live someone else’s story with unrd…

In a world that’s exploded with media channels, we have many ways to tell or experience a story in 2019. Even many immersive ways. But a new app called unrd has added a fresh one to the mix.

The app allows you to choose from a number of characters, and instead of just reading a story, or watching a video or film, your phone essentially becomes that characters phone, and you experience their story as if it was happening to you.

Per its website, unrd bills itself as “real-time fiction”, and claims it allows you to “live someone else’s life and receive messages, videos, photos and audio messages – and even watch them LIVE on video.”

Why it’s hot:

In a way, we’re all already “experiencing” each others lives through social media and other messages on our phones. But while our friends lives might or might not be interesting, it’s nothing like “becoming” one of them in a crazy situation, such as “You have the phone of a missing girl. Amy Morris disappears after a night out with friends.Over 7 days receive texts, photos and video messages and discover the truth behind her disappearance.” It’s interesting how unrd has not only built a new storytelling platform, but also one that seemingly builds off our proclivity for following other peoples “stories” on our phones.


google maps adds wait times…

Knowing when a local business is busy is helpful, knowing how long you would have to wait if you went is even better. Enter Google.

Google’s Search and Maps apps, and now provide users estimated wait times for both local restaurants and grocery stores (see above).

Now, you’ll be able to see how long would you wait if you went right now, or when there’s a shorter wait if that’s what you need. It also lets you know when peak times are so you can avoid them, or prepare yourself for the pain. Here’s how it works:

“Google’s new restaurant wait times also comes from the aggregated and anonymized data from users who opted in to Google Location History – the same data that powers popular times, wait times and visit duration.”

Why it’s hot:

Forever, one of the first questions when you have to go to the grocery store or a restaurant, is – I wonder how long I’ll have to wait. With one simple new feature, Google has removed this age-old mystery. They’re not the first to do it for restaurants, but considering how many people use Google to find one, they certainly have the power to affect the most users.

HQ Provides a Glimpse Into the Future of Mobile Gaming and Live Video

Everyone reading this is playing HQ, right? It’s pretty amazing. A live trivia game is hardly anything new – dating back to not only television but radio! – but it’s very well done. And it feels like one of those things that is right place/right time.

HQ is a new live mobile trivia game for iOS from the creators of the late short-form video app Vine. Each day, at 3PM and 9PM ET, the app comes to life for around 13 minutes. A well-dressed host — either New York-based comedian Scott Rogowsky or British on-air personality Sharon Carpenter — then rattles off 12 multiple choice questions live on camera, while a busy live text chat flows at the bottom of the screen. Answer every question correctly and you’ll be one of a small handful of people that splits a $250 prize pool.

Why It’s Hot:

So much of technology in recent years has been about allowing us to connect on our own time, remotely. Perhaps counterintuitively, HQ works because it forces everyone to be playing the game at the exact same time. It’s thrilling in a way that no other social service has been able to provide. It challenges the “on demand” trend and focuses on getting everyone participating to the same thing, at the same time.


Greatest Ikea hack of all time?

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

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

Source: The Drum

Be Opportunistaholic

Snowballs, sledding and hot chocolate soon becomes Netflix, comfort food and wine.

While frantic storm preppers were bum rushing stores up and down the East Coast in anticipation of winter storm Stella this week, Pernod Ricard (marketer of spirit brands Absolut, Chivas Regal, Jameson, Glenlivet et al) was opportunistically pushing them not-so-subtle reminders to consider stocking up on booze.

The brand sprung to action ahead of the storm, pulling API data around nasty weather reports in 10 local markets to dynamically target consumers with online purchase deals and cocktail recipes.

In a highly regulated category, the use of data targeting to focus content is still new. Seeing the opportunity in consumer trends and impacting moments that influence decisions, the brand’s aim was to better engage their consumers and provide more direct means to purchase in moments when demand is spiking.

The program was launched for four of its brands, identifying and targeting consumers with social content on Facebook and Instagram and search content on Google. The content also drove to alcohol delivery service Minibar, encouraging customers to schedule their deliveries before the storm.

However the plan was not powered by low pressure systems alone. The strategy combined demo (A21+), behavioral  and micro-contextual targeting based on hundreds of qualifiers (keywords) related to the brands AND the weather, such as “heavy snow,” “freezing rain,” “sleet,” “extreme wind” and “violent storm.” So, for example, if someone searched “whiskey delivery” or “winter cocktails” on Google, the ad could serve.

The focus of the creative in each instance was weather-centric. 

Why Its Hot:

Fusing occasion-driven engagement with real-time conditions to influence action instead of using traditional brand-driven engagement is not a new concept (Oreo’s tweet during SBXLVII’s blackout is a prime example) – but it also takes precise targeting, being relevant with your audience and providing something of perceived value. Sometimes that value can be advice (stay home, don’t drive), a promotion (free next day delivery, save 15%), useful information (recipes, how-to’s) or a simple reminder…like given this forecast, you might need more liquid happy at the ready.

More on the campaign here:

Canon Helps You Perfect Your Next Instagram Pic!

Last Monday Canon set up pop-up digital billboards around the most photographed places in New York City, to help people get the perfect shot.

The outdoor campaign features trucks that pop open to display digital screens in three of the city’s most-photographed areas: the Flatiron District, Central Park South and the Brooklyn Bridge . Canon is also running the ads on billboards at Penn Plaza near Madison Square Garden. The digital billboards pull in 200 tips from data gathered from social networks, traffic updates and weather information. This data determines the billboard’s creative which can swapped to relate to current conditions. This real time functionality will evolve through out the campaign based on the different conversations taking place on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

CanonSome examples of this real time functionality is that people going to to see a Knicks/Rangers’ game will see sport related messaging, but this Thursday during the Billy Joel concert, people will be receive messaging on how to take the perfect concert pic.

Other advice includes how to shoot into bright sunlight in the middle of the day, take a picture in the rain and fog, and shoot the perfect sunset.

A team of five people will also be on-site to give people tips on how to take pictures, and people can also test out Canon cameras.

Using the hashtag #RealTimeTips, people who post on social media will be directed to, a scrolling website filled with 100 tips for photographers like “how to create a double exposure.” Each one is illustrated with cinemagraphs and GIFs.

Why its hot!

  • Digital campaign that integrates social and billboard tactics
  • Real time messaging that can change creative based on trends
  • Example of brands not focusing on the product but inserting themselves into a larger conversation

See the world in real-time, from your couch

Live streaming app, Periscope, has added mapping functionality to its app, allowing you to dip in and out of other peoples’ live streams around the world. Watch people chat in front of the Eiffel Tower for a moment, then switch to watching people prepare breakfast at a restaurant in Sao Paolo and then on to the clubs in Tokyo. TV may have initially brought the world into your living room, in the form of scripted television or journalistic reporting, but Periscope brings the world into your living room, as experienced by real people at this very moment in time. Magic!

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Why It’s Hot: Technology breaks down walls between strangers and allows us to dive right into the worlds of our target audiences, without introduction, planning or special permission required! While in its infancy, this type of sharing could evolve and drive the next iteration of “social listening”, allowing us to see, hear and feel our target audiences’ relevant experiences.




Get Customer Insight in Real-Time

There’s a new tool that is radically improving marketing research, known as RET (real-time experience tracking) and leveraged by leading brands including Unilever, PepsiCo, HP, Microsoft and InterContinental Hotels.

The tool is a quick SMS-based microsurvey that customers can take on their mobile phone every time they encounter company’s brand. The survey requires input of a four-character text message – that’s it! Read more here.

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Why It’s Hot:
RET data enables brands to identify not only what most motivates customers to buy your brand but also how various touch points combine in a chain to influence the customers’ decisions. It also enables companies to assess and respond in real time to customer’s reactions to products, services or branding efforts. These insights can be acted on immediately and achieve greater impact with lower spending.

Facebook gets more Twitter-like

Facebook announced today that its changing its news feed algorithm (again) to surface more timely posts and facilitate more conversations in real-time, an obvious attempt to steal away Twitter’s real-time thunder. Twitter’s ability to facilitate conversations about real-time events — especially sporting events and TV shows — is arguably its strongest, most defining feature.

The change is meant to bring attention to more timely posts and conversations, such as Facebook connections “are both watching the same sports game, or talking about the season premiere of a popular TV show,” Facebook engineers Erich Owens and David Vickrey wrote in a blog post on the news feed change.

Read more here.


Why it’s hot:

This could have profound implications for publishers that receive large amounts of referral traffic from Facebook. USA Today sports blog FTW has had success optimizing stories for Facebook’s trending topics, for instance, and this change will likely amplify the traffic it sees from those efforts.