hints about which sounds created which shapes with all Swiggy food deliveries.

In addition to direct messaging their competition entry on Instagram, Swiggy also encouraged people to upload videos of themselves recreating a food shape and tag Swiggy.

Why its hot? (aside from the clever use of voice notes)
Millions of people are on the Internet wasting their time creating random content. Swiggy’s simply channeled this behavior to create viral content.

 

Source: Contagious

 

 

Bring Your Own Buns to Popeye’s

Come to Popeye’s BBBQ…the extra B stands for BYOBB. What’s that extra B for? Bun

The fried chicken chain, which temporarily discontinued its wildly popular sandwich last month after running out of ingredients, suggested in a tweet on Thursday that customers simply buy a three-piece chicken tender, bring their own pickles and bun, and assemble the sandwich themselves. 

The tweet, which is both a joke and no laughing matter, reads: “Try our new BYOB! It’s basically The Sandwich! Only no mayo. Or pickles. And you bring your own bun… Really it’s just three tenders…” In the video included in the tweet, people put slipshod sandwiches together with hamburger buns and, disturbingly, a hot dog bun.

https://twitter.com/AktionAce/status/1172149020275425280

Why its hot

Popeye’s chicken sandwich is so popular they’ve run out, and now they’re trying to fill the gap before, I guess, they get more chicken sandwiches. How about turn in another brand’s chicken sandwich for a coupon for a free Popeye’s item? Just a thought

Victoria’s Secret Too Slow to Change

Victoria’s Secret, founded with the idea men should feel more comfortable shopping for the women in their lives, is trying to reframe itself as a brand that’s actually made with female customers in mind. But that’s a tough message to deliver when most of your management is male

Victoria’s Secret has been trying to reconnect with customers who’ve increasingly turned to rivals that embrace female empowerment and diverse body types, like Aerie and ThirdLove, rather than Victoria’s Secret’s traditionally sexy and skinny aesthetic. That has hit comparable sales, a key retail metric, which have dropped for five straight quarters at the underwear chain.

Subs: Victoria's Secret Fashion Show finale Paris 2016

To be sure, it has made some steps toward an overhaul: The company said in May it would pull its fashion show from network television after 23 years. Ed Razek, who crafted the chain’s annual event with the defining image of lingerie-clad models with angel wings, left over the summer. Earlier this year, activist investor Barington Capital Group LP pushed for changes and successfully nominated two new women to the board, bringing the share of female directors to more than 40 percent

 

Russell James And Ed Razek Host U.S. Book Launch Of "Backstage Secrets By Russell James"

Why it’s hot?

It’s hard to change. It’s especially hard when you as brand have done a good job of culturally defining a persona that everyone wanted to become or be with. In world where differentiation is key was it a bad decision for VS to remain their sexy image? How could they’ve remained loyal to their roots while also becoming the change agent for defining what “sexy” means? How does a company make the decision to throw away the incumbent leadership (predominantly male) for a fresh perspective (female leadership)?

 

the chicken wars still rage…

The chicken wars. If you thought they were over, think again. Refresher – Popeyes introduced a new chicken sandwich, it sold out nationwide in just two weeks, and left people craving its fried goodness. Realizing it clearly had grabbed a share of the attention economy, Popeyes didn’t just simply let things be. Instead, it is now urging people to “bring your own bun” and make a chicken sandwich out of three chicken tenders, if you can’t wait for it to reload its sandwich supply.

Why it’s hot:

When you have momentum, ride the wave. Popeyes itself even acknowledges this isn’t ideal, but at least it gives people an idea and a reason to still come into Popeyes, even if the item they wanted isn’t currently available.

[Source]

‘People who will change the world’: why Vice Media is investing in the future of influencers

ARTICLE LINK
THE WORLD IS CHANGING – MEDIA IS CHANGING.
With so much content available in the today, it’s hard to be a publisher.  The models that financed these massive organizations are (no more) changing.

Needless to say you can’t sell print advertising like you used to and you can’t really even sell enough of O&O digital traffic compared to social media giants.

Ex. In an new initiative between Vox Media and NBC called ‘Concert’, 40 sites bundled together offer advertisers 122 million unique users each month – Facebook, a single entity – 2.2 billion in April.

Branded content sales/production have provided a new revenue source, but oftentimes, much of the large media budgets meant to push the content, goes to driving engagement on social.  That’s where kids get their news/content these days anyway. 

So can publishers sell their clout/influence even? Not really – many brands aren’t cool/known by Gen-Z even. 

Why it’s hot?
Soo Julian … what’s your point? My point is that it’s all about the platform and personalities – not the publisher’s brand/voice.  Which is why this move is smart by VICE. By leveraging their global network, production expertise, and still large audience, VICE can begin to be a seen as/develop a platform for really cool personalities (influencers) and their perspectives.

Let’s see if they can build this past one Singapore tourism board activation.

Amazon will start letting random people provide Alexa answers

Amazon is rolling out a new program to let anybody provide answers to questions that Alexa is unable to answer.

Alexa Answers is meant to expand the smart digital assistant’s knowledge base to keep it competitive with the Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. For two years in a row, Google’s assistant has easily won an 800-question test conducted by Loup Ventures, with Alexa coming in third place. It’s particularly hard for Amazon to compete against Google, which can leverage years of information collected and organized for its search engine.

The system will use game mechanics to engage users — people will be able to earn “points” each time the assistant shares one of their answers.

But as other platforms such as FacebookGoogle and Reddit have discovered, user-generated content is open to mischief and propaganda. It’s easy to imagine the kinds of answers somebody might submit for questions about Donald Trump or measles vaccines, for instance.

Amazon told Fast Company that it’s relying on a combination of algorithms and human editors to help vet responses and hoping that a system of user up and down votes will weed out mischief-makers. But previous experiments with user-generated answers, such as Yahoo Answers and Quora, have never really taken off, so Amazon has a hard task ahead.

Why It’s Hot: This should increase the number or users interacting with Alexa, legitimizing it as a platform for brands to invest in.

Magic Leap transitions into healthcare AR

Augmented reality company Magic Leap, famous for putting elephant in the palm of your hand, has just signed an exclusive deal with Brain Lab, which supplies visualization and training software to surgeons. Through the partnership, Magic Leap will be able to render brain scans into 3D objects, which surgeons can interact with through its signature goggles. This can help surgeons physically simulate a surgery in order to ‘rehearse’ prior.

Health and wellness is one of five key areas that Magic Leap is targeting for its technology, along with mobility, entertainment, energy and water, and communications. 

Their goal is to integrate with a variety of health tech companies, so it can combine a spectrum of health data and render a full picture of a patient’s health based on bodily factors as well as social determinants. Using its AR technology, it could provide doctors with a dashboard-like experience that shows a record of a patient’s physical health as well as related social and environmental factors.

Currently, health companies are leveraging Magic Leap as a way of visualizing data, running simulations, and training professionals. One of their products, for example, measures brain health using a wearable device that tracks eye movement. Doctors using SyncThink can already review the results remotely, but the company uses Magic Leap’s platform to visualize findings, effectively allowing a faraway patient to appear right in front of a doctor.

At Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, teachers are already using the Magic Leap platform to simulate medical training. The company is also developing digital humans, avatars that look and behave like us. One day, these characters could be built into the platform to serve as educators or even medical cadavers.

Why it’s hot: For a company that was initially focused on utilizing AR and spatial computing to transform entertainment, it’s fascinating (and refreshing) to see companies like this applying their technology to the healthcare industry.

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/90398573/magic-leap-sees-a-bright-future-in-ar-health-care?partner=feedburner&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+fastcocreate%2Ffeed+%28Co.Create%29

Blurring the media lines, in a world where content is king

Dream Team, the fantasy football offshoot from U.K. tabloid The Sun, has had a retention problem. From one year to the next, the free-to-play game would have to reacquire two-thirds of its audience who signed up to play the previous year, which is typically around 1 million subscribers. As well as wasted effort, re-acquiring audiences costs more than retaining them.

To address this churn, Dream Team built a new content vertical including a newsletter and YouTube series around fantasy football last summer. Now it has begun to bear fruits: Dream Team retained 68% of last year’s customers this season, increasing annual audience retention rate 21% year-on-year, and won new branded content clients; however, the publisher was unwilling to share exactly how many people subscribed for the 2019 season.

“We are building a more franchise approach to content,” he said. “As many brands in the digital space find, bringing in audiences with content is easy, but digital content brands can struggle with loyalty and retention.”

After hearing that audiences wanted more fantasy football content — rather than generic football news content — at the start of the football season in August 2018, Dream Team also launched an email newsletter, Dream Team “Coach,” devised in part by Jimmy Lloyd, content development editor. The newsletter, written by football expert Nick Elliott, to add a more personal feel, goes out every Thursday and features tips and hints on which players are likely to play well that weekend for subscribers to switch around their fantasy football teams.

The newsletter now has over 1 million subscribers and an open rate of between 15% and 20%, according to Bearryman. The content is mostly self-contained content, so it doesn’t track click-through rates via links to external stories.

“That was the big shift and was a battle in many ways; people are used to using email a certain way,” said Bearryman. “We looked at Red Box [political newsletter from News UK’s subscription title, The Times of London] and what audiences want from email. Like other off-platform distribution, audiences don’t want to be thrown around.”

As an extension to the newsletter, in February, Dream Team launched “Coach TV” on YouTube, a weekly 20-minute chat show focused on football news. Videos typically get up to 20,000 YouTube views, last season had over 500,000 unique viewers. Over the course of 12 months, viewer retention rate doubled retention rate from 20% to 40%, according to Bearryman. Watch time on season two is over six minutes compared with three minutes last season.

Publishers like BuzzFeed are increasingly making series over one-off episodes in order to bring people back more regularly. It’s this regular viewing that attracts brand budgets too. The success of “Coach TV” was instrumental in signing bookmaker Betway to a season-long branded content campaign. As well as Betway badging alongside the Dream Team logo, the bookmaker gives exclusive betting odds and offers for the “Coach TV” audience. It’s a natural fit as 50% of Dream Team managers have an active betting account. The season-long campaign, exclusive to Dream Team rather than The Sun, cost £1.04 million ($1.27 million). According to Bearryman, the conversion rate of traffic referred to Betway is 2.5%, which compares favorably with Dream Team’s internal content conversion rates.

Over the last year, Dream Team itself has run between 10 and 12 other branded content campaigns across other sub-brands or franchises. One such sub-brand is “Hometown Glory,” a weekly show where former England football player Alex Scott takes other football players back to their hometown. Dream Team is currently in talks with two consumer goods brands for sponsorship for the season.

More franchises are in the works, according to Bearryman.

“We want to build other online sub-brands and franchises to become famous for and reach new audiences,” he said.

Why It’s Hot

A good example of the power Relationships built around common interests – authentically activated across channels, platforms and formats, and orchestrated over time.

Meet AGNES: A suit that helps you feel old.

AGNES (Age Gain Now Empathy System)

AGNES is a suit worn by students, product developers, designers, engineers, marketing, planners, architects, packaging engineers, and others to better understand the physical challenges associated with aging. Developed by AgeLab researchers and students, AGNES has been calibrated to approximate the motor, visual, flexibility, dexterity and strength of a person in their mid-70s. AGNES has been used in retail, public transportation, home, community, automobile, workplace and other environments.

The MIT AgeLab has homed in on one such paradox in particular: the profound mismatch between products built for older people and the products they actually want.

Only 20% of people who could benefit from hearing aids seek them out. Just 2% of those over 65 seek out personal emergency response technologies—the sorts of wearable devices that can call 911 with the push of a button—and many (perhaps even most) of those who do have them refuse to press the call button even after suffering a serious fall.

In every example, product designers thought they understood the demands of the older market, but underestimated how older consumers would flee any product giving off a whiff of “oldness.” After all, there can be no doubt that personal emergency response pendants are for “old people,” and as Pew has reported, only 35% of people 75 or older consider themselves “old.”

Why it’s hot: Tools like AGNES help us truly think differently about the needs of different people.

Soap lathering up social good

BECỌ, a social enterprise that makes environmentally-friendly toiletries, is asking businesses to hire more job applicants with disabilities.

Around 80% of BECỌ employees are either visually impaired or physically disadvantaged. However, according to the brand, 1.1 million disabled people are still struggling to find work in the UK.

To address this problem and incite change, BECỌ created the campaign #StealOurStaff that launched earlier this month. The brand turned the packaging of its soap products into resumes. Each soap box and label showcases the name, job role, skills and headshot of one of its employees accompanied with the hashtag #StealOurStaff. The products are currently available for purchase in Boots, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose – three major UK retailers.

BECỌ also also wrote an open letter that challenged employers to take a stand and change attitudes about hiring people with disabilities.

To promote the campaign, BECỌ created a video featuring its employees talking about their jobs. The video humorously lampooned traditional TV audio descriptions in ads.

Why it’s Hot:

This campaign is a win for the brand on all fronts: they’re able to sell product while touting their company’s core belief (plus, customers get to feel good by supporting them and buying). At a time when brands are trying to show customers they care, BECO is doing more than just talking about social good – social good is build into the fiber of their company.

Source

ChewIt: AR Becoming Truly Mobile

ChewIt is a lozenge-size, wireless, mouth-operated remote controlled by head and facial gestures; a truly hands-free AR experience.

(Basic hardware is integrated with flexible custom-made PCB, placed inside the 3D-printed casing, developed from a polylactic acid filament)

Pablo Gallego Cascón, a graduate student in the University of Auckland’s Augmented Human Lab, wanted to prototype a piece of assistive technology that “doesn’t draw the attention of others and doesn’t make [the user] feel weird.”

As of now, a paralyzed person might control a wheelchair by blowing or sipping air through a straw, but this tech would allow them to operate their wheelchair using gestures or movement of the device in their mouth, unseen or known by anyone but themselves.

The tech wouldn’t only be for impaired people but is also being developed to be used as a VR controller (because what would new tech be without adding a VR component). Other uses could include changing music while driving or riding a bike, etc. Basically a remote for when you need to be hands-free and eyes-free.

Why It’s Hot:

More than medical tech and more than another revolutionary VR experiment. The tech seems to be pretty universal in terms of who can use it and it’s wide range of capabilities. Two questions: 1. how would it tell the different between someone turning their head and giving it a command and 2. what if you swallow it?

Source

More on The Claw: How it’s Production Is Key to It’s Success (and Regulation Avoidance)

The Hot Sauce fascination with the success of White Claw can’t be ignored! To debate more of whether the claw is a fad or a new staple, we need to take a look into how its “brewed” (which it is!, brewed, that is) and how it’s formulation allows it to be subject to less regulation.

Rather than a spiked/vodka soda, a Claw does not originate as a spirit, and is instead brewed, like a beer (it also has a similar alcohol content to beer) which allows it to be sold with less regulation, especially in NY and other states with tougher spirit regulations and strong alcohol lobbying groups (MA, I’m looking at you!) But since it is not brewed with grain – the Claw uses sugar, which gets fermented fully into alcohol – the taste is milder and the output less caloric.

Why It’s Hot? 

Think of this as innovation, not a fad. Per our regulatory system, we can’t add small amounts of spirits to soda and sell it like beer, even if its alcohol content is 5% or less. This work around allows a preferred bar drink, especially to those who count calories, to be served up at our corner bodegas and local CVS’. The Claw’s the law and it’s here to stay.

An Insurance Company that Pre-Pays?

Australian insurer, National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA), is refunding customers that spend money to protect their homes from disaster by using claims data to identify homes at risk of flooding, storm damage and other disasters.

It invited people to download Safety Hub, a custom-built app, and rewarded them for carrying out home maintenance tasks that reduced the risk of catastrophic damage.

The app combined geographical data with risk profiles to tell people about personalized tasks that they could complete to lower the risk of damage to their homes.

Each time a task was completed, money was paid straight into the customer’s bank account. If the task required the services of a professional, NRMA would pay for that, too.

By giving customers authority over the safety of their home and rewarding them for completing checks, NRMA can not only reduce how much it must pay, it creates transparency. And giving people partial control over their safety can work to empower those in high-risk communities where they are more likely to suffer disasters.

Source: Contagious

Why it’s hot:

NRMA has the chance to create a new standard in insurance with this new initiative. While it saves the company money, it also demonstrates its commitment to its customers, to help them avoid disasters.

This is a good example of how a company leveraged its first-party data with geographical data to create a predictive model and help incentivize customers to avoid costly disasters.

A New Google Maps Feature Has Potential to Save Lives

In recognition of National Recovery Month, Google has released two new map-related tools aimed at both aiding those in recovery from drug addition and helping to make the life-saving drug Naloxone more accessible.

The centerpiece of the company’s effort is a new website, Recover Together, which seeks to centralize resources for those looking to overcome addiction.

A screenshot of the Naloxone Locator Tool.

The Recovery Locator Tool, as the name would suggest, is a Google Maps page specifically designed to help individuals find recovery resources near them. And the Naloxone Locator Tool is a Google Maps page that aims to assist those looking to acquire Naloxone — a drug that can reverse overdoses.

According to the press release, the initiative was launched based on the insight that people use Google on a daily basis to seek out information on addiction and recovery:

“[In] fact, just last month, we saw an all-time high in search interest for ‘rehab near me,’ ‘addiction treatment near me,’ and ‘how to help an addict.'”

While the aim is to help those searching for this info, Google has taken privacy into account and is assuring that visits to this website would not be associated with any specific users. Page views will be measured, but anonymized and only in the aggregate. What’s more, the company claims it will not use Naloxone-related searches to target ads.

Why It’s Hot

It’s great to see Google using their search data for good, not for profit. Providing these tools for those who are struggling to ask for help and turning to Google for anonymous advice is filling a critical need.

Source

Lebron James and the Case of the Taco Tuesdays

ESPN reported that on Wednesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied Lebron James’s application to trademark the phrase “Taco Tuesday,” explaining that it is “a commonplace term.” According to James’s spokesman, the denial was the desired result of the filing. The reason? “To ensure LeBron cannot be sued for any use of ‘Taco Tuesday.'”

During the NBA off-season, James began promoting Taco Tuesdays. In a video from his Instagram feed, he shows genuine enthusiasm for the event while he and his family wear Lebron-branded Taco Tuesday shirts, which can be purchased for upwards of $20 online.

The result of the U.S. Patent office’s denial is that anyone can profit from the phrase ‘Taco Tuesday’ without fear of copyright infringement.

Why it’s hot: 

1. MRM now has legal cover to shamelessly capitalize on “Taco Tuesdays”. Cigna Taco Tuesdays. USPS Taco Tuesdays. Honeywell Taco Tuesdays.

2. We live in an age where celebrity sway is so powerful that their passion alone can revitalize dead marketing tropes. Cardi B loves free stuff? Bring on Cardi B BOGO Day.

IPhone 11: The Device of Nightmares

Apple unveiled its new iPhone models on Tuesday — but while some tech fans applauded the new phones’ design and specifications and others weighed in on their pricing, another feature has caught the eye of trypophobia sufferers everywhere.

The Pro and Pro Max phones feature three camera lenses. And while the design is likely to appeal to photography fans, some social media users say it is triggering their trypophobia — an intense, irrational fear of small holes and clusters of circles and bumps, such as those in a honeycomb, lotus flower or bubble bath.

https://twitter.com/donbosconovitch/status/1171420789880446976?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1171420789880446976&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com%2F2019%2F09%2F11%2Fhealth%2Ftrypophobia-iphone-wellness-intl-scli%2Findex.html

https://twitter.com/HappyBday_RM/status/1171372600062332928?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1171372600062332928&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com%2F2019%2F09%2F11%2Fhealth%2Ftrypophobia-iphone-wellness-intl-scli%2Findex.html

Research into trypophobia is limited. Geoff Cole, a visual scientist at the University of Essex in the UK, told CNN that while it might seem “a little bit odd” for people to feel uncomfortable at the sight of holes clustered together, for people with trypophobia, the images can cause a range of reactions, with varying levels of severity.

According to research from the University of Essex, “the phobia arises in part because the inducing stimuli share basic visual characteristics with those of dangerous organisms.”

Trypophobic images generally display “high (color) contrast at mid-range spatial frequencies” — cycling from bright to dark three or four times per centimeter, seen at arm’s length — and have a “very unique spectral composition (brightness and contrast), something you don’t see in the natural world — except in poisonous animals,” Cole told CNN.

Cole said his research had shown that 16% of the UK’s adult population found the image of a lotus seed pod — considered a typical trypophobic image — “uncomfortable or repulsive to look at.”

Why it’s Hot:
Will the new phobia inducing camera stop Apple’s devout followers from taking advantage of all the movie quality options now at their disposal? Probably not

Is White Claw Really the Best Hard Seltzer?

Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer launched a campaign to promote a taste test challenge of competitors’ beverages. The Anheuser-Busch brand asked consumers to take a polygraph about which hard seltzer they prefer, with the chance to win $1,000.

Fifty people aged 25-39 took the polygraph test, and 46 participants said they prefer Bon & Viv’s Classic beverage over rival White Claw Pure, or said they like White Claw better and failed the polygraph. Just four people that said they prefer White Claw Pure passed the polygraph.

Why It’s Hot

White Claw might be driving market sales, but Bon & Viv is taking them on in a playful way to get hard seltzer drinkers to reconsider.

Source

Amble, a crowd-funded start-up, organizes monthlong retreats that pair creative professionals with budget-strapped national park conservancies.

Two-thirds of all full-time employees in the United States are currently experiencing job burnout, according to a recent Gallup study. While we aren’t great at taking advantage of earned time off — a whopping 768 million vacation days go to waste every year — a survey by the American Psychological Association last year found that even a two-week getaway is merely a stopgap as work-related stress returns before our tans have faded.

Yet a growing number of people are finding new ways to cultivate stability and avoid or overcome burnout. Three years ago, after nearly a decade at design agencies, Ilyssa Kyu, 30, quit her job to catch her breath and spend more time with her newborn daughter.

“I took a leap of faith and did my own sabbatical,” said Mrs. Kyu, who went on to not only bond with her daughter but also explore the trails and tribulations of national parks over five months. The results? A book, “Campfire Stories: Tales from America’s National Parks,” and the creation of a crowd-funded start-up, Amble. The company’s monthlong retreats pair creative professionals with budget-strapped park conservancies that support National Park Service projects, such as wildlife protection and trail rehabilitation.

For $1,400, which includes lodging, program benefits and some meals, these “Amble Creatives” devote 18 hours per week working on small yet transformative projects, be it redesigning a website or increasing audience engagement. The nonprofits return the favor with guided national park hikes, exclusive conservancy engagements and an America the Beautiful annual park pass.

Following sold-out retreats in Yosemite and the Sierra Foothills, Amble will host its third program from Oct. 7 to Nov. 10 in Glacier National Park, in partnership with the Glacier National Park Conservancy and Parks Project. Ten to 12 people are invited to join each program, and family-friendly accommodations have ranged from a 340-acre ranch in Mariposa, Calif., to a contemporary house on the Flathead River in Hungry Horse, Mont.

The participants range widely from web developers to marketing experts and craft makers; the latest Glacier National Park retreat accepted an artifact photographer from a science museum in San Francisco, as well as a Second City comedian-turned-social media strategist.

Source: NYTimes

Why It’s Hot

I’ve been re-targeted for this and other services like it all over the place. Is it a sign? Probably. A trend to watch? yep

IKEA and National Geographic take on “Bedroom Habits”

National Geographic and IKEA® come together to capture and document the human species in one of the most challenging habitats the world has ever seen — the bedroom. 
Ikea isn’t just about meatballs and couches. With its latest campaign, the Swedish retailer wants to be known as sleep experts, so it partnered with National Geographic on a series of films called ‘Bedroom Habitats.’

The faux-nature series looks to capture and document the human species in one of the most challenging habitats — the bedroom. The films cover everything from a comically small mattress to the unrelenting threat of clutter.

 Created by National Geographic with Wavemaker, the four videos in the series will highlight different consumers with varying sleep challenges. The first, ‘Small Bed Battle,’ shows a couple fighting for space in their tiny bed as a narrator gives a documentary style blow-by-blow of the epic struggle. A positive outcome surfaces after the couple goes to Ikea and gets a reasonably-sized bed.

The series will be hosted on a dedicated National Geographic Bedroom Habitats microsite, along with sleep challenges and shoppable solutions, and on National Geographic Instagram stories and its Facebook page. The series will also be supported with paid social and display units.

A complimentary campaign titled ‘Save Our Sleep,’ features the same nature documentary style, highlighting the issue that one-in-three Americans doesn’t get enough sleep, with Ikea offered up as the sleep hero.

Produced by Ogilvy, the ‘Planet Sleep’ television spot showcases how a comfortable bedroom sanctuary can help save endangered sleep through the implementation of simple and affordable sleep solutions, like new lower priced mattresses and ergonomic pillows. It starts by showing tired people in stressed out urban lifestyles. They only become happy as they realize that Ikea is the solution to their sleep problems.

“Trends show that a good night’s sleep might very well be going extinct. Globally, the average number of hours slept has fallen significantly in the past 50 years from eight hours to just a little over six,” said Joy Kelly, US media manager at Ikea. “Having conducted years of extensive research into how people live (and sleep) at home – and implementing those learnings to create a better everyday life – we know Ikea has the complete quality bedroom solutions that can help everyone achieve a good night’s sleep, so we wanted to be sure to showcase that.”

These quirky films mark the start of a larger, year-long campaign by Ikea to combat decreasing sleep levels in today’s society, positioning the retailer as one that is creating hope for the future of sleep.

“With the year-long ‘Save Our Sleep’ campaign, we hope to inspire consumers with simple, affordable bedroom solutions that will go a long way towards a better night sleep,” added Kelly. “Sleep-deprived consumers can be rest assured that Ikea is committed to saving our sleep in 2019 and beyond.”

ICYMI: Facebook has a dating app now

Image

(Sex) Dating apps are a big business – take Tinder for example:
– 5.2 million average subscribers in the Q2 2019, 1.5 million more than last year.
– Revenue for the three months ended June 30 rose about 18% to $498 million, above expectations of $489 million.

So what does one need for a successful dating app?
A unique take on dating (JSwipe, Hinge, Happn, Feeld), decent user experience and above all – liquidity (like any social network).

Initial twitter reaction is roasting Facebook, but that’s typical.

Why it’s hot: 
Similar to AirBnB expanding into experiences (for example) – this feels like a great example of a company making really smart use of it’s existing infrastructure and making a really smart service expansion.

Google search is getting personalized TV and movie recommendations

Google is adding personalized TV and movie recommendations to search, in hopes of solving the age old question: what do you actually want to watch?

Now, when you search Google for things like “good shows to watch” or “what to watch,” there’ll be a new carousel-style menu with TV shows and movies that you can swipe left and right on, similar to a dating app. Google says that it’ll be able to curate those suggestions based on what you search: ask for “horror movies from the ‘80s,” for example, and you’ll get recommendations specifically for that.

Why it’s hot: As more and more streaming services become available and more content is developed, there’ll be more of a need to sort through the shows and films.

Walmart and Nordstrom are opening stores that don’t sell anything

Both Walmart and Nordstrom are building physical stores where you can’t actually buy anything. These new types of stores are being built purely for shoppers to collect their online orders.

Walmart opened Walmart Pickup Point, a 40,000 square-foot prototype store outside of Chicago in Lincolnwood, Illinois, to cater to customers’ online pickups and deliveries. Customers drive up to the site to designated parking spots, and a Walmart worker will load up their trunk with their order. Customers are not allowed to go inside.

Nordstrom has been operating similar stores longer than Walmart. Nordstrom Local gives customers a place to make pickups and returns and take advantage of Nordstrom’s alteration and tailoring services. Nordstrom has three Local stores in Los Angeles and is slated to open its first two in New York City in September.

Nordstrom Local in Melrose doesn't carry inventory. Nordstrom has three Local stores in Los Angeles and is slated to open its first two in New York City in September.

Walmart's online grocery pickup location in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Why it’s hot: Even though, Nordstrom offers pickup at all its more than 100 full-priced locations around the United States, while Walmart is on track to offer pickup at more than 3,000 of its stores by the end of 2019, these stores are designed for shoppers who want to grab their stuff and go without waiting in checkout lines or interacting with sales workers on the floor. Picking up orders from stores can also be faster than home delivery.

SOURCE

 

Skyscrapers Are Solving All Of Our Problems

Vertical landfills and DNA storage towers: 6 wild concepts for tomorrow’s skyscrapers

Design journal eVolo has a yearly competition on skyscrapers for the most insane, innovative concepts that are aimed at solving today’s most pressing issues (climate change, refugees, data storage, trash etc.) However unrealistic, they are ambitious visions for how skyscrapers could be redesigned to do more and be better for the communities/world around them.

Methanescraper: A vertical landfill systems

Creature Ark: Biosphere Skyscraper: A home for endangered species that simulated their natural habitat

Borderland Skyscraper: A space for refugees to live and work, hoping to change their roles from guest to host, without feeling under the responsibility of any state authority or having to live under the daily-life rules imposed by any formal organisation.

2100 Singapore: Gene Storage Skyscraper: a skyscraper that stores data, formed from intertwined fiber optic cables that form a twisting, leaf-like building, the structure changes color based on how much data is being uploaded.

No Fun Allowed in Ikea

Ikea has repeatedly asked people not to play hide-and-seek in its stores. And yet people keep organizing massive, thousand-person games at Ikea.

 In 2014, a Belgian blogger named Elise De Rijck coordinated a hide-and-seek meet-up at her local Wilrijk store to celebrate her 30th birthday. She created a Facebook group and invited her friends—but soon, thousands of people had joined the group. Ikea Belgium got wind of the plan and instead of squashing it, offered Ikea’s full support, including extra staff and security to host the event. From the photos that still circulate online, the event was a riot, replete with people hiding under bins and beds all over the store.

Evidently, it was not a one-off thing for the people playing. Thanks to the organizational power of Facebook, Ikea hide-and-seekers have kept organizing—especially in the Netherlands it seems. By early 2015, 32,000 people had signed up on Facebook to play in Ikea’s Eindhoven store. Nineteen thousand people signed up for a game in Amsterdam, while 12,000 signed up for a game in Utrecht. While it’s unclear how many of these games actually occurred, Ikea hide-and-seek has become a *thing*, as evidenced by countless YouTube videos where “adults” are sneaking around to play unofficially.

Just this week, authorities in Glasgow foiled a new plan for a 3,000-person game in the Scottish city’s Ikea store. Employees at the local Ikea spotted the plan on Facebook and called the police, who turned away the would-be gamesters. An Ikea spokesperson told The Scotsman, “We need to make sure people are safe, and that’s hard if we don’t know where they are.

Why Its Hot

Ikea’s crackdown on hide-and-seek makes sense. But at the same time, it’s hard not to see the phenomenon as a potential opportunity for the company, which has been working desperately to reinvent itself, rethinking its store designs and opening smaller urban stores that are really just a showroom for digital orders. No, it probably truly isn’t safe to play guerilla-style games at a store that sells heavy furniture. Then again, Ikea has thousands of people excited about driving to the very suburban box stores it wants people to visit. Isn’t that a potential opportunity, rather than a problem?

a billboard you can plant…

Working with the Royal Botanic Gardens (the UK “authority on plant science”), Herbal Essences recently created “billboards” featuring leaves you could pull off, that contained wildflower seeds you could plant at home. The idea was to grow more wildflowers to nurture London’s endangered butterfly community, since butterflies are “major pollinators”, like bees.

Why it’s hot:

It’s such a simple way to build meaningful relationships. Going beyond just being an ad, it gives something tangible to each person, with an end benefit that helps all Londoners (and really the world) at large. And it’s something anyone passing by can experience, giving it the kind of real-world effect few “ads” ever truly have.

[Source]

Hotelbnb

Hotel Honduras Maya was struggling as a result of Airbnb dominating the traveller market.
The hotel worked to reclaim a portion of the market by redesigning a handful of its rooms to resemble Airbnb properties and then listing them on Airbnb’s website. Each room was allocated to a member of Hotel Honduras Maya’s service staff, who posed as Airbnb hosts on the platform. Anger and shock turned to delight as unsuspecting guests arrived and found that they would be getting all the amenities and services of a hotel, for the price of a spare room.

Why it’s hot?
Delighted the customers by misleading them
The attention to detail paid to replicating the look and feel of Airbnb rooms served as a pleasant surprise to guests who possibly held negative perceptions of hotel rooms, and they shared this surprise on social media, producing plenty of user-generated content. There aren’t many instances in which it’s a good idea to mislead your customers, but by waiting to reveal the truth to its guests upon their arrival at the hotel, the brand showed that it could replicate the Airbnb experience and then offer so much more for the same price.

If you can’t beat them, join them
The problem the hotel was faced with is an industry-wide issue, one that reflects a cultural shift in how we travel and what we look for in holiday accommodation. Rather than hope for another change in culture that brought customers back to hotels, Honduras Maya went directly to the customers, positioning itself exactly where its target audience was already active.

 

Doctors are now prescribing houseplants to help treat anxiety and depression

The Cornbrook Medical Practice in Manchester, England, is one of the first to prescribe patients greenery to help treat anxiety and depression.

It’s based on the idea that being around nature—even something as simple as a single plant—can have health benefits. The office, which grows herbs like lemon balm and catmint on-site, also invites patients to later come back to garden with others. “There’s evidence that people who are socially isolated have worse health outcomes,” says Jon Ross, director of Sow the City, a local nonprofit that works with doctors and hospitals to add horticultural therapy. “We provide a kind of community project within the [doctor’s office] so that people can get together and do the food growing and the gardening together with other patients.”

While the idea of prescribing a plant is new, the nonprofit has been working with healthcare providers on gardening for a couple of years. At a hospital treating long-term patients with mental illness, for example, it helped establish a program called “Hospital Beds” that adds raised vegetable beds for patients on the hospital grounds so the patients have the benefit of spending time outside and socializing.

When setting up a new program at clinics, the nonprofit works with doctors and patients to decide what type of garden makes sense—a vegetable garden or just a place to relax—and then runs sessions to train patients on gardening. The herbs that doctor’s offices are prescribing are easy to care for. “We try and make it as easy as possible, and we set it up so that the plants are healthy to start with, and we train them on how to look after them,” he says.

Why it’s hot: It’s interesting (and inspiring) to see healthcare professionals continue to think beyond medication to treat mental health conditions.

Source: FastCo

32-Year-Old Raises $10 Million Series B To Lower Hospital Readmission Rates With Mobile Patient Management

“Chronic disease continues to drive up healthcare costs and is the leading cause of hospital readmissions. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is becoming a fundamental tool for decreasing readmissions, improving outcomes, and reducing the overall cost of care. Hoboken, N.J.-based HRS provides an RPM platform that allows health systems and home care agencies to reduce hospital readmission rates by up to 80% while improving patient and caregiver satisfaction.”

Why it’s hot: 
At MRM we know full well the complicated nature of the healthcare industry, but huge opportunities lie in the intersection of technology and health (Duh).

I really like this product because while most RPM products are dependent on hardware, ‘Health Recovery Solutions’ is mostly focused on software that can run on most devices.

The Coke Challenge… Kind of

It’s a testament to the staying power of the Pepsi Challenge —first introduced in 1975—that random pedestrians aren’t freaked out by bubbly strangers asking them to eat unlabeled food. Instead, the offer evokes a giddiness at being selected for such an important task.

So the people chosen for a recent “Coke Challenge” were understandably intrigued, even excited at the prospect of learning a bit more about their own tastes. Instead, they got a brush with death.

The “coke” in this case was, of course, cocaine—one baggie filled with pure powder, and the other containing cocaine laced with enough fentanyl to kill anyone who snorted it. Cocaine is increasingly being cut with the synthetic opioid to increase its effects, but that is driving overdose deaths. In 2017, the CDC attributed more than 7,500 deaths to cocaine laced with fentanyl or other synthetic opioids.

Fentanyl tampering can’t be detected by sight, smell, or taste, so recreational drug users take a risk every time. They’re also in more danger than regular drug users, because they typically have no tolerance to opioids.

Like the real Pepsi Challenge, though, the head-to-head comparison was a marketing tactic, created by DanceSafe, a U.S.-based non-profit that sells fentanyl test strips they say can detect the presence of the drug. The organization’s focus is on safety and education in the electronic dance community and is known for bringing adulterant screeners to raves that can check for unexpected tampering. DanceSafe is neither for or against drug use, so there’s no judgment in the campaign, just a bit of humor, evident in the tagline, “Know before you blow.”

Rather than taking a staunch anti-drug approach, the campaign focuses on reducing potential harm to people who choose to use recreational drugs. The video of the challenge was released in time for International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31.

Why it’s Hot:

Sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel – you just need to re-frame it (re-spoke it? re-mount it? cars, Idk). Part of what makes this execution so relevant is it takes something everybody knows (the Pepsi Challenge) and turns it on its head. Grounding something foreign (fentanyl) in a cultural known (taste testing) lends credibility and lightheartedness to a topic that can seem daunting.

Culturally, this product also fits into a new attitude surrounding drugs. With the opioid epidemic continuing to grow and fatalities rising, gone are the days of “just say no” and “this is your brain on drugs” (cue cracking eggs) – the priority with products like DanceSafe and Naloxone is trying to reduce overdoses when people use drugs. Question: Will this new mindset surrounding drugs have any halo effect on the medical field as a whole?

Source: AdAge

Ranch dressing… the condiment of choice for Millennials & Gen Z?

“Ranch is a rising iconic flavor in food and culture today,” Jacquie Klein, director of the brand studio that oversees Hidden Valley marketing.

“It’s found on more than half of restaurant menus and in 75 percent of homes in the U.S. It’s really embedded in our culture. We have more than 5 million Twitter conversations a year. We always love to see Hidden Valley Ranch fountains at weddings and mini-kegs at backyard barbecues.”

Hidden Valley has come out with some kind of oddball holiday collection the past two years, generating 3 billion social and other media impressions in total, Klein says. The brand also got some traction on Twitter after the Instagram site Pop Tart A Day posted an image of a ranch-flavored Pop-Tart, USA Today reported.

Why it’s hot?

Who knew a brand like Hidden Valley can keep its ear to the ground and pay attention to under-the-radar cultural shifts among young consumers? It’d be interesting to see how far Hidden Valley can play this out in the coming years.