Not all corporate training videos are boring as hell

Wendy’s created some training videos in the 80’s but instead of using the same boring HR training talking head style that everyone else was using, they decided to have some fun with it.

These are truly spectacular time capsules of the 1980’s. Yes, millennials, this is how we lived life every single day.

Why It’s Hot
These videos give us some insight into the corporate culture that has resulted in the current social media sass machine that we see today.

What money won’t buy?

Back in 2008, 30 year-old Mike Merrill was at a career crossroads. So, he did what any other aspiring entrepreneur would do: he divided himself into 100k shares at $1 apiece and let people on the internet buy a stake in his life.

Since then, he’s sold off 10,991 shares of himself to 663 investors all across the world.

 

These shareholders — most of whom are complete strangers — get voting power on every major decision Merrill makes: whether or not to get a vasectomy, how much sleep he should get each night, and even who he should date.

Some early investors (including his own brother) chose to cash out big, while others have been in it for the long haul. In return, Merrill gets his own “personal board of advisors” to help him more decisively wade through life’s decisions.

But what’s life like as a “publicly-traded” human? And in an era of digital individualism, why would someone willingly auction off his own agency?

The self-proclaimed “anti-authoritarian” endured a strict, regimented lifestyle for 3 years, until he disobeyed the rules, and was discharged.

He has a “little identity crisis,” and eventually followed one of his buddies down to Portland, Oregon and “fumbled” his way into the software world, working various non-technical odd jobs.

Then, one night in 2008, dissatisfied with his choices in life, an idea struck: What if I let other people control my life?

So, he decided to “IPO” himself

The first thing Merrill had to do was determine his worth as a human.

“At time I had a day job,” he recalls. “So I calculated my worth based on my free time — nights and weekends — and I figured that time, for the rest of my life, was probably around $100k.”

Merrill ultimately decided to divvy himself up into 100k shares at $1 each. Like an actual corporation, he set out to “drum up demand.”

To keep shareholders informed, he built a website — KmikeyM.com — that contained a platform where people could vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on the projects he should pursue.

At first, the topics Merrill put up for vote were trivial things, like whether or not he should invest $79.63 in a Rwandan chicken farming business (approved, with flying colors). But things escalated very quickly.

By the tail end of his first year on the market, Merrill made plans to move in with his then-girlfriend of 5 years — but when his shareholders caught wind of the decision, they were furious.

“I was getting emails from people saying, ‘We should have a say in such things — it’s going to impact your life!’” he says. “I thought, okay, that’s probably a fair point. And from then on, I let them vote on things in my private life too.”

First up on the table: whether or not Merrill should get a vasectomy — a procedure that would’ve permanently prevented him from having children (or, in the eyes of shareholders, “adding an economic burden” to their investment). His shareholders narrowly voted the procedure down, 45% ‘Yes’ to 55% ‘No.’ In the ensuing months, Merrill put a variety of major lifestyle choices up for vote: whether or not to adopt a polyphasic sleep schedule (Approved), become a registered Republican (Approved), or convert to a vegetarian (Approved).

When Merrill started putting more dramatic decisions on the chopping block, he started to attract more buyers.Driven by letting investors in on the more intimate aspects of his life, Merrill then decide to take things a step further.

When Merrill’s relationship dissipated in 2012, he once again turned to his shareholders for advice — this time, in the romance department.

“Under normal circumstances, no one is going to complain when someone is buying flowers or going out to dinner and a movie,” he wrote in an investor letter. “But as a publicly traded person with a responsibility of productivity to the shareholders, we live under special circumstances. A relationship is likely to affect both [my] productivity and [my] output.”

In a resolution titled “Shareholder Control of Romantic Relationships,” Merrill asked his investors if they’d like to take over control of his dating process. It passed with an 86% vote.

Merrill gives his investors an update

Merrill went on a variety of dates, updating investors via a private forum at each juncture and ceding to their feedback. After numerous dates, Merrill began to fall for a 28 year-old assistant named Marijke Dixon — and after securing his shareholders’ approval, he offered her a three-month “relationship contract.” As their relationship progressed, Dixon progressively acquired shares in Merrill in an (unsuccessful) attempt to gain a controlling voting power.

Stranger things

The flood of new shareholders dramatically changed the way Merrill thought about his experiment.

With a mix of strangers and friends (his original investors), Merrill realized he had to mitigate the possibility of “insider trading:” his friends, who he hung out with on a daily basis, knew more about his life than other investors. To compensate, he began publically posting more updates and information about his life.But he started to realize that strangers probably made better investors, anyway: “I found them to be more objective,” he says. “When people know you too well, they vote for what they think you want, which isn’t necessarily what’s in your best interest.”

This hypothesis proved to be true when his new shareholders unanimously voted for Merrill to leave his desk job of 10 years to strike out on his own and take a calculated risk.

Merrill’s market

Today, Merrill boasts 663 investors all across the world, who collectively own 10,991 shares.

Like all markets, Merrill’s share price is contingent upon demand, and demand usually fluctuates in tandem with hype, press, and publicity. In recent years, those things have stagnated, and his shares — once as high as $18 — fell as low as $2.18.

Today, his share price sits squarely at $4.75, still a solid return for his earliest $1 investors.

“I have a powerful decision-making engine of people who can give me feedback or advice about anything,” he says. “Honestly, who wouldn’t want that?”

 

Why It’s Hot:

-This 1st Crowdsourced Human Control project

-This type of “crowdsourcing” decision-making approach is beginning to take place within politics

-Will be interesting to see if brands adopt this at a more meaningful level

 

Source: The Hustle

Mastercard Demystified Millennials

Millennials seem to be the toughest demographic to crack, as they’re viewed as narcissistic, entitled, superficial, and several more descriptive adjectives. So Mastercard Australia made it their mission to understand what millennials really wanted from their new debit rewards program. The “Millennials Demystified” experiment was conducted by researchers at the University of South Wales and the purpose was simple, to find out what millennials really desire. Participants of the study were given 2 choices in which they had to choose which one they desired the most, the catch was that their neurological impulses let the researchers know exactly what they truly desired out of the two choices. The results? Simple. Millennials are human after all and they want to do more good than harm the world, contrary to what seems to be common belief.

Why it’s hot:
Turns out millennials aren’t soulless zombies that want to watch the world burn.

Mastercard AU

You’re Staying Where for the Holidays?

Seeing family over the holidays is one thing, staying the night is another. HotelTonight created digital ads to run across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter that depicts why you might reconsider where you spend the night. The startup’s internal creative team partnered with Odysseus Arms agency and have since doubled brand awareness.

Why is this hot?

The holidays are stressful. Comedic ads in our digital space clearly puts an ease on this.

Source: http://www.adweek.com/creativity/the-only-thing-worse-than-your-relatives-your-relatives-pets-says-hoteltonight/

 

tl;dr officially graduates to nm;dr…

Everything you think you know about content consumption on the internet is true.

Notre Dame researchers recently found that 73% of Redditors who volunteered for their study didn’t actually click through to links they upvoted, 84% clicked on content in less than 50% of their pageloads, and 94% did so in less than 40% of their pageloads.

Why it’s hot:

As people, it’s not. We’ve become a headline society.

As we all know, “fake news” is now a legitimate cultural phenomenon, and the lack of investigation and questioning the accuracy or legitimacy of content, opinions, ratings, even social media accounts means manipulative powers that can and have been misused by those with nefarious objectives.

But as marketers, before we make any ad, digital experience, tweet, product, or even business decision, the headline test has never been more important.

A good exercise is to write the positive headlines you hope to see as a result of what you’re thinking of doing, and the potential negative ones. Look at both, then decide the fate and/or form of your effort.

[ieee.org]

On a much lighter note, as a bonus, Google’s Santa Tracker experience is now live with Santa’s Village. Leading up to the holidays, it’s offering “access to games, a learning experience about holiday traditions around the world, and a Code Lab teaching kids basic coding skills” and an advent calendar unlocking a new game or experience each day between now and Christmas.

Drink Smartly

Jim Beam is making a foray into the newly popular voice-activated home tech category … with a delightfully absurd machine.

The whiskey marketer is billing it as the “first-ever artificially intelligent decanter,” and calling it, naturally, “Jim.” A parody of toys like Amazon Echo and Google Home, it’s available for pre-order at $34.90 and voiced by Fred Noe, seventh generation master distiller for the brand.

It won’t be able to tell you the weather or “call you a cab to Cupertino,” according to the promotional video, but it will encourage you to drink bourbon, rain or shine, any way you please—and even measure it out for you.

It’s not Jim Beam’s first time poking fun at consumer tech marketing. Last year it cooked up the Jim Beam Apple Watch, a green tweed band with a collapsable shot glass attached, launched to hijack attention around announcements from the gadget maker (and to promote apple-flavored Jim Beam).

The new addition is certainly amusing enough, even if it lacks the inspired brilliance (or perhaps, inspired stupidity) of its predecessor. Some Silicon Valley advertisers might get away with tediously pretentious marketing if they really are changing the world, but it’s also a category that’s deservedly spawned a rich tradition of mockery.

While it might be up for debate whether it truly is the first smart decanter (especially depending what you mean by “smart”), suffice it to say nobody else is going to be in a rush to claim the title. That for no other reason than if you’re too lazy or drunk to measure out another glass of the hard stuff for yourself, then you really don’t need it.

Source: Adweek

So Much Baggage

It’s widely understood that when it comes to Mexicans & travel, your luggage is always at the seams. Someone always wants you to bring them something and you always want to bring a whole lot of trinkets you don’t need. This is mandatory ☝.

Due to this unspoken rule, one of the most frustrating pain points is going over the weight limit.

So when Samsonite released their new lightweight luggage product line, they headed straight to Mexico. The appeal of the luggage for this market would be that the less your luggage weights, the more unnecessary crap you can lug with you.

They drove awareness to the luggage by introducing much-needed utility into the market – an unconventional luggage tag that acted as a scale to help people avoid overweight shock. The giant branded tags attached to luggage handles. If it held when lifted, then luggage was under the 50lb. If it broke, you were in trouble.

 

Why Its Hot:

– The brand chose to support their claims with actions and utility, not just with messaging

– The tag kept the brand top of mind, especially during the most critical trigger moment of consideration…when people go over the weight limit.

– It didn’t require an uber elegant tech solution, just some elegant thinking

Source

Irresistible Pointless pre-roll ads

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Adweek

Lifetime label




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

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

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

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

Source: Mimica Lab

The Crazy German Theater With a 19-Mile-Long Stage

The Bewegtes Land is a project that started recently in Germany. Passengers traveling by train through Germany’s Saale Valley will have an unexpected treat, as the train route was transformed into a long stage for performance art.

The acting is performed by 400 residents (and volunteers) along the 19-mile train route. The vignettes showed various situations from “running” bushes to a shark emerging from a lake right beside a canoer. The goal of the project is to amuse passengers and, at the same time bring people from these small communities together.

The project was created by Jörn Hintzer and Jacob Hüfner, media artists, and professors at the Bauhaus University Weimar.

Why it’s hot:
They managed to create a new and creative media and a narrative fully designed for it.

$weet $weet Money

A combination of India’s lack of digital payment adoption and shop owners never having enough change to give back to customers after a purchase has resulted in a very unique cultural practice: giving candy as change to consumers, instead of coins. Though it may sound sweet (eh? eh?), this leaves customers feeling scammed and shop owners feeling annoyed.

Taking note of this mutual pain point Paytm, a digital payment app, created its own brand of candy. These could still be given as change to consumers, but with a twist – the candy wrappers could be redeemed as real money with the download of their app by inputting the promo codes on the inside of the candy wrappers.

Though Paytm didn’t monetize (the candies were given to shop owners for free) they massively reduced their acquisition costs from $ 0.92 to $.18) with over 1M people downloading their app.

Why It’s Hot:

  • The campaign stemmed from a real culture insight/pain point and the brand sat in the middle of the solution
  • Really smart way of turning an everyday object into a medium (the wrappers)
  • Leveraged an old behavior (cash economy) to transition people to a new one (digital payment)

The flying supermarket

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

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

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

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

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

Source: FutureTravelExperience.com

Spotify for Artists

Spotify For Artists is an app launching this week that gives musicians and their managers mobile access to super-detailed analytics about their music and the people listening to it.

The Spotify For Artists app takes some of the most useful insights about an artist’s music—which songs are most popular, how many streams they’re getting over all, where those listeners live, and which playlists are helping win over new fans—and boils them down into digestible graphical charts. It’s a bit like Google Analytics for rappers, electronic DJs, and pop stars.

This isn’t the first time Spotify has made this kind of data available. Spotify For Artists is a product that first launched on the web in April, after a private beta period. First, Spotify opened it up to all artists (the first big, on-demand streaming app of its kind to do so). Now it’s letting them access it on their phones.

The app also gives artists some control over their presence on Spotify, allowing them to do things like update their bios, post playlists, and select the “artist’s pick” track that Spotify lets them display on their profiles.

Spotify For Artists is part of a broader effort to build more artist-facing tools and ’empower’ them. The company also started a program called Fans First, which uses data to detect the most obsessive listeners of a given artist and target them with special offers like pre-sale concert tickets or exclusive merchandise. The company has also been working harder to strengthen its relationships within the music industry and among artists, in part by hiring former Lady Gaga manager Troy Carter.

Why it’s hot: This is yet another way in which Spotify is leveraging their data in an interesting and unexpected way. It is great to see them making it readily available for artists who can benefit from knowing more about their core users. Additionally, making it available on a mobile app vs. just desktop (as they launched in April) makes this an even more accessible and useful tool to the music industry.

Source: FastCo

Ticket please. But I’m the ticket

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Contagious

Diverse Buying Committees Require Personalized Approaches

Millennials are taking their seats among Generation X and Baby Boomers at the buying table, making navigating the already complicated buying environment even harder, thanks to their different preferences.

According to a SnapApp and Heinz Marketing survey  in late June 2017, to understand and identify the generational differences, and impact of those differences, on the B2B sales process and buyer’s journey, the report looks at the differences between the rising Millennial buyer, their Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts, and how B2B marketing and sales strategies can address the gaps between them.

 The key findings included:  

For Millennials:

A noninvasive approach is key to gaining any traction within this cohort, which avoids sales at all costs:

  • Emphasize the relevance to the Millennial buyer and their issues specifically.
  • A company must win the trust of those that the Millennial buyer trusts.
  • Best pieces of content include: blog posts, infographics, videos, ungated eBooks. No whitepapers.

For Generation X,

Marketing and sales should reach out early in the buying process:

  • Highlight product details and benefits for the whole team vs. individuals.
  • Use data, analytics, and other measurable statistics in your conversations.
  • Best pieces of content include: webinars, charts/graphs, brochures.

For Baby Boomers

Early engagement goes a long way with this generation:

  • Lead with how your product benefits the members of their teams, rather than individuals.
  • Use data and analytics to clearly show the value of the product.
  • Best pieces of content include: webinars, charts/graphs, interactive eBooks.

Why It’s Hot: B2B marketers still take a fairly standard and universal approach to marketing and media, which aligns well w/the behaviors and interests of Gen X and Baby Boomer buyers; i.e., white papers, lead gen and immediate sales outreach, as well as focus on benefits for the team as a whole. This approach is a huge turnoff to Millennials, who not only are joining buying committees, but are often initiating and spearheading them!

 

Ikea acquires TaskRabbit

Both Ikea and TaskRabbit have confirmed that the Swedish retailer has acquired the gig-economy startup in a deal on Thursday. According to recode:

TaskRabbit had already struck a pilot partnership with Ikea around furniture assembly in the United Kingdom and also had marketed its workers’ ability to put together Ikea items in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The heads of TaskRabbit and Ikea Group: Stacy Brown-Philpot (left) and Jesper Brodin

The heads of TaskRabbit and Ikea Group: Stacy Brown-Philpot (left) and Jesper Brodin

Why it’s hot

Ikea has already shown that it wants to get serious about digital innovation with the launch of it’s Ikea Place AR app. TaskRabbit’s firm ties to Silicon Valley – with its CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot, a former Google exec and a board member at HP Inc. – will mark a larger step into tech space for Ikea.

Learn more: https://www.recode.net/2017/9/28/16377528/ikea-acquisition-taskrabbit-shopping-home-contract-labor

Dubai is building a mock Martian city


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

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

Source: Engadget

Slack AI says maybe you need a mid-afternoon snack…

Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield recently spoke to MIT Technology Review about the ways the company plans to use AI to keep people from feeling overwhelmed with data. Some interesting tidbits from the interview…

Slack

When asked about goals for Slack’s AI research group, Butterfield pointed to search. “You could imagine an always-on virtual chief of staff who reads every single message in Slack and then synthesizes all that information based on your preferences, which it has learned about over time. And with implicit and explicit feedback from you, it would recommend a small number of things that seem most important at the time.”

When asked what else the AI group was researching, Butterfield answered Organizational Insights. “I would—and I think everyone would—like to have a private version of a report that looks at things like: Do you talk to men differently than you talk to women? Do you talk to superiors differently than you talk to subordinates? Do you use different types of language in public vs. private? In what conversations are you more aggressive, and in what conversations are you more kind? If it turns out you tend to be accommodating, kind, and energetic in the mornings, and short-tempered and impatient in the afternoon, then maybe you need to have a midafternoon snack.”

Read more at MIT Technology Review.

Why It’s Hot
The idea of analyzing organizational conversation to learn about and solve collaboration and productivity issues is incredibly intriguing – and as always with these things, something to keep an eye on to ensure the power is used for good.

Your Confirmation Bias Is Showing….

The mind – both conscious and unconscious is a powerful force.  Past experiences, upbringing and even current habits shape how people react to situations and stimuli. Confirmation bias is a form of cognitive bias. Cognitive bias is defined as

…systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, whereby inferences about other people and situations may be drawn in an illogical fashion.

meaning that individuals create their own “reality” from their perception receive around them. Confirmation bias is the filtering out of information that doesn’t fit the perception or attitude of the person. If an individual is very pro-vegetarian, they will filter out any information that shows the benefits of a carnivorous diet- thereby strengthening their own bias.

This bias is especially prevalent in how individuals are using social media. With the ability to like or block content, the user’s cognitive bias is amplified, giving that person only information that fits their pattern of rationality.

This same bias can be applied to patterns of health. Smokers for example – who most likely understand the fundamental risks, will filter out messages that vilify the activity of smoking.  People change, only when their bias shifts

 

Why It’s Hot

Confirmation bias is a powerful driver of human behavior, but what if it could be used to alter that same behavior? For smokers, they understand the strength of addiction and the “pain” of quitting. When they see ads showing black lungs their bias filters out that message. Their reality says “its ok, I’m already smoking”

But what if the message hit the bias head on? What if the campaign acknowledged the “suck”? That message would align with the smokers bias and perhaps not be filtered out. Capturing mindshare is becoming more and more difficult, perhaps understanding and confronting bias is a way to breakthrough.

 

Where Walmart’s Marc Lore Is Trying to One-Up Amazon

Tapping brick-and-mortar network for an edge

The head of ecommerce for Walmart, Marc Lore, acknowledges that the company has work to do to catch up with Amazon in some respects, but that doesn’t mean Amazon has the advantage in every digital matchup.

Lore said Walmart’s more than 1.2 million employees in the US, as well as its more than 4,600 stores located within 10 miles of 90% of the US population, are among its “unique assets.” They give Walmart advantages, he said, such as the ability to offer online ordering for grocery pickup, currently available in 1,000 stores.

The comments came only days after the company announced its partnership with smart-lock startup August Home to test delivering fresh produce straight to customers’ refrigerators.

As Amazon continues to expand into various areas of consumers’ lives and reshapes how people shop via its successful Alexa-powered voice assistants like the Echo devices, Walmart is partnering with Google to offer a feature where consumers can shop for Walmart items via Google Assistant voice shopping. The partnership also involves Walmart integrating its “Easy Reorder” feature to Google Express so Google can recommend a personalized weekly shopping list based on consumers’ prior purchase history.

How this deal came about also highlights the importance of the partnership for Google. In fact, Google was the one that approached Walmart first about the partnership.

“It’s been a perfect partnership,” Lore said. “We are a retailer. We don’t claim to be a tech company. … Google has more tech prowess. We are looking through the lens of how we can be the best merchant in the world. … The two of us are stronger than anyone alone.”

Why it’s hot:

  • Fascinating to see how the power of voice is continuing to be at the forefront of brands’ priorities when it comes to understanding and responding to consumers’ needs
  • The boundaries of cool vs. creepy keep getting pushed (would you be ok with a brand delivering food and restocking your fridge for you when you aren’t home?)

Cliffhanger: Pop-up on the edge of a cliff


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

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

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

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

Source: Adweek

 

A bodega to kill all bodegas

 



Called Bodega, this startup installs unmanned pantry boxes in apartments, offices, dorms, and gyms. It promises convenience, but also represents competition for many mom-and-pop stores. Bodega’s logo is a cat, a nod to the popular bodega cat meme.

Bodega sets up five-foot-wide pantry boxes filled with non-perishable items you might pick up at a convenience store. An app will allow you to unlock the box and cameras powered with computer vision will register what you’ve picked up, automatically charging your credit card. The entire process happens without a person actually manning the “store.”

Why it’s hot?
Other than the fact that it has angered all the mom and pop corner bodega lovers

The end of centralized shopping as we know it 

“The vision here is much bigger than the box itself,” McDonald says. “Eventually, centralized shopping locations won’t be necessary, because there will be 100,000 Bodegas spread out, with one always 100 feet away from you.”

Personalized Bodega Boxes
“By studying their buying behavior, we’re hoping to eventually figure out how the needs of people in one apartment building differ from those in another. We could customize the items in one dorm versus the next.”

The backlash:

Source: Adweek, Fast Company

 

Sex Sells

In Colombia, young lovers often resort to stealing moments of intimacy in places where they risk being interrupted (such as a parent’s house, or in a parked car).

To help them get their hot-n-heavy, Condom brand Duo released an app to alert young lovers in Colombia when they risk being caught having sex.

To work, the app requires two mobile phones with cameras. One phone is placed in the area where the interruption is likely to come from and acts like a motion sensor. When someone (or something) disturbs the scene, the first phone sends a message (and an image of the intruder) to the second phone, alerting the lovers and giving them time to compose themselves.

According to Geometry Global, the app attracted 62,262downloads, more than 23,000 monthly active users, and the brand achieved a 23% increase in sales in the fourth quarter of 2016, and a 20% lift in the first quarter of 2017.

Why It’s Hot

  • We’ll its sex related
  • Brand solved a very real pain point for their core audience; young consumers who are likely to live at home and crave privacy

 

Source: https://www.contagious.io/articles/brand-guardian

Really uncool app

How can terrified parents of newly qualified teen drivers persuade them to drive safely? Toyota has come up with what could be an ingenious method — embarrassing them.

The brand’s new Safe and Sound App, not only blocks social media posts and incoming calls once they’re traveling over nine miles per hour, it automatically switches to playing their parents’ Spotify playlist once they break the speed limit or try to use their phone. And, naturally, parents are free to put as much embarrassing music on there as they choose.

The parents activate the app when the teen wants to borrow their car, and it syncs both parent and child Spotify accounts. The app uses Google Maps API technology to detect if they’re speeding, and when the young driver touches their phone or breaks the speed limit, the music they are playing through Spotify will suddenly cut out and their parents’ playlist will kick in instead. Only once the driver stops interacting with their phone or returns to within the speed limit will their own music resume playing.

Why it’s hot?
They used a human insight and turned it into a product – for teenagers, the threat of embarrassment is more severe than threat of injury

Source: Creativity

Money Can’t Buy (All) The Happiness

People who say “money can’t buy happiness” have obviously never lived under a bridge. Money can buy happiness, certainly in the form of one’s safety, shelter, and food. So logically you could think

“…if a little money buys some happiness…a lot of money buys a lot of happiness…I need more money to be happy!

But unfortunately,  we as humans aren’t wired that way.  Research has shown that people have a base level of happiness built into their lives. As good things happen, and bad things happen we tend to slide back to that base level.

I’m sure we have all gone through the phase of having to have the latest “thing”. We see it, we desire it, we literally crave it….then we finally obtain it. It feels great; then…we forget why we wanted it in the first place. Welcome to the Hedonic Treadmill

Studies show that the difference in happiness from earning $5,000 a year to $50,000 a year is dramatic. This type of change allows one to purchase shelter, food, and security. But the level of happiness from $50,000 a year to $50,000,000 is nearly identical.

 

Why It’s Hot

So if it’s not stuff that makes us happy, what will? Experience. The time we spend with friends and family, the adventures we take, the people we help – these are the keys to moving your overall base level of happiness. Experience acts as a differentiator not only in life but also in the market. Brands and products who go beyond the physical good and offer experience will achieve more customer loyalty and find brand fans quicker.

 

 

Your Perspective…is Biased

People are fascinating creatures. We have the ability to create, communicate and con. Even when someone excels at “reading the room” they can only read what has been “written”, and what if that turns about to be a bit more fiction than truth?

Empathy, especially through interviewing is a valuable tool in finding insight and inspiration. Both the interviewer and interviewee  play an integral part in the process.Those interviews can drastically change the outputs

Why It’s Hot:

I think the line “It’s like 6 totally different people” really captures how we as people can receive and process information. The lesson to take is – dig deeper. We’re all humans, maybe the person you’re interviewing is having a bad day, maybe they just won the lottery…without going in for a deeper dive we may miss the true essence.

 

Greatest Ikea hack of all time?



Here’s how Ikea responded to the news that costume designers of Game of Thrones have been cutting corners, using Ikea rugs as pelts and capes for some of its extras.
In the show, the northern-dwelling Nightwatch, led by commander and king of the north Jon Snow, wear animal skins as to not freeze when winter comes. Instead of decking out the soldiers in real pelts, costume designers elected to take a trip to Ikea to buy Peta-approved Faux animal skin rugs.

Why it’s hot?
Real time reaction with an idea that is low cost and pulled together in a couple of hours

Source: The Drum

student teacher…

An 11 year old Tennessee girl recently found a way to instantly detect lead in water, cutting the time it used to take to do so drastically. Previously, you had to take a water sample and send it off to a lab for analysis, now all you need is her contraption and a smartphone. She discovered her solution when she read about a new type of nanotechnology on MIT’s website, and imagined its new application in its new context.

Here’s how it works:
“Her test device, which she has dubbed “Tethys,” uses a disposable cartridge containing chemically treated carbon nanotube arrays. This connects with an Arduino technology-based signal processor with a Bluetooth attachment. The graphene within the nanotube is highly sensitive to changes in flow of current. By treating the tube with atoms that are sensitive to lead, Rao is able to measure whether potable water is contaminated with lead, beaming the results straight to a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. When it detects levels higher than 15 parts per million, the device warns that the water is unsafe.”

Why it’s hot:

1) Never let “can we do this” stop you
2) Never let “how can we do this” stop you
3) Some of the best solutions come when you put two (or more) things together

This offers a good lesson in a few important ingredients for innovation – how much you care, how much you believe, and how creative you can be. When all are high, you can create amazing things. Know what’s possible, believe that anything is, and let nothing stop you. Let’s do it.

The Countdown Begins…AI Versus the World

AI is continuing to rule the press headlines across all industries. No matter who you are or what you do, your life will somehow be affected by artificial intelligence. Below are just a few charts recently published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on how quickly AI is catching up with humans.


Why It’s Hot:

Artificial intelligence will continue to get better over time. So much so that Researchers at Oxford and Yale  predict AI will outperform humans in many activities in the next ten years, such as translating languages (by 2024), writing high-school essays (by 2026), driving a truck (by 2027), working in retail (by 2031), writing a bestselling book (by 2049), and working as a surgeon (by 2053). Researchers believe there is a 50% chance of AI outperforming humans in all tasks in 45 years and of automating all human jobs in 120 years.

Merck And Alexa challenge to solve diabetes care crisis

Diabetes is a scourge. And Merck through the gauntlet down. (Though only for $25K).

Reviewing the snippet of the infographic in the hero photo only teases the immensity of the diabetes  problem. It is without a doubt THE health issue in our country, and sadly, for most of the world. The complexity of the condition is endless — it touches nearly every organ — eyes, feet, heart, kidney — and part of our body’s system in a negative way.

One truth is well known: patients need help with this complex condition. Frankly, many diabetics “game” the system with their medications so they can maintain at least a portion of the unhealthy lifestyle that got them. For others, despite good effort, many patients do a terrible job staying on their medication, or following their exercise and diet regimen, and thus, the codition progresses where the costs to their body and society are overwhelming. But while some of these issues are ingrained, there are many people who would welcome a helping hand — however it is packaged.

So, Merck, makers of several effective diabetes medications, decided to differentiate itself by thinking like a consumer company:

The Alexa Challenge. The Challenge calls on innovators to create Alexa voice-enabled solutions to improve the lives of those with type 2 diabetes

They just announced their finalists.

Why is this hot?

  • Each finalist cover a wide range of potential applications and technology platforms.
  • While several of the large pharma companies have done something similar, the maturation of Merck’s approach teamed the leap of ease and sophistication of technology has Merck doing it the right way.
  • This needs to be watched; from a marketing perspective, diabetes drug manufacturers have often been quite innovative. But they often did so internally and with their PR group. This smells of a change in direction towards the ascendance of consumer technology and consumer thinking.