Tip your (non)local coffee-bean picker

We’re spoiled in the US. We get to drink premium coffee from the best farms in the world, and at a reasonable price. But many of the farm-workers involved in actually making that cortado a reality generally aren’t compensated equitably.

Some people would be willing to pay more for coffee if they knew that increase was going to support the workers who need and deserve it, but making that change through the traditional economy of producers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers is extremely difficult. Even direct-trade coffee partnerships are subject to the demands of the global coffee industry, which must feed a voracious worldwide caffeine habit.

Propina is trying to side-step the traditional model of farm-worker compensation by allowing people to support farm-workers by making a direct contribution to a farm-worker’s pension fund when they’re at the till of their favorite coffee shop. In-shop videos like the one above drive awareness while patrons wait in line to make their order. Additionally, similar to the Patreon model, patrons can become recurring contributors and get updates from the farm.

Why it’s hot

1. Using technology to bridge the gap from producer to consumer empowers money-havers to give to a cause they believe in.

2. Technology shrinking the world, making something global feel like more of a local connection.

3. We may see more of these “capitalism hacks” that attempt to use technology to circumvent systemic inequalities that otherwise seem insurmountable.

Why it’s not hot

1. Like the US server-tipping model, this idea could potentially drive down guaranteed wages for farm workers if employers see them gaining any amount of significant external compensation. In a sense, this idea only works well if it remains an insignificant portion of a farm workers livelihood.

2. This model relies on the generosity of the globally wealthy to “support” poor farm workers, instead of creating systems of equitable exchange that account for the needs of all stakeholders. Admittedly, the latter is a much more difficult challenge.

Source: Contagious

High power international pubs debut new ad product, “Pangea”

Even as exchanges and programmatic buying make it easier than ever to reach specific audiences, our team is still challenged to reach niche audiences at scale, globally, since data availability, type and quality varies so significantly from country to country. Tuesday, our partner, Rubicon Project revealed “Pangea” to us, a possible solution to one such problem, and by the next day, the news had hit the press.


The Guardian, CNN International, the Financial Times, Reuters and The Economist will soon allow marketers to use automated buying technology to purchase advertising space across their online properties, globally, through a dedicated marketplace. Further, the publishers also plan to pool data about their respective audiences to help marketers target those ads more effectively. We are exploring this new opportunity now and hope that it will allow us to reach very narrow B2B audiences (e.g., CFOs, HR Directors) in a wide variety of countries, while also benefitting from the transference of brand credibility, through association with such high quality, trusted content.

Why It’s Hot: The digital landscape is getting more and more complex, w/universes, targeting, environments and formats packaged up in endless ways, to offer advertisers the opportunity to reach prospects more effectively, at scale. And yet, oftentimes, to get that scale, there are tradeoffs made in targeting (use of modeling dilutes audience composition; audience definitions vary; data is just unavailable) or environment (expansion to long tail, remnant inventory). We are still often challenged to create the exact scenarios in which we believe our advertisers’ messages can be the most effective, ideally with efficiency. Publisher consortiums and private marketplaces, like Pangea, address this problem.

“Doritos Roulette” Campaign, Creating Viral Campaigns That Transcend Geographic Boundaries

In today’s global marketplace, sometimes the best product ideas don’t come out of this air… they come from re-purposing creativity from around the world to serve new markets. By breaking the traditional top-down product development/testing cycle, brands can develop more innovative products for the global stage more quickly.

Case and point, Doritos “Roulette.”  Doritos Roulette conceals a handful of extra spicy chips in each bag, adding a fun and social element to the eating experience.  Roulette, while developed initially for the Venezuelan market, was picked up by the global Doritos product team as a way to quickly adapt, test and launch a new product with less legwork. Adaptations for North America for instance included a branded #burngallery on Doritos.com, where people could upload selfies of their faces upon getting the hot chip.

Why It’s Hot

More than spicy chips, “Roulette” shows that global brands can learn a lot about new product development by looking internally. Years ago, product development was driven from the top-down and focused heavily on pre-launch consumer testing from a centralized group. But today, the need to deliver innovation to market quickly means that traditional testing methods may not be fit the product cycle. Instead, looking to test/develop different products globally can allow global brands like Doritos to more quickly expand its portfolio of products… in turn enabling innovation to spread across global markets more quickly if successful in lower-risk markets first.

Via FastCompany

“Donate energy to save a phone, and donate blood to save a life”



Y&R Moscow partnered with Azerbaijani cellular network Nar Mobile to create a wearable device (bracelet) called “Donor Cable,” which allows people to share power and charge phones on the go from other people with full charge. Every bracelet is inscribed with the message: “Donate energy to save a phone, and donate blood to save a life.”

Azerbaijan has the highest number of Thalassemic births in the world. Those who are born with this disease need regular blood transfusions, but unfortunately there are often shortages of blood. Nar Mobile gave away these bracelets to new Android customers and mobile blood donation centers were dispersed near Nar store locations. The campaign increased the nation’s blood donation rate 335% and demonstrates how technology and advertising can promote good around the world.

Why It’s Hot…

Not having enough charge or a charger is an inconvenience many of us experience on a daily basis. On social media people use hashtags such as #firstworldproblems to complain when this type of situation occurs.

This campaign reveals that we can use our technology to help each other in that dreaded moment when your phone dies, as well as encourage people to help people in actual need by donating blood. In an increasing tech-centered world it is refreshing to see people helping other people all over the world. The impact of a 335% increase in blood donations reveals the success of the campaign and sends a powerful message about companies using technology in order to “do good.”

The analogy between charge/power and blood is captivating because it is relatable. The trend of giving back and reminding people to use technology and resources for good is reassuring in this digital age. A similar campaign was implemented in Brazil with a partnership with Outback Steakhouse providing charging stations promoting blood donation with this same concept. The idea of sharing and giving back has now evolved with technology to be wearable and on the go, while promoting an important issue and saving lives.



HIV Test on a Phone Goes Global


Mobile Aids Test in one hour diagnosis.

This represents the forefront of the mobile/pharma intersection being pushed even further. This story speaks to a chip being able to be used to insert a drop of blood into a phone, and used to diagnose if that person has AIDS/HIV, in an hour, and to use it on a global scale for a fraction of current testing costs.

Why It’s Hot

Mobile as a tool for pharma marketers has even more opportunity, now that patients can be given test results via their phone, especially for conditions as challenging as HIV/Aids, for new diagnoses or managing current conditions.  This also speaks to the ability to generate much larger data sets, and to scale programs even further by individualizing outbound messaging and acquisition through the phone.