a glimpse at your food future via Nestle…

A kit for Nestle Japan’s nutritional drink. Photographer: Kentaro Takahashi/Bloomberg

Nestle is taking an innovative approach to product development, starting with the Japan market.

According to Quartz News – “Some 100,000 people are taking part in a company program there that gives consumers a kit to collect their DNA at home. The program also encourages them to use an app to post pictures of what they’re eating. Nestlé then recommends dietary changes and supplies specialized supplements that can be sprinkled on or mixed into a variety of food products, including teas.”

Ultimately, the goal for Nestle actually goes beyond this, to creating completely individualized products based on individuals’ DNA that could even be designed to prevent serious diseases like cancer. Quartz’s crude example is “Pizzas that can ward off Alzheimer’s disease, for instance”.

One nutritional scientist says, “This is going to be the manifestation of the future. The one-size-fits-all platform is a thing of the past.”

Why it’s hot:

First, as the largest food company in the world, Nestle could be leading the way into a new era of food production – one that’s almost completely the opposite of its heritage over the last few decades. But most importantly, it’s another example of the shift we’re finally seeing from mass production to ultra-personalized products. While using DNA as the mechanism is not without concerns, what better experience than having food and supplements created for you based on what your body needs to keep you at peak health.


Making cereal cool again

Kellogg’s cereal cafe recently re-opened at Union Square in a space five times larger than its original location in Times Square. This is Kellogg’s attempt to stem sales decline by making millennials eat cereal as all-day snacks.

The cafe is operated by two famous restauranteurs, Sandra Di Capua from Eleven Madison Park and Anthony Rudolf from Per Se.

Why it’s hot: Leveraging food’s social status to make everyday mundane cool.

Source: Eater

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

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


Going Digital to Rescue Food

About 40 percent of all food in America is wasted. Much of it ends up in landfills, where it emits dangerous-to-the-planet methane gas. At the same time, one out of eight American households don’t have enough to eat.

Wasted food. Hungry people. How do we get the two to meet?

Last month, food rescue made a leap to a national scale. Feeding America matches donors and recipients with an algorithm. A restaurant can go on Meal Connect to post an offer of, say, eight trays of fried chicken and biscuits. Meal Connect will automatically match that offer with the closest food pantry or soup kitchen that can get it up right away.

Feeding America

Meal Connect makes it possible to rescue prepared food and smaller quantities of food — and to do so quickly. “This allows us to provide real hot meals — virtually at the same time that someone coming off the street and paying for it would get it,” she said.


Why It’s Hot
When the scale and reach of digital is brought to bear on social issues, huge problems become more surmountable.

“That Place Where Coke Tastes So Good”

McDonald’s new commercials don’t appear on the brand’s YouTube, Facebook or Twitter pages. And they never even mention the name McDonald’s, preferring instead to name-check Coca-Cola and Google.

It’s all part of a sly campaign by Omnicom agency We Are Unlimited to appeal to teens and twentysomethings, who prefer word-of-mouth and their own research about products and brands to corporate messaging, according to a writeup of the campaign in The New York Times.

The campaign does, however, feature a celebrity, the actress Mindy Kaling, who in several TV spots urges viewers to Google “that place where Coke tastes so good.” Kaling is wearing a yellow dress against a red background in the minimalist ads, but beyond those McDonald’s brand colors, she doesn’t actually say the name of the fast-food chain.


Why It’s Hot

  • This campaign knows its audience. By allowing its target breathing room to do their own research, McDonald’s maintains some authenticity. With a wink.
  • Aligning with an influencer is always a strong move.
  • Bold move by McDonalds to purposefully leave out its own name while name dropping another brand. Win win for both Coke and that fast food chain where it tastes so good.

If salad ingredients and robots made love…

It would be a company called Chowbotics. They just landed $5 mil in Series A, further developing the food service robotic industry.

Its flagship product is called Sally, a salad-making robot that uses 20 different food canister to prepare and serve more than 1,000 types of salad. Number of pilot customers have signed on- restaurants, co-working spaces, and corporate cafeterias.

Benefits :

  • Sally-made salads can be precisely measured – know exactly how many calories are going into your food.
  • Data-driven platform can measure both popularity of specific recipes, # of caloric intake, increase or decline of demand on ingredients  – all that can help both healthcare and the food industry make better informed decisions.


what we should eat is defined by our DNA

A startup called Habit is providing personalized nutrition/diet plans and meals based on customers’ DNA. For $299, with few drops of blood and saliva, scientists and nutritionists can tailor nutritional advice specified to your biological make up – what food your body craves, rejects, etc.

Once customers’ metabolic and DNA analyses are gathered, Habit also recommends individual’s health goals through its Nutrition Intelligence Engine algorithm to place them into one of seven Habit types. Each type has different plan specifies the ideal ratio of carbs, protein, and fat in each meal in addition to the TYPES of carbs, protein, and fat their body will respond best to.

Meal plans and access to health coach are further complemented by personalized meals that are delivered fresh to your door – for extra cost of course. Working with biometric devices such as Fitbit, participants can use their devices to monitor their progress and enable Habit staff to input any changes to plans/meals as needed.

Why it’s HOT:

  • this is a business model around hyper personalization, based on individual biological make up, can’t get more personal that this.
  • there will be the growth of converging science/nutrition/data to create consumer facing products and services.
  • Habit was valued at $210 bil by Morgan Stanley Research for its meal-delivery services – with the potential to disrupt and clearly differentiate itself from Blue Apron and other food delivery services.

Swipe right for bacon

Not only can you swipe right or left on your smartphone for a date, now you can swipe for food. In a new app called Tender, users swipe to indicate whether they like a particular recipe.  Swipe right to indicate yes and the recipe gets saved to your file, which can then be accessed by a menu which allows you to filter your search. Swipe left and it disappears.

Modeled after Tinder, the photos show delicious food and inspire users to save them or not. “Food is about more than just calories, it is art,” claims Tender, as reported on psfk.com. This is what inspired the team behind Tender to create an app that will make it very easy for users to find the most beautiful and mouth-watering culinary creations on the internet.”

The app is simple to use. Only available through the Google Play Store or The App Store, you can sign in or log in via Facebook. Then let your culinary fancy take over and start saving beautiful recipes like Bacon Jam or Citrus Pulled Pork Tacos.

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Why It’s Hot

Marrying food and a swipe left/right interface made popular by Tinder means this app is incredibly simple to use and appeals to one of our basic instincts — food.  Look for the swipe application to become even more popular due to its simplicity and ease.  And put food in any equation and you’ve got instant success.

Nature vs Technology

In an age where the world has gone almost completely digital, granola brand Nature Valley wants its consumers to #RediscoverNature. In their latest advertisement they ask three different generations what they did for fun as children and this created quite the storm on their YouTube channel.

In the beginning of the video we get to hear the grandparents speak about the different things they played growing up. This was a technology less era where nature played a huge role. Some spoke of blueberry picking and fishing  Then the parents give their account that also uses nature as the background like playing hide and seek and baseball.

When its the children’s turn to describe what they do to have fun the answers were a stark contrast from what their seniors experienced. The children talk about technology and how it is the center of most their free time. One boy said that when he plays video games it feels as though no else is around, he is just in the game. One girl even said she would die without her tablet and states that she usually is on it from 3-4 hours a day.

The point of view that Nature Valley made that this generation doesn’t understand nature and the idea of playing outside and that technology is slowly taking us away from off line fun has been a real decisive line and many of the comments on YouTube have expressed this sentiment.

Why its Hot?

Working in the digital space sometimes it raises the question are we too digital?




Uber delivers

Two announcement this week about Uber expanding their territory:

1. UberEats has officially launched in four cities, including the Barcelona and Los Angeles trial areas as well as two new burgs, Chicago and New York City and that promises to deliver meals to customers in 10 minutes or less.

Uber drivers will go to certain approved restaurants, pick up several bags of a single kind of food — say a special sandwich, or a gourmet salad – and then deliver it to anyone who has requested it from an Uber app. Uber will offer a rotating menu of select items from a handful of restaurants in Chicago and New York and charges a flat delivery fee of $3 and $4, respectively, which goes directly to the drivers.

2.  TechCrunch has uncovered documents revealing that Uber is currently testing a system where high-end retailers can use Uber vehicles to make same-day deliveries to impatient customers. According to the site’s sources, Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany’s are all in discussions to sign up when the program launches. It looks as if the eventual goal is that all Uber drivers will be able to take both human passengers and commercial cargo, with all of the information routed through the same mobile app.

TechCrunch goes on to speculate that Uber could be aiming to create a rival to Amazon and eBay that leverages the fact that local stores have stock available on shelves. That way, prospective buyers can spot an item, order it and know that it’ll be transported across town in an instant.

Sources: Mashable,  Engaget

Why It’s Hot: Uber has been a company to watch — what will they do next? These expansions make a lot of sense given their core capability, and show an interesting understanding of the urban market.

This 3D Food-Printing Genie Can Make Your Every Wish Come True

A new kind of food processing machine called the Genie can make personalized meals with the press of a button, ready for eating in less than a minute.

The appliance includes the single-portion capsules, ranging from couscous to cake and muffins, and the machine that prints the ingredients into edible foods. Genie can even consider dietary restrictions, including gluten-free and and vegetarian options.

Read more via No Camels.

Why It’s Hot: 3D printing is cool but 3D printing food is hot. We have already seen 3D printers that can make chocolate and print pancakes, but Genie expands this idea to make more personalized food and make it instantly. In addition to the fun tech aspect, Genie also seeks to eliminate food waste, as well as curb obesity by controlling consumers’ meal portions.

Fun technology, plus environmental and human benefits sounds like a piece of too-good-to-be-true instant cake to me. The company is already seeing public interest and are in the mass production stage for corporate clients, arranging thousands of orders from Israel (where it was founded), the U.S. and Greece.

Burger King Uses Sleepy Subway Passengers to Build Buzz for Breakfast

South Korea is one of the most sleep-deprived countries out there. And Seoul is known for epic work commutes. So people doze during their morning subway ride – the problem is how to wake up in time for their stop.

Burger King just ran a small, targeted campaign in Seoul with a quirky answer to that dilemma. The campaign offered sleep masks to commuters at five major stations in Seoul. Written across them was a message asking other commuters to wake them up at their particular stop. There were two coupons for free coffee inside the masks, so people could use one themselves and share the other with the person who woke them.

Burger King’s goal was to boast morning sales since they were facing heavy competition from McDonald’s morning menu. After running this campaign in Seoul morning sales at participating stores rose 18.7% in the month from the starting date, Feb. 23, Burger King said. And social-media chatter about the brand jumped 44.5% in the same period.


Why It’s Hot

Burger King’s agency took a very simple observation of how tired people were during their morning commute and used data to back this up 1) South Korean’s on average get less sleep when compared to other countries and 2) South Korean’s commute an average of one hour to work each way. They used these insights to create a buzz-worthy campaign that actually delivered on more breakfast sales for the brand.


Turn Breakfast into Art with PancakeBot

PancakeBot is the world’s first pancake printer. A Norway-based American maker of an earlier DIY LEGO Pancake Bot is at it again, this time crowdfunding a smarter batter dispenser that 3D prints drawings in pancake batter and cooks them in the order the lines were drawn, resulting in pancake art.

Learn more and watch a demo video to see how PancakeBot works via Tech Crunch.

Why It’s Hot: Perhaps the only thing better than eating pancakes is getting to design them too. PancakeBot’s success with its Kickstarter campaign proves that consumers are enthusiastic about their pancakes – and technology.

While Tech Crunch notes that 3D printing of food is still a niche market, we’ve already seen other edible applications of 3D printing technology. Humans need to eat to survive, and suffice it to say that most enjoy it. Printing and physically designing food makes eating that much more fun. We’ve seen the lengths of 3D printing being tested in other fields, from treating brain tumors to manufacturing automobiles, but PancakeBot provides a unique user experience by enabling – and requiring – consumers’ participation. We’ll have to stay tuned to see what 3D printing will do next.

McDonald’s Refreshes ‘I’m Lovin’ It’

McDonald’s pushes global harmony hard in its new brand campaign, which refreshes the long-running “I’m lovin’ it” tagline by putting more focus on the lovin’. The spot is called “Archenemies,” and features pop-culture foes suddenly finding peace.

McDonald’s has never really leaned that hard into the idea of love— often focusing on the “I’m” and “it” parts of the line instead of the “lovin’ ” part. But the brand thinks the time is right for a shift.

“We recognize, and our customers do too, all the negativity that surrounds daily life and we are choosing to celebrate lovin’ more,” it says in a statement. “McDonald’s is in a unique position to use its scale to bring back the positivity with more uplifting content and conversations in the lovin’ spirit.”

The brand feels like it’s on to something here. The refresh will include new uniforms, new packaging, new signage in restaurants and a new focus on being more responsive in social media—which is in line with the transparency campaign it’s been running lately.

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Why It’s Hot

McDonald’s, a brand that still doesn’t allow fans to post on their Facebook timeline, is finally taking a step back and understanding the importance of transparency, authenticity and actually listening to what its consumers are saying. The fast-food chain is moving from a philosophy of billion-served to billion-heard,  in order to evolve with customers. As the brand is experiencing a difficult time – declines in sales and facing a new type of more ecologically minded customer – can this brand transformation be its saving grace? It sounds like the brand has a few tricks up its sleeve, especially with a return to the Super Bowl with a 60-second commercial that “will reveal a big idea.” Only time will tell if the fast food chain can turn “lovin'” into sales.

Now Your Coke Is As Unique As You Are

Coca Cola’s Share A Coke campaign showed that the soda brand seemed to really understand its drinkers – especially people with popular first names or those with the creativity to make something out of Coke cans. Now Coca-Cola Israel has expanded on this by creating a campaign with 2 million one-of-a-kind bottle designs.

Watch the video below for more information.

Via AdWeek.

Why It’s Hot: We’ve previously discussed the power of product packaging for a variety of brands. Coca-Cola, like many others, uses its packaging to engage consumers; the “Share A Coke” campaign felt personal, even though as AdWeek points out, it wasn’t personal at all. (If you’re able to find your name printed on a label, chances are that it probably isn’t too unique. Sorry to burst your carbon dioxide bubble.) The Diet Coke campaign, on the other hand, doesn’t leave anyone out and its designs alone are works of art.

I’m a fan of anything that doesn’t require finding “Lili” on a keychain – or in this case, a bottle label. Even as someone who can never find anything with my name on it, I think that a nice-looking keepsake bottle is a lot cooler than seeing my name on a label.

British Airways matches in-flight food to music playlists

British Airways is due to start matching its in-flight meals with specific music tracks in order to counteract the fact that a person’s ability to taste is reduced by 30% while in the air. These pairings are based on a study that suggests some tunes can influence your taste buds, and they aim to help bring out the flavor of the food.

The airline’s new “Sound Bite” menu will be available on the “Rock and Pop” audio channel on long-haul flights from November. This 13-track playlist features music that has been carefully selected to go with each item on the menu, with the intention of enhancing the in-flight meal experience.

A study conducted by Professor Charles Spence and his team at Oxford University in the UK suggests that certain music can influence a person’s taste buds. This has been labelled ‘Sonic Seasoning’, with specific tracks seemingly able to make food seem up to 10% more sweet or salty.

British Airways’ chef Mark Tazzioli adds that the findings of this study to his list of considerations (which also included taste being altered at altitude) in order to create the new special edition menu. The “Sound Bite” playlist includes Scottish artist Paolo Nutini’s “Scream (Funk My Life Up)” to go with the Scottish salmon starter, Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars” for a classic British main meal, Madonna’s “Ray of Light” for desserts, and “Nessun Dorma” by Placido Domingo to go with a cup of coffee.

The reasoning behind these tracks being selected were that Scottish musicians enhance the providence of Scottish foods, British music should be paired with British food, high tones boost the sweet flavors of puddings, and a tenor’s low tones suit the bitterness of coffee.


Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot

It’s nice to see some innovation in customer service in the airline industry, and this “science” is quite interesting. It seems a little unnecessary, but maybe if you enjoy your flight just a little more, it’s worth it. There may be an opportunity (or potential hipster trend?) to try this in the mainstream restaurant industry as well.

Give a 1-Star Review, Get 25% Off Your Meal

As the old saying goes, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Especially in today’s social media world, we can all recognize that this rings true. Botto Bistro, an Italian restaurant in San Francisco, is no exception to the rule. The restaurant has created its own buzz as it seeks the worst Yelp rating in the Bay Area.

Botto Bistro invites patrons to not only share their dining experience on Yelp, but to “hate” the restaurant on the site. Botto will reward those who rate them poorly with 25% off of any pizza.

Owner David Cerretini says that his 1-star scheme is the “best business move” he has made in years. With saucy menu items (pun intended), witty wait staff and Yelp reviews to match, Botto Bistro plays into their tarnished image.

Read more via Adweek.

Why It’s Hot: It’s a no-brainer that if an establishment garners poor reviews online, consumers won’t be willing to try it out and it will likely go out of business. Botto Bistro flips this logic on its head. By creating social chatter around its notoriously bad service, sarcastic staff and over-charging for things like a glass of water and encouraging patrons to post honest reviews, the restaurant uses its “bad” publicity to its advantage. The social conversation around Botto Bistro inevitably creates curiosity, bringing new patrons in the door to check it out. The restaurant boasts on its website:

Botto is officially the worst restaurant on Yelp!
Thank you to everyone who helped us acheive our one star rating!


I’d give them a one-star rating for a spelling error on their website, but that’s just me.

Product Packaging & Social Media: A Match Made in Heaven?

Many brands are integrating their product packaging with social media campaigns, in an effort to increase buzz and engagement. As a sort of “replacement” for guerrilla marketing, this new integration creates a powerful connection through “excellent product packaging design, especially when that design incorporates an interactive social aspect that taps into a larger social media strategy to create campaigns that are tangible and interactive at every level,” as SmartBrief explains.

Coke_Klontz Klontz_Pepsi

Some examples of this new trend include:

  • Coca Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign, which replaces the company logo on it’s super iconic bottles with any one of the 250 most popular first names in the country. It instantly creates a personal connection for customers, who are then motivated to post on social media/share photos of their personalized drink. People can also visit a microsite to check inventory of local stores for drinks with their names on the label, and enter to win prizes using the #ShareACoke hashtag.
  • Dole’s #PeelTheLove campaign on their bananas uses the tiny sticker on a batch of bananas to give a witty one-word suggestion for using or consuming the banana, and a simple QR code provides access to a wealth of recipe ideas online so that customers will always know what to do with their bunches. Despite the use of the ever-disappointing QR code, Dole has come up with a creative way to entice people to interact with the banana provider.
  • Pepsi’s augmented-reality SuperBowl sponsorship uses the app Blippar (QR code 2.0?) to enable customers to visit a microsite to enter sweepstakes to win tickets, and edit themselves into a picture with NFL players to share on social media – all by “blipping” their can. To ensure customers would know how to engage with it, Pepsi made their entire can into an instruction manual, taking users through each step.

Read more detail on SmartBrief’s Smart Blog.

Why It’s Hot | It’s interesting to see how brands are finding new ways to increase engagement, aside from just creating advertising campaigns and social media. What better way to further push consumers to engage with brands and share their interaction with brands than to push them to do it directly on the packaging? Packaging will forever be an ultimate salesman, and aside from helping convince consumers to buy a product, now it’s helping encourage consumers to extend their relationships with brands.

Auntie Anne Launches New App for Pretzel Lovers

As part of their national loyalty program, Auntie Anne developed a new app called “My Pretzel Perks” that rewards loyal customers with points that can be redeemed for free food, discounts and merchandise. Consumers receive a free pretzel for signing up and can then start earning points that accumulate toward prizes and rewards. Some of the rewards include: 20 points with every visit,10 points with every $1 spent, and a FREE pretzel item every 300 points.

My Pretzel Perks plays a key role in how Auntie Anne’s distributes and segments coupons  by using purchase behavior to segment offers toward different groups of consumers.

Auntie Anne Pretzel App

Why It’s Hot? People love food, especially free food. As a result, they are more likely to engage with food brands that reward customer loyalty with what they really want: more of the food they love but FREE. This changes the customer experience: everytime a loyal customer buys a pretzel, they will look forward to the time when they don’t. This means they’ll be back for more. Food brands who want to improve customer loyalty can follow suit and change the customer experience to make it a more rewarding and goal-oriented experience.

Food Delivery at the Push of a Button

Hungry? Too tired to dig through a pile of take-out menus to pick something? Now you only have to push a button and food is delivered right to your door – easy as a pizza pie!

Five teens from Brooklyn have created a Push for Pizza app to simplify food delivery. While apps like Seamless already help speed up the process of ordering delivery, Push for Pizza makes it even easier by eliminating the hassle of combing through extra menus and seemingly endless options.

Upon launching, the app prompts users to plug in their address and payment information (to pre-pay for the pizza, delivery and tip), and then connects them to local pizzerias. To simplify ordering even further, users are only offered two menu options – cheese or pepperoni.


Read more about the app from Tech Crunch.

Why It’s Hot: Push for Pizza is yet another example of technology being used to cut corners and make our lives a little bit easier. The team has turned a no-brainer idea of a mobile-friendly pizza delivery service into a practical, profitable business. Such a simple concept can be applied to all kinds of food, and maybe eventually, even other services.

Play With Your Food, Not With Your Smartphone

America’s beloved neighborhood grill and bar is taking the phone stacking game to a new level.

Applebee’s recently filed a trademark application for “No Tech Tuesday” to limit the use of devices at its restaurants. This comes as the chain plans to place tablets at its tables to facilitate ordering, paying and even playing games from diners’ seats by the end of this year. As Adweek suggests, the restaurant chain might be anticipating a tech backlash (as a result of the added technology at the table) and is planning an alternative option.

If you’re looking for me on Tuesday night, I’ll be at Applebee’s.

Why It’s Hot: The conversation is dominated by new technology developments and it seems like everything around us has gone digital, but we’re now seeing some businesses start to go against it. Applebee’s is providing an alternative to the constant innovation we see, raising the question: When will we have had enough of tech-oriented experiences? That time could be coming sooner than we thought. Until then, other brands might follow Applebee’s lead and do away with technology  – even for just one day a week.


Wear Your Dinner as a #Chickenista

A creative from Kentucky’s Cornett is taking a new spin on one popular Kentucky creation by teaming with local artisans to produce a unique line of jewelry. The new invention consists of actual Kentucky Fried Chicken bones dipped into 14kt gold and strung onto necklaces. So far, a limited 20 “Gold Kentucky Fried Chicken Wang Bone Necklaces” have been released since the campaign began.

The campaign was created independently of KFC but the brand is embracing it, using the hashtag #Chickenistas.

Read more about the campaign and chicken-bone-turned-jewelry process on the agency’s site here and check out the video below.

Why It’s Hot:  Brands are welcoming independent entitles using their products for completely different, new purposes. In the future, KFC and perhaps other food companies might start selling bones and other products to artisans as a new way to raise profits and build more buzz around the brand. More chicken for everyone! Sorry, vegetarians.

Source: MediaBistro’s AgencySpy

Brach’s candies introduces a virtual taste test

Head on over to Brach’s website and you’ll discover the brand new virtual taste test.  

What you do is you select a product, and then see a digital metaphor that showcases what the candies taste like through music and graphics. After selecting a description, you move on to the next one until the virtual taste test ends with a completed phrase you made up from the selected word.Then you are given the option to share with friends on Facebook or Twitter and receive a coupon for $1 off any two Brach’s items.


Why it’s hot:

As technology moves us to smell-o-vision and other virtual sensory experiences, sometimes we forget beautifully shot ingredients and evocative music could stir our emotional desires for what we love – candy.  In addition, the share and couponing functionality propels us to take action.


McDonald’s Has a New Mascot

As if Ronald McDonald wasn’t scary enough, McDonald’s introduced it’s new mascot this past Monday and it’s nothing short of terrifying (see below). And although McDonald’s says “Happy” was created to bring “fun and excitement” to its children’s meals, social media thinks otherwise.


We’re all aware how ridiculous the internet can be, and this week the people didn’t fail to bring the hilarity. From comments like “It’s the meal that eats you” and “I didn’t want to sleep tonight anyways, it’s cool,” it’s quite clear McDonald’s fell short in their approach.


However, in the midst of people hating on the animated red Happy Meal box, with its rows of large white teeth and beady eyes, McDonald’s is set to introduce Happy to the world. McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa McComb said, “Social media is a great place to have a conversation and express an opinion, but not all comments reflect the broader view.”

Only time will tell if Happy bids well with McDonald’s global customer base. For now, though, have at it internet!

McDonald’s Turns Fries’ Packaging into Virtual Reality Soccer Field

The World Cup is almost upon us, and official sponsor McDonald’s is launching a huge global effort that features new fry boxes that allow you to play and an augmented-reality app called McDonald’s Gol!

Beginning May 26, the chain will — for the first time — change its medium and large fry boxes globally for the promotion, offering 12 different World-Cup-themed designs featuring work from artists commissioned from around the world. The fry boxes will also serve as the entry point for an augmented-reality game on the app.

The app essentially turns the packaging into a virtual reality soccer field, where players try to flick a ball into the fry box, which serves as a goal. The game also uses other real-world objects in view as a way to bounce the ball off them to avoid increasingly difficult obstacles. Points are scored by bouncing off or moving the ball around the obstacles. Points are tallied by country, and players can share their scores via social media.


First promo commercial:

Why it’s HOT:

Seeing one of the biggest and most recognizable brands embrace the World Cup by updating their packaging to include an interactive augmented reality game is VERY HOT. Especially knowing that this is the first time in McDonald’s history that they’ve changed their french fries packaging makes it even more special. As a consumer, I’m going to go to McDonald’s and try out this game on my own smartphone! As far as McDonald’s is concerned, this is exactly what they wanted.

Taco Bell vs McDonald’s Egg McMuffin

Taco Bell is going after McDonald’s signature menu item with a commercial portraying Egg McMuffin fans as hopelessly outdated.

“Breakfast in general has been pretty boring—there hasn’t been a lot of innovation out there,” Taco Bell CMO Chris Brandt told TIME. “But people are in their routine in the morning and we needed something to disrupt that routine.”

Grow Organic Food at Home with Hydroponics

Eating organic food has become a priority for many Americans. Through technology and innovation from students at MIT, you can grow what you want when you want in your very own kitchen or monitor your farm through the custom Grove OS.

According to the website: “Grove was founded at MIT in 2013 on the principal that everybody on the planet deserves access to fresh, locally grown food. Our mission is to distribute agriculture to the regional, community, and individual levels. We build products and services which power local and personal food production by making efficient farming methods simpler, accessible and economical.”

Read more: Grove.

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Why It’s Hot

Now you can monitor the growth of your garden through your iPhone and also monitor the growth directly in your kitchen. The marriage of technology and utility to solve a problem here is outstanding and the possibilities for future iterations are endless.

Shock Top beer breaks out with new campaign

Shock Top will be launching its first TV ad campaign with a national buy that will get play during the NCAA’s March Madness college basketball tournament, plus a digital ad takeover of ESPN.com. This indicates a shift in spending by A-B Inbev on this “craft beer” brand, to compete specifically with Blue Moon, which has significantly higher awareness. Overall, A-B Inbev plans to more than triple spending on the brand in 2014.

Shock Top’s campaign features video that was originally shot for digital use as part of a contest that asked fans to share their dreams. The brand picked several dream submissions and paid to make them happen, shooting video of several. The new ads make use of Shock Top’s ongoing “Live Life Unfiltered” tagline, which is play on the unfiltered brew, as well as a way to push an adventurous personality for the brand.

Source: AdAge

Why It’s Hot

It is interesting to see how the big breweries are tapping into the “craft and specialty beer” category — which tends to be associated with smaller, local, quality brews. As the craft beer boom continues and tastes change, companies like AB-Inbev and MillerCoors will have to shift as well. As they do, and big marketing dollars move into craft beer, it will be interesting to see what local breweries do to compete….Or, is “big craft” a category in itself that does not market to the same audience as the more experimental, aficionado clientele of craft brews today?

This is also hot because I DID THIS!:

Chipotle’s new TV series – Farmed and Dangerous

Farmed and Dangerous, a satirical television series produced by Chipotle, premiered February 17th on Hulu. It’s no surprise that the program has outraged farmers and agricultural groups and is on the heels of the ongoing concerns on how animals are raised, the safety of genetically modified crops (GMOs) and the public outcry over “pink slime.”


Can you view the trailer here: Farmed and Dangerous Trailer

This is not the company’s first foray into addressing these issues. Check out last year’s “Back to the Start”, which has been viewed over 8.2 million times, here: Back to the Start and The Scarecrow, viewed over 12.1 million times, here: The Scarecrow

Why It’s Hot
Brands need new ways to break through to consumers and through Unbranded Entertainment, as it is being dubbed, is the next revolution in connection advertising with the ultimate goal of getting us (as consumers) to think about the way we live our lives, forge an emotional connections to brands and get us talking (& sharing) to stimulate buzz.