Red Bull’s solar-powered billboard lights-up nighttime sports

Lighting for nighttime sports is scarce in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, making it hard for people to enjoy outdoor activities, like football and skateboarding, at night. The desire to play sports at night is especially strong in Vietnam because of the intense daytime heat and humidity. Red Bull, being all about energy and action, used this as an opportunity to create a social benefit while aligning the brand with a different kind of energy than caffeine: solar.

To do this, they painted a grid of used Red Bull cans black, in order to soak up the sun’s energy during the day, then stored that energy in batteries, which were used to power flood lights, making nighttime games and sports possible.

Why it’s hot:

Instead of just throwing up some standard billboards in outdoor recreation areas, Red Bull decided to be user-centered, looking to solve a real problem first, and found a clever way for the brand to participate in a more meaningful way within the culture it wants to attract.

1. Alignment: Red Bull sells an image of passion — a desire to go “all out” for one’s dreams, and this project fits perfectly with that image.

2. Social benefit: This hits on all cylinders for Red Bull. It positions the brand as essential to the sports it’s supporting, while repurposing resources, reducing energy use, and showing off its innovation chops. Helping people in this small way with things they are passionate about extends good will toward the brand far beyond the initial investment.

Source: Contagious

What It Looks Like When Your Social Media Presence Takes Physical Form

“The Social Ego” is a new project by agency RXM Creative that illustrates just how much our online social status affects our actual lives.

Connectivity is the most touted facet of social media, but let’s hear it for loneliness. Sure, Facebook digitally links you up with friends you’ve long since abandoned geographically, but it can also make you feel like the last person on the planet when those quasi-friends don’t like what you have to say or show. Very few modern experiences are more oddly isolating than the un-liked status update—that painting in a gallery that everyone walks right past. You could be at a restaurant surrounded by actual friends, post a picture of this summit online, and if nobody notices, feel even lonelier than if you were alone.

“The inspiration for the Social Ego came from the emotional turbulences we have individually gone through on social media, but also observing the huge impact a like can have on any of our friends and brands we work with,” says Raul Mandru, one of the RXM creative directors who brought the device to life, along with Mihai Botarel. “Although we still take social media with a touch of humor, it’s emotional impact is as real as it gets.”

Although the video is indeed funny, it also evokes the familiar panic of feeling unacknowledged. One scene uses the classic advertising signifier of sexual impotence, a sad couple in bed, next to a small Social Ego. It’s ridiculous, but not too far removed from the truth. Social media has given us a mainline to joy or sadness we never knew existed, turning neutrality uninteresting. Knowing that any picture or clever observation you post might not receive a warm welcome adds to the excitement. Every moment is a crap shoot, and doing nothing is boring.

What’s interesting, though, is that this condition doesn’t just exist among us plebs. Celebrities and even those who answer to a supposedly higher calling are held in social media’s thrall as well.

“Clearly in the media now the most prominent and also fluctuating Social Egos belong to the presidential candidates,” Mandru says. “Donald Trump must have a huge one, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton as well. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see their egos inflate and deflate in real time as the presidential race unfolds in social media?”

Source: FastCo

 

Why is this hot? Not, wait, I meant “sad”

Social media changed our self-awareness. That’s sad. Now, can a tool like this be used to increase other people’s self-esteem when they needed the most? Well, that’s still TBD, but if we find a way to do it, then that will be hot

Gatorade Puts Audiences Behind the Plate as Bryce Harper

Leveraging Google’s YouTube 360 platform for creating immersive brand experiences, Gatorade is giving users a chance to step up to bat and get in the mind/body of MLB Nationals star Bryce Harper.

 

Audiences who watch the branded experience are dropped into the world of Harper as a virtual reality imagination of what it’s like to go to bat in a baseball game. The inner monologue, the lights, the warping of time, and of course sponsorships. The Gatorade team used a 14-camera rig to create the real-time video/CGI engagement.

Why It’s Hot

Gatorade demonstrates the power that engaging content marketing can have. Brands can embed themselves into meaningful, powerful experiences… not just float around the periphery as an advertiser that gets in the way of a person’s interest. Gatorade succeeds because they created something visceral that grips viewers, surrounding them with subtle brand experience that suggests what it might be like to use, experience or benefit from the product… without ever directly saying it.

Via AdAge

UGC: The Social Tipping Point

EngageSciences just released a research paper proving the fundamental impact that user-generated content can have on brands, and how it can drive audience acquisition, boost engagement and even optimize sales conversions.

We all work in an industry where we have witnessed the fundamental change in marketing recently, due primarily to the rise of mobile broadband, access to powerful cameras via smartphone devices, and the explosion of social media reach. These 3 technical innovations have combined to transform the way brands relate to their customers, and as a result, people are creating and sharing images and words like never before.

Some commentators have named this the ‘sharing economy’. Whatever you call it, smart brands are taking advantage. They’re taking user-generated content that refers to their brands and using it for their own benefit. And research suggests that it is much more effective in engaging and influencing consumers than their own ‘branded’ content, such as glossy photos or promotional videos.

Download the full white paper here: http://www.engagesciences.com/user-generated-content-white-paper/

Today’s consumers publish words, photos and videos online to share all aspects of their lives, including their favorite brands. The Pew Research Internet Project found that 54% of adult internet users now post original photos or videos online, up by nearly half on last year. They have become expert marketers of themselves – and potentially of the brands they love, as long as brand marketers can harness their creativity and influence.

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Why it’s hot:

The reason behind this change is simple: Consumers trust their peers. They take inspiration from other people’s experiences, ratings, reviews and their sharing of products and services. Brands are already spending a huge amount of time, energy and money managing social channels and creating and distributing content. Even so, only the largest global brands can afford to establish a tangible presence across all social networks and populate them with enough content to stand out from the crowd. In addition, most marketers just aren’t able to produce the volume and variety of content that will resonate with their target audiences.

The explosion of consumer generated content is unstoppable. Brands must accept that their glossy, expensive branded content is now playing second fiddle to the authentic words and images created by their advocates. We’re now at a tipping point where user-generated content isn’t just outweighing branded content, it’s outperforming it. There’s tangible evidence this stuff really works – and we’re just getting started.