Paper books sell a digital solution

Google Cloud wrote fictional biographies detailing the future of ten French business leaders and sent them to the executives as part of a prospecting campaign. The idea is called the Biographies of Tomorrow to help Google Cloud win the attention of French business leaders and promote the brand’s enterprise solutions services.

They researched 10 of France’s most important executives, as well as the industries in which they worked. It then commissioned authors from Cherche Midi publishing house to write short, fictional biographies detailing how these leaders digitally transformed their businesses after employing the services of Google Cloud. The nature and content of the biographies also emphasized the predictive qualities of Google Cloud’s service. Economist Jacques Attal wrote a foreword for each of the 10 biographies and artist Alix d’Anselme drew portraits of the subjects for the front covers. Google Cloud then hand delivered the biographies to the business executives.

2 of the 10 executives that received a biography have signed deals with Google Cloud

Why its hot?
Business buyers don’t go to work and forget what they want as human beings

get paid when you get delayed…


It seems solving the pain points of delayed air travelers has become one of 2018’s hottest challenges. The latest brand to take it on is insurance brand AXA, via “fizzy”, it’s smart travel insurance.

Here’s how it works – “AXA’s blockchain-powered insurance plan, called Fizzy, covers travelers for delays of up to two hours or more. When customers purchase insurance using Fizzy, all details and contract agreements are recorded publicly, on the Ethereum blockchain. The contracts, which are connected to global air traffic monitoring databases, automatically trigger compensation payouts when a delay of more than two hours is recorded.”

In otherwords, you get paid (automatically) when you get delayed.

Why it’s hot:

First, it’s one of the most simple and practical, yet smart uses of blockchain and smart contracts we’ve seen yet. There’s plenty of chatter about the potential of blockchain, but considerably fewer actual things consumers can currently do that are blockchain enabled.

But more importantly, it’s a beautiful example of human-driven innovation – and not just because it helps in a situation most of us are likely all too familiar with (delayed flights, more than 150k in the last 30 days just in the US).

One of the biggest headaches with insurance can be having to make claims and waiting to be compensated. fizzy automatically knows when you should be compensated and does so “by the time your flight lands”. So, a matter of hours instead of days.

[Source]

Dating meets baby sitting

Meetic, a French dating company that also owns Match.com in Europe, is offering childcare vouchers as an incentive to attract more single parents to its platform.

Any single parent in France who subscribes to Meetic’s dating service before 31 October will receive a voucher for three hours of childcare through Yoopies, an online hub that connects parents and babysitters, and includes reviews and recommendations.

The free childcare is provided in the form a €30 ($35.11) voucher for Yoopies, and is based on the €10 ($11.70) per-hour average cost of a babysitter on the platform. The three hours figure was arrived at after research by the dating company showed that a typical date lasted 163 minutes.

In addition to the babysitting vouchers, any single parent that subscribes to Meetic during the promotional period will get free access to Yoopies’ premium service for two months.

Why its hot?
Matching two of the most important human needs of single parents
(25% of children in Paris lived with a single parent and 70% of single parents said they didn’t have time to find love.)

From discarded flowers to paint

 

Paint company JAT Holdings has created a new line of colourful paints made out of the waste from Buddhist flower offerings.

One way Buddhists express their devotion is by placing flowers at temples or shrines. This act symbolises the impermanent nature of life, or samsara.

Ordinarily, the flowers are thrown away. JAT Holdings collected kilos of the discarded flowers and used their pigmentation to create new paints.

The Petal Paint comes in five shades, each one designed to reflect a different ring in the Buddha’s halo. The colours include Lotus Red, Pigeonwing Blue, Trumpet Yellow, Marigold Orange and Temple Flower White.

JAT is selling Petal Paint in its own stores and is also donating the product to temples for local artists to restore the colourful art on the ceilings and walls.

The packaging imitates temple artwork, so that when the cans are stacked in store it creates the impression of a temple wall.

‘We created Petal Paint to give something back to Sri Lanka’s heritage and culture,’ Richard Gunawardene, head of marketing at JAT Holdings, told Sri Lankan newspaper Lankadeepa. ‘Petal Paint combines the best of our traditional culture – the use of pigments from nature – with the most advanced technology in paint manufacturing, to create a paint that matches the traditional temple mural colours and also provides a more long-lasting solution to temple artists.’

The death of Don Draper

The advertising industry is currently enthralled by a prophet of its imminent demise. Scott Galloway is a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, and founder of a marketing consultancy. In a much-shared YouTube video, he delivers a talk entitled “The Death of the Advertising-Industrial Complex” to an audience of young marketers. In it, he argues that businesses can no longer rely on advertising to compensate for mediocre products.

Until the 1990s, says Galloway, the path to success lay in taking “an average beer, average car, or average suit” and wrapping it in appealing associations – this one makes you feel more elegant, this one makes you feel younger. Now, we live in an age in which the intangible haze of soft-sell is no longer necessary, and the battle for market share comes down to the raw strength of your product. “The sun has passed midday on brand,” he says.

The ad industry, run by people who pride themselves on creativity, is being displaced by the ad business, which prides itself on efficiency. Clients are spending less on the kind of entertaining, seductive, fame-generating campaigns in which ad agencies specialize, and more on the ads that flash and wink on your smartphone screen.

More here.

Why it’s HOT:

Modern media technology, more educated consumers, and the democratization of information have transformed the advertising business like no other. Today’s advertising agencies may not be able to help clients market mediocre products like they could have in a much simpler time.

“Don’t feed the trolls,” but maybe…

A new piece from The Verge questions whether our approach to trolls online has been wrong all along. The article makes a convincing argument: by refusing to engage with trolling behavior, are we as brands and people doing the internet and society at large a huge disservice?

It all harkens back to Cliff Pervocracy’s analogy of the “missing stair,” where everyone works around the obvious dangers of a situation because they are so used to “dealing with it” by outright ignoring it. If someone speaks up about the danger, they are dismissed. Why complain when you can “just hop over” the missing stair? But on a systemic level, it all adds up to something so much more than a mere missing stair. For many people on the internet — especially women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community — it is an entire broken staircase, full of loose nails, jutting floorboards, and impossible leaps. And there are so many others who don’t notice it because they either get to use the elevator or are already on the top floor.

Not only does this sort of ignorance function as a kind of tacit permission, but it also ignores the inherent threat of the troll’s true intent. What the troll, the stalker, and the abuser really want out of the situation is to feel powerful and in control. And they will not stop until they feel it. Therein lies the most horrible aspect of the “don’t feed” mantra: rather than doing anything to address the trolls, the more tangible effect is to silence the victim and the reality of their abuse, or worse, to blame them for it. For far too many who promoted this idea, the true goal was silence, to avoid facing what is happening and the impossible responsibility of it.

Of course, there are the one-offs that do simply go away when ignored. But the big picture is complex and worrisome. Although brands and companies play a small role, there’s clearly a continuing need to set and enforce boundaries about what conduct is acceptable and what is not.

The powers that be in social media can’t just make it about who is saying bad words, try to algorithm their way out of the problem, or play every side in the name of “fairness” when it leaves so many of us to the wolves. They have to make an ethical choice about what they really believe and what ideology they want to represent moving forward. Because they cannot reap the reward of what they have built without taking on the responsibility and the cost of it, too.

Why it’s hot: We talk a lot about brands and their values. Those values need to translate to social media policies and general online rules of engagement wherever these brands have presence. “Don’t feel the trolls” as a blanket statement may dismiss winning opportunities to stand for something.

Revolve: The Billion-Dollar Clothing Company for Millennial Women

The fashion industry is not for the undisciplined–or the slow-moving. Customers change their preferences seemingly as fast as they can scroll through their Instagram feeds. Case in point: Once-hot brands such as Nasty Gal and American Apparel are worth a fraction of what they once were.

All of which makes the story of Los Angeles-based e-commerce clothing brand Revolve especially noteworthy. Founded in 2003 by Michael Mente and Mike Karanikolas, the company is reportedly on track to pull in more than $1 billion in sales this year. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Revolve–known for its daring, trendy clothing–may be preparing for an initial public offering late this year. (The company declined to comment on its plans.)

The company scouts for niche designers that can’t be found at Barneys or Macy’s and analyzes how the brands perform on the site. Revolve can tell the designers exactly what customers are looking for, such as more mid-length dresses or a particular shirt color. The company says that designers who are receptive to this data often will see their sales improve.

“Everything the company does stems from data,” says Gerona.

The company’s inventory process is another example. Revolve’s reordering platform automatically pushes out a notification to buyers on a daily basis when an item is selling quickly. A tagging system–which tracks every detail on a piece of clothing from its length to its buttons–allows the team to easily distinguish or collect data on the designer, look, and cut. While the automation helps, humans ultimately step in to make the decisions. “If we take a risk on a trend and can see it doing extremely well, we can qualitatively distinguish how future styles will sell,” she says.

Revolve manufactures and designs 18 of its own brands, a move that helps it stay nimble and ahead of trends. The clothes are manufactured in China and India as well as locally in L.A. Gerona says the company can ask its 40 or so designers to create something around what’s trending and can expect the garments to arrive on its site in weeks. Revolve says it can target exactly what customers want.

“This marrying of data and buyers and the designers has been incredibly successful for the business and it continues to grow exponentially year over year,” she says.

Scroll through Revolve’s Instagram–with its 2.4 million followers–and you’ll see photos of these influencers, clad in the company’s clothing, taking tropical weekend getaways, brunching with friends on Sundays, or attending Coachella. The attraction is not just the clothing but also the aspirational lifestyle that caters to the Millennial audience. “Our customer wants a piece of that lifestyle,” Gerona says.

Why It’s Hot:

Revolve has designed a bullet-proof strategy grounded in the millennial audience. They found a way to build a a data informed fast-fashion company that harnesses the power of influencer marketing. Thus far, it’s been a winning combination.

Source: https://www.inc.com/michelle-cheng/how-revolve-has-built-a-billion-dollar-fashion-company-for-millennial-women.html

When Exactly Sarah Huckabee Sanders Is Lying

It’s not news that telltale nonverbal signs can reveal when someone’s being deceptive, especially when you see several of the signs together.

Body language experts analyzed White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s  behaviors and identified times when she lied.

Behavior 1: Emotional Fluctuation

Lying about whether Trump has thought about stepping down in light of the turmoil of the Russia investigation.

In this video, “Sanders shows “substantial emotional fluctuation,” from contempt to high anxiety-fear-regret, back to contempt, and then back to anxiety, said Brown. This is a textbook example of emotional dissonance, or having trouble aligning one’s true thoughts and feelings with one’s words.” (The question begins at 9:28 in this video.) 

Behavior 2: Talking Out Of The Side Of Her Mouth

Lying about about Stormy Daniels

In this video at 12:15, “she talks out of the side of her mouth, a sign of either “bravado and hubris, or insincerity and deception” that Sanders displays often.” Facial asymmetry also showed she was lying. According to body language experts, when someone “habitually feels one thing and says another, or keeps their true feelings in.” There is a disconnect between your limbic brain, where emotions are, and the neocortex, or the thinking brain — “where you can consciously control thoughts and words and create lies.”

Behavior 3: Misspeaking

In the same video above, at around 12:26, Sanders pronounces “outside” — as in “outside counsel” — as “out-cod.” While almost every public speaker makes small mistakes like this, the fact that she hardly ever corrects herself is “a sign of a lack of objectivity and sincerity,”

Behavior 4: Smiling Out Of Context

Around 5:20, Sarah starts to show a partially suppressed smile, showing her “subconscious mind is taking pleasure in fooling people, a behavior frequently exhibited by children.”

Behavior 5: Touching Her Face

Around 10:06 in this video, Sarah lifts her hand to cover her mouth and brush the underside of her nose. This kind of facial touching means there’s a high likelihood someone is lying.

Behavior 6: Avoiding Eye Contact

“When people lie, their eye contact either goes into a stare — to overcompensate — or they look away,” Brown said. “One thing Sarah does a lot is look at her notes and pretend she’s reading them, so she doesn’t have to look at the journalist.”

Behavior 7: Unnatural Pacing

Sometimes she delivers rehearsed quips, revealed by “her speed, her ultra-quick, unnaturally paced delivery.”

Why it’s hot: Body language could be something researches pay attention to while conducting in-person audience research.

Source: Refinery29

Study shows participants recall information more in VR

A new study at the University of Maryland shows that people remembered information better when in VR versus on a desktop.

Participants were first handed a print out of faces. They they had 5 minutes to a explore a scene and remember where all the faces were located.

“Half the faces were positioned in different locations within the interior setting–Oprah Winfrey appeared at the top of a grand staircase; Stephen Hawking was a few steps down, followed by Shrek. On the ground floor, Napoleon Bonaparte’s face sat above majestic wooden table, while The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was positioned in the center of the room.”

After 5 minutes, the scene went dark for two minutes and then reappears. This time though, the faces were replaced with numbered boxes. The participants were then asked to recall what face was in each box.

After they finished answering, they were asked to remember new faces and explore another scene, but this time on a different platform. The 40 participants were split into two groups. One went that went through the study in VR first and then desktop, and another group that explored it on desktop first and then in VR. All but 2 participants said they were confident with their answers on both platforms, but preferred VR.

The results? There was an 8.8% improvement in recall accuracy when the participants used VR over desktop.

“Many of the participants said the immersive “presence” while using VR allowed them to focus better. This was reflected in the research results: 40 percent of the participants scored at least 10 percent higher in recall ability using VR over the desktop display.”

“By showing that virtual reality can help improve recall, it opens the door to further studies that look at the impact of VR-based training modules at all levels–from elementary school children learning astronomy to trauma residents acquiring the latest knowledge in lifesaving procedures. We believe the future of education and innovation will benefit greatly from the use of these new visual technologies.”

 

Why It’s Hot:

  • Shows more potential for VR as a platform for educating users

 

Links:

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-06/uom-pri061318.php

https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Virtual-Memory-Palaces%3A-Immersion-aids-Recall-Krokos-Varshney/a9b76f2f18f10e5305234cdc526ea13d803cbb6b

Birthual Reality

The irony of being called “expectant parents” is that many actually have little idea what to expect from childbirth.

While they certainly understand the general process and medical procedures involved, one can’t really understand the full experience of birth until you’ve witnessed it first-hand. Given that childbirth is a relatively private moment—at least in terms of the number of people on hand—most people don’t have that experience until it’s time to meet their own newborns.

The uncertainty about the birth experience can create anxiety for expectant moms and dad alike, so one insurer came up with a compelling way to help.

Sweden’s Gjensidige Insurance worked with a hospital to film a childbirth in 360-degree video, creating a VR experience that anyone can watch. In fact, you can watch it right now as a 360 video on YouTube.

Luckily, it’s a rather uneventful pregnancy in the sense that the process goes smoothly. (And the birth itself is shot at a respectful angle that makes you feel you’re standing alongside the mother rather than in the place of the doctor.) But it still conveys the physical and emotional struggle of childbirth, along with the singular joy.

Why its hot?
-Preparing people for something that has been almost impossible to prepare for
-Great strategy to be top of mind child insurance provider (without selling insurance)
-A very real, authentic human gesture from an insurance company

Source: Adweek and https://www.gjensidige.se/birthualreality

Latest Pew Research Teens & Social Media Study confirms concerns of negative effects

Pew Research just refreshed its survey of Teens on Social Media (last conducted in 2015) and reports that things have markedly changed just in the last three years.

While none of this may sound surprising, Teens report mixed feelings about the effects of social media (both positive and negative) and 45% report that they are basically never not online (which I’m sure most of us can relate to).

In terms of the platforms teens use, Pew reports, “it is clear the social media environment today revolves less around a single platform than it did three years ago.”2   

While Facebook had the clear majority in 2015 (71% of teens reported), today there is no clear majority and FB has fallen from prominence.

It’s worth noting that YouTube and Reddit were not even included in the 2015 survey.

For the most part, teens tend to use the same platforms regardless of their demographic characteristics, but there are exceptions; Lower-income teens are far more likely than those from higher income households to say Facebook is the online platform they use most often (22% vs. 4%).

WHY IT’S HOT:

While many of the findings may already be well reported at this point (Facebook has slipped), it is telling to note how self-aware teens are of the more problematic effects of social media use– potentially more so than their adult counterparts on the same platforms. It will be interesting to see whether the market continues to fragment or whether we will see the re-emergence of a single leader in the months and years to come.

 

Preying on Facebook Groups

Thanks to a confluence of rising rates of opioid addiction and the availability of insurance dollars for rehabilitation service, vulnerable people affected by addiction are increasingly being targeted with misleading marketing communications, making disingenuous claims and failing to disclose ties to for-profit addiction centers. In particular, members of Facebook groups are being directly contacted by marketers looking to pull them into these treatment centers. Marketers are compensated with anything from a flat pay rate to bonuses attributed to the number and quality of patient referrals.

Rehab marketing has been under scrutiny in various ways for making false and misleading claims targeting vulnerable individuals, but the infiltration of Facebook Groups takes the shady to a whole new level. Marketing scams used by unethical treatment centers involve private messaging group members in an attempt to get a client to their treatment center, absent of any clinical consultation or assessment.

This article from The Verge dives into detail around one such group, Affected by Addiction.

Marketers from the treatment center had to approve every post in the group, which gave them the first opportunity to privately message good candidates for their rehab and try to talk them into going to Windward in California.

Why it’s hot: If it continues, what impact will this bad apple behavior will mean for the future of Facebook Groups, a community-builder that Zuckerberg has been all-in on? (Communities seemed to be one of the saving graces of the platform during all the #deleteFacebook convesration). Will this and similar activity happening in other communities cause people to further lose trust in Facebook? Will they leave en masse (in favor of darker dark social) or again change how they use the tools? If it continues unabated and has negative impact on user engagement, there could be significant ripple effects felt by brands who rely on Facebook Groups for social listening insights as people move to experiences that are more difficult to monitor or maintain.

Maple Syrup and Honey Producers are Pissed at the FDA

The FDA is in the process of updating nutrition and serving size labeling requirements for packaged foods, a move that is overwhelmingly positive in terms of providing increased transparency for consumers. But one part of these new requirements is causing a huge backlash in the seemingly idyllic circles of maple syrup and honey producers.

According to the FDA’s new rules, nutritional labels on all honey and maple syrup must list the sugars in the product as “added sugars” even though some of the products themselves are entirely naturally produced. This is a huge deal for these natural producers, since the unique selling point of their products is that they are naturally made and do not have any added sugar.

Don’t freak out yet though, the law is not set to go into effect until 2020 and Senator Sanders is totally on it.

Why It’s Hot: A particularly egregious example of applying rules too broadly and without sufficient flexibility. At what point is “helpful to most” not a good enough justification?

Learn More: USA Today | Burlington Free Press

Currency for women only

For the launch of its first womenswear collection, fashion brand Paisley has created a currency that addresses the gender pay gap.

The new FEM notes are worth 21% more than any other currency – a nod to the 21% gender pay gap in Germany. This means that whenever customers use FEM currency, they get 21% more for their money.

The notes have been designed with special security features to avoid misuse and highlight a number of iconic female figures who have helped pave the way for equal gender rights.

Customers can exchange their money for FEM notes by visiting the Paisley flagship store in Hamburg. Paisley is also looking to partner with other companies which want to make FEM currency part of their brand.

Why its hot?
Using a cultural insight they dressed up a run of the mill coupon / discount as a movement

Read more: https://www.femcurrency.com/

 

Neuroscience and the thoughts and minds of dogs

A scientist looking at how dogs think and relate to humans has trained about a dozen dogs to lie inside of fMRI machines and receive different stimuli. The result is a look inside the minds of dogs that indicates that their mental processes might mirror our own in more ways than previously imagined.

 

A dog undergoes training, learning how to rest its head on a pad without moving, so that scientists can scan his brain

A dog undergoes training, learning how to rest its head on a pad without moving, so that scientists can scan his brain. Photo by Helen Berns

As part of their first paper published on the work in 2012, they trained dogs to recognize two different hand signals: one that meant the animal would be given a piece of hot dog imminently, and one that meant no hot dog. As they hypothesized, the first signal triggered elevated activity in an area called the caudate nucleus, which is rich in receptors for dopamine (a neurotransmitter involved in the sensation of pleasure). In humans—and in dogs, the research indicated—caudate activity is related to the desire to have something that causes pleasure, and the satisfaction involved in obtaining it.

Subsequent tests showed that sensing familiar humans through sight and scent triggered similar reward receptors in dogs’ brains, possibly indicating the feeling of emotion similar to human emotion.

A dog in an fMRI, receiving one of the hand signals

A dog in an fMRI, receiving one of the hand signals

Why it’s hot

Pet owners already think of their animal friends as more than simply property, and are more likely to consider them members of the family than in previous generations. If studies like these can show that dogs truly feel emotions similar to humans, it might have implications for public policy and cultural sentiment.

Read more at smithsonianmag.com

Aloha Safely

Hawaiian airlines is gifting their passengers with samples of toxic-free sunscreen in efforts to educate travelers of the harm that other sunscreens have on the coral reefs. A recent study found that oxybenzone and octinoxate, typical elements found in the average sunscreen, result in damaging effects on the reefs. Through the end of April, Hawaiian Airlines flight attendants will be offering passengers free samples of an American-made sunscreen that doesn't harm marine life.

So lather up in Hawaiian Airlines’ eco-formula sunscreen if you’re flying from North American destinations to the islands through the month of April! 

Can you bereef it’s taken this long for something like this to happen? The airline partnered with Raw Elements to produce the sunscreen. To serve even more raw truth, Hawaiian Airlines decided to screen Reefs at Risk, an educational documentary, on all their flights. 

Why it’s hot:

This way people who can’t tan won’t burn. And they’ll hopefully make wiser choices in sunscreen purchases! Happy Hawaii-iing ~~

Source: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/airline-is-protecting-hawaiian-coral-reefs-by-giving-free-non-toxic-sunscreen-to-tourists/

Young Americans are going back home

Parents in the US cannot get rid of their kids. The share of young adults in their late 20s living with their parents is the highest it’s been in 75 years.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 33% of 25-29-year-olds lived with their parents or grandparents in 2016. This is almost three times as many as in 1970.

The share of young adults who don’t leave the nest has steadily increased in recent decades, and accelerated after the 2008 financial crisis. Across education levels, race, gender, and region, no group has been immune from the trend.

Pew’s researchers think late twenty-somethings are boomeranging back home because, in contrast to previous generations at this stage of their lives, they are less likely to have a well-paying job and less likely to be married. It turns out that no job and no partner makes living with your parents a lot more appealing.”

From: Quartz

Speak and thou shalt receive


Google has issued its first voice-activated coupon, a $15 offer for Target orders placed via Google Assistant.

Using a Google Home, a phone with Google Assistant built in, or the Google Assistant app (on either Android or iOS), simply say or type, ‘Spring into Target.’ If everything goes as planned, you’ll get a small paragraph informing you about the credit you’ve just received,”

The paragraph reads: “Three cheers for Spring! You’ve unlocked the Spring promo. Save up to $15 on your next order from Target on Google Express. You can order essentials like paper towels, laundry detergent, and trash bags. To try it out, ask me to order something you need from Target.”

Of course, it would be weird if this happened without any hitch. ‘Android Police’ reported potential confusion between “in to” and “into,” requiring a manual edit of the voice entry in some cases.

Why its hot?
Voice enabled things starting to hit adolescence. This coming of age means they are ready to go beyond basic stuff like weather to playing music to finally enabling hardcore retail sales. The possibilities are endless.

Source: MarketingWeek

#DeleteFacebook. But can you?

The growth of a movement to “delete Facebook” is leaving consumers in a pickle. As Vox reports, “the emphasis has largely been on users making up their minds about how to deal with the company on an individual level.However, this emphasis fails to take into account both Facebook’s position in modern society and the stakes involved for anyone who chooses to leave a network that has spent more than a decade trying to make leaving it impossible.”

In short, “delete Facebook” is just not that easy.

Again from Vox:

1) Facebook is technologically embedded within a vast web of interconnected third-party apps and social media platforms

2) For many people, using Facebook regularly is a required part of their job or education

3) Facebook is, for better and worse, a tangible tie holding many people to their communities

 

 

Why it’s hot: While the media and some in the ad industry may be quick to oversimplify and describe the current scandal as a death knell for the platform, there’s more at stake and more to consider than what’s on the surface. This could be particularly vital to keep in mind for healthcare communications, noting the above tweet referencing disease-specific diaspora.

How Women Spend Their Time

The OECD runs time-use surveys, to identify the ways women and men spend their time. It’s no surprise women do way more unpaid work than men, but what is surprising is that countries considered progressive still have significant differences in time spent doing things like chores and taking care of children.

Source: Quartz

“When it comes to time spent on well-being, including eating and drinking, sleeping, and personal care, the gap between the sexes is much smaller. Not surprisingly, French and Italian women and men spend a lot of time on how they look (it shows—they usually look great). French women take top marks for the daily time spent on personal care, with a whopping 113 minutes, compared with 70 minutes for American women.”

Why It’s Hot: 

  • Gathering and analysing this data can help quantify gender inequality issues. Understanding how and where we spend our time can help us find ways to balance the scale.

 

BuzzFeed is Your Non-judgmental Older Sister

In November, BuzzFeed unveiled its BuzzFeed media brands division which is made up of Tasty(food), Nifty (DIY), Bring Me (travel) and Goodful (wellness). This week they have added another millennial focused sub-brand to their roster, As/Is.

As/Is is a positioned to be a non-judgy beauty and style publisher, featuring “content that empowers women rather than tells them who they should be.” 

The timing around the launch couldn’t be any better amid the spotlight of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

“We want to change what the industry looks like and looks at,” says Augusta Falletta, supervising producer for As/Is. “We want people to see themselves in this content and accept themselves in a way that hasn’t been done in the past. If you are a woman who grew up reading antiquated magazines you probably have some thing you need to unpack.”

 

Why it’s too hot to hold, too much to handle:

BuzzFeed’s ultimate goal is to compete with Facebook and Google for ad dollars. Currently, their biggest revenue driver is the Tasty sub-brand which has attracted over 1.4 million unique visitors in January alone. Tasty has evolved from short videos to products now available at Walmart. BuzzFeed is hoping that in the future, As/Is will lead to a line of beauty products.

Ikea has put on a twist on customer research

In November 2017, IKEA created an innovative survey about co-living spaces. This study explores what the future of co-living will look like in 2030 when there are 1.2 billion more people on the planet with 70% living in urban areas with limited spaces and resources. IKEA’s future living research lab Space10 launched One Shared House 2030 developed by interaction designer Irene Pereya of Anton & Irene. This is an interactive take on customer research.

  • It’s an experiment: there’s an intentional pioneering spirit in the survey
  • Empathetic for its subjects: the research was inspired by a documentary Pereyra did about her own co-living experience from when she was a child; giving authenticity to the survey and creating a deep sense of empathy
  • Beauty: the research is visually beautiful with bold geometric shapes and intense colors; it’s inviting and makes you want to participate
  • Playful: the research is positioned as playful research that is designed more like an app vs. survey with music and pop-up windows
  • Setting it in the future: the survey doesn’t act you to imagine the future – it sets the whole survey in the future; it tells you it’s 2030 and the world is more crowded – allowing people to get into the right mindset

Now, the results are in! More than 7,000 people from 147 countries answered the survey. People of all ages, and are in any life situation from all countries on average:

  • Would prefer couples, single women and single men in their community
  • Are happier with access to multiple homes they could easily move between
  • Prefer members to share equal ownership of the house
  • Only want the common areas to come furnished and furnish their own space themselves
  • Want house members from different walks of life
  • Think the two biggest pros of living with others is having more ways to socialize and splitting costs and getting more bang for your buck
  • Most are interested in living in shared houses between 4 and 10 people

Why it’s hot?

The Survey: is engineered as a digital experience. Everything from the empathetic positioning to the sonic // visual design pulls you in. IKEA demonstrates that CX is something that should trickle across all aspects of your business – even market research.

The Results: show that no co-living company has really figured out the right balance between an economically feasible scale and a scale that favors human connections. It shows that there is still ripe opportunity to re-think the co-living space.

Sources:

  • https://www.inc.com/ayse-birsel/think-customer-research-is-boring-here-is-how-ikea-made-it-fun-utterly-inviting.html
  • https://www.fastcodesign.com/90161409/what-todays co-living-spaces-get-wrong
  • http://onesharedhouse.com/

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Since 2014, when the “right to be forgotten” was court ordered by the European Union, there have been 650K requests to Google to remove certain websites from its search results. This week, Google released a research paper that outlines the types of requests that were submitted.

Most of the requests were to remove five or fewer URLs from its search results. In all, Google says it received requests to remove more than 2.43 million URLs since the end of May 2014, and it has removed about 43 percent of them.

In May 2014 the Court of Justice of the European Union ordered Google and other search engines operating in the area to allow individuals to ask the sites to delist specific search results tied to a person’s name if the information is “inadequate, irrelevant or excessive”.

Some stats:

  • 89% of requests came from private individuals.
  • Social media sites, directories, news articles and government pages make up the bulk of links being requested for removal.
  • A little more than half of requests came from France, Germany and the UK

The underlying information on a third-party website is not deleted in this instance, but it becomes much more difficult to find if it no longer appears in Google’s search results. The underlying information on a third-party website is not deleted in this instance, but it becomes much more difficult to find if it no longer appears in Google’s search results.

How do they decide whether to delete or not:

“Determining whether content is in the public interest is complex and may mean considering many diverse factors, including—but not limited to—whether the content relates to the requester’s professional life, a past crime, political office, position in public life, or whether the content is self-authored content, consists of government documents, or is journalistic in nature.”

Why it’s hot: 

  • In the end, the responsibility to determine what’s in the public interest is placed on a private company, a burden, but also a huge responsibility.

Source: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/28/589411543/google-received-650-000-right-to-be-forgotten-requests-since-2014

Stick a straw in it

Strawbees, created by a Swedish start-up, is spreading STEAM one straw at a time. Pushing aside the standardization of the classroom, Strawbees emphasizes play and curiousity, encourages learning by making, and promotes experimenting and asking questions. They believe that learning is best when we have fun together!

Why it’s hot:
Their digital programming is an open-ended system that’s built on C language making it easy for beginners to learn but also allows advanced users to have fun as well. By using straws and strawbees (connectors). Their system is fully web-based instead of on an app making it work almost everywhere!

source: https://learning.strawbees.com/

World’s first baby marathon

Babies can cover a distance of more than 3 kilometers per day, according to research by New York University. Taking this data, babycare brand Huggies decided to host a Baby Marathon to raise awareness of its products in South Africa.

Four babies, nicknamed Thunder Pants, Hurricane Thando, Racin’ Grays and Danger Boy, were tasked with roaming 21km around their homes. Their progress was recorded over seven days using custom-made fitness trackers.

Huggies covered the race in four online episodes. With a fake sports commentator narrating the action, the videos highlight the effectiveness of Huggies diapers as if they were sports gear. Viewers could find out more about the products, as well as the babies and their training regimes, on a dedicated microsite

The Baby Marathon resulted in a 28.9% increase in Huggies’ diaper sales. The campaign trended within 10 mins of launch for 9 hours and attracted 8.4 million views.

Why it’s hot?
Brings the sportswear performance psychology to baby products.
By showing babies as athletes, it breaks away from the usual diaper efficacy claims.

Source: Huggies, South Africa

Diesel vs. Deisel

Diesel opened a pop-up with a twist. The shop, called Deisel, was situated on New York’s Canal Street – a location famous for its knock-off stores that sell replicas of designer products at cheap prices.

The Deisel pop-up sold a range of hats, t-shirts, jumpers and denim pieces, all branded with the knock-off logo. Prices ranged from $10 to $200: much lower than similar products found in standard Diesel stores.

But what looked like a fake pop-up was a stunt by the brand, supporting its latest campaign, Go with the Flaw. New Yorkers who ended up buying from the Deisel pop-up got their hands on real, limited-edition pieces at knock-off prices.

Why its hot?
If you can’t beat them, join them. 
The counterfeit industry was worth $460bn in 2016, according to the International Trademark Association. The fake goods culture has become so prominent that fashion brands have started referencing it in their collections and marketing activations. In 2016, luxury streetwear brand Vetements launched an ‘Official Fake’ collection and sold it in a garage space in the outskirts of Seoul. Elsewhere, luxury fashion darling Gucci became Guccy for its 2018 spring/summer resort collection – again, a nod to the rise of knock-off culture

Reply to customer reviews to drive better ratings

Overview: There’s been an upward trend in brand managers responding to customer reviews–both good and bad ones–for the last few years, particularly in the hospitality industry. Roughly one-third of all reviews receive a response, and nearly half of all hotels respond to reviews. Two professors set out to learn if by responding to reviews, customers would leave better ratings.

Methodology: The research team looked at tens of thousands of hotel reviews and responses from TripAdvisor, which uses a review scale from 1 (terrible) to 5 (excellent). The vast majority of brands only respond to reviews on TripAdvisor, leaving Expedia reviews alone. The research team looked at Expedia as the control group and TripAdvisor as the variable group in an effort to establish a causal link between responses and improved ratings.

Results: They found that when hotels start responding they receive 12% more reviews and their ratings increase, on average, by 0.12 stars. While these gains may seem modest, TripAdvisor rounds average ratings to the nearest half star: A hotel with a rating of 4.26 stars will be rounded up to a 4.5, while a hotel with 4.24 stars will be rounded down to a 4. Therefore, even small changes can have a significant impact on consumers’ perceptions. They also found that when customers see management responds to reviews, they’re less likely to leave lengthy negative reviews.

Implications: Respond to customer reviews. We’re operating in the Age of the Customer, and they expect their comments–particularly the negative ones–to receive attention. While responses can clearly help decrease negative comments and increase brand ratings, reviews also give us a wealth of information about moments that matter, pain points, etc. that exist in customers’ journeys.

Further Reading: https://hbr.org/2018/02/study-replying-to-customer-reviews-results-in-better-ratings

Haitors Step Aside

Haitors step aside, #LoveHaiti is here to showcase the beauty that is their S*** Hole country! Creative director Fabien Dodard felt the need to respond to the “s*** hole countries” statement made by the current President. Haiti ended up receiving a lot of press after the President singled them out, infuriating many and even causing an uprising of the Haitian community where they banded together and started sharing their experiences of their country. Dodard started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money so that these ads can hopefully run in Washington D.C. With a goal of $40,000 Parkour studio hopes to get these ads out there for the President to see.

Why it’s hot:
It’s in no way affiliated with the Haitian government or its tourism agency, it’s purely done by the people for its people (you can’t be Haitian on that, it’s too beautiful). They’ve also created a website in case people search the ads and want to learn more about Haiti (https://www.lovehaiti.ht/). 

Source: AdWeek

Your Leaning Tower of Pisa pics: not as hilarious as you think they are

Think your Instagram travel photos are as unique as your quirky sense of humor? Think again.

“Using public Instagram accounts and hashtags, filmmaker Oliver Kmia was able to assemble this entertaining compilation of unoriginal travel photos.”

Why it’s Hot

It’s an interesting crowdsourcing exercise for sure. It goes to show that we can find macro trends anywhere if we try hard enough.

What you cannot see is more interesting than what you can see

Skittles will not be airing its Super Bowl spot during the game this year. Instead, the film will be revealed to one selected fan whose reaction will be livestreamed on facebook.

In a mock TV broadcast video, a presenter reveals that the lucky fan is California-based teenager Marcos Menendez. The brand will release four teaser videos in the run up to the event to encourage speculation about the film, but has no plans to release the final ad to the public.

Why its hot?
Reaction videos meet Cialdini’s scarcity principle, which explains one of the most fundamental theories about human behavior: people will always want what they can’t have.
And, I think in today’s world which is addicted to sharing content, its pretty ballsy to show it to just one person and broadcast just the reaction not the content.