From Virtual Trees to Living Forests

Ant Forest is an app-based game that is sweeping across China. The game rewards users with green energy points for choosing low-carbon activities like taking public transportation or using less plastic. Once players have earned enough green energy, they can plant a virtual tree in Ant Forest. For every tree planted in the virtual game, a real tree is planted in rural China. The game’s creator says one-hundred million live trees have been planted so far.

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Why it’s hot: An idea that works like real life gratification of social changes and purpose-driven initiatives that would work well with the new generations of consumers.

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Ally’s attempt to hijack Super Bowl ads…

Instead of spending money on an ad, Ally Bank created an Augmented Reality game for this year’s Super Bowl. As explained in the video above, while other brands spent big money on the big game, Ally’s “Big Save” app allowed users to compete to see who could grab the most virtual money, after identifying what they were saving money toward. The game allegedly only activated during commercial breaks, and users would tap and drag AR dollar bills into a small AR piggy bank. The user with the highest score / most virtual money saved got a real cash money prize to be used toward their real-life savings goal.

Why It’s Hot:

Without knowing how successful it was, their different approach to the Super Bowl as a marketing moment is interesting. On one hand, it’s nice to see them trying to do some good with their budget. It also gave them specific insight into the things users were saving for that they could use later for marketing or to create products addressing those things. On the other, it seems a very noisy time to try and get people to ignore friends, family, and entertainment to play a game, albeit one with a nice prize. Either way, you can appreciate their attempt to hijack peoples’ attention during the commercial breaks coveted by other marketers.

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Tamagotchis are back!

[insert siren emoji here] Big news: Bandai just released a new line of Tamagotchis to celebrate the iconic toy’s 20th anniversary! These little buddies are very similar to their original predecessors, 256-pixel screen and all – the only real difference is that they’re about 20% smaller than the classic version. There are six shell designs to choose from, and the digital pets are just as needy and adorable as you remember them being. Have fun!

Why it’s hot: The trend of reviving 90s-era tech & toys continues! Nokia re-released its classic 3310 mobile phone earlier this year, and Nintendo released a NES Classic Edition last year. Is Game Boy next??!!

Read more: Gizmodo | Engadget

Endgame – Blending Print, Film, Gaming, and a Global Treasure Hunt

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(image The Verge)

Author James Frey released his latest novel, Endgame, on October 7th. It holds an elaborate code, directing readers towards a key hidden somewhere in the real world. That key will open a case containing a half million dollars in gold. This is the premise of Endgame, which is not so much a book as a grand attempt at a story that will span across every piece of conceivable media. The author has teamed up with some of the largest names in media (Google, Fox, Harper Collins) to tell a multi-platform story that incorporates books, movies, social media, TV, mobile, online video, search, image results and online virtual worlds.

In the words of Author James Frey: “It was conceived as a project that would exist across multiple platforms, and that the story would be told in books, novellas, games, film, and TV. [We also knew it] would have a social media presence, and exist in places – such as search results and mapping coordinates and YouTube – that aren’t traditionally mediums for storytelling and writing.”

via Publishers Weekly

Why It’s Hot

As the worlds of media continue to collide and people’s expectations evolve to become channel agnostic, stories no longer have to remain silo’d to specific types of media. Stories can now be merged across a tapestry of interwoven pieces of media and technology. Each of which can tell pieces of the story which are unique to that medium but are only parts that make up a complete, multi-faceted story experience. Being everywhere all the time used to be an impossible task to accomplish, but these days technology is capable of doing it and in this case, inviting people to be apart of the much larger picture.