With people having to stay home and non-essential business being closed down, popular IRL experiences, museums, etc. aren’t in business. One museum, in particular, the Getty Museum, is engaging with their audience through a challenge they created on Twitter.
The Getty Museum challenged people to recreate a work of art using only people and/or objects found around their homes – and a lot of people accepted.
This is a great way to engage the community and create a “brand experience” from home. The Getty Museum is definitely considered high end and this is a great way to engage and give everyone the opportunity to be a part of something.
Virtual Travel: Webcams activated around the world are giving millions of shut-ins access to new ways of keeping cabin fever at bay. A low-fi solution for people facing bandwidth challenges, or burned out on Netflix.
Why It’s Hot: In a world where people are disconnected from one another in so many ways – unified by a common tragedy, but primarily “seeing” one another through the lens of news media – it’s nice to nice to have real, unfiltered reminders of the amazing and beautiful things that are still out there, connecting us all to one another.
As more cities around the world feel the effects of the coronavirus and government shutdowns, virtual travel is becoming more of a necessity. Cities and hotels around the world are opening up webcams, so you can tap into life far, far away from your own home. These live streams let you see Hawaii’s oceans, Croatia’s islands, Tokyo’s streets, and Kenya’s highlands (among others) in real time, making it even easier to picture yourself in far-off places. So grab a plate of your favorite food, snuggle up in your comfiest chair, and get ready to virtually visit some seriously beautiful destinations.
Easily one of the higher-quality videos on this list, Webcam Sydney provides a gorgeous livestream of the Sydney Harbour. You can easily spot the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay, and The Rocks in the panoramic shot; make sure to sneak a peak when the sun goes down (which is about when the sun comes up in the U.S.) to see the harbor’s glittering nighttime lights.
Trying to spot the elusive Northern Lights usually involves camping out in the cold in the middle of the night, desperately hoping for perfect weather and conditions (and even then it still might not happen). This Northern Lights webcam in Manitoba, Canada, makes the process much easier, letting us watch the night sky from the warmth of our homes. If the idea of waiting for a spark of light on your computer screen is still too much effort, the site also shows a highlights reel and lets viewers post screenshots of their findings.
Possibly the most famous fountain in the world, the Trevi Fountain is a Baroque masterpiece depicting Neptune atop a chariot pulled by sea horses. The Roman landmark is typically surrounded by masses of tourists, but currently sits quiet thanks to Italy’s nationwide lockdown. The resulting livestream really shows off the fountain’s design—and it’s strangely relaxing, too.
The Yosemite webcam is one of our favorites. It streams the 2,424-foot-tall waterfall’s top section, Upper Yosemite Falls, in its scenic, roaring glory. The peak flow occurs in early summer as the snow starts to melt, but it’s looking pretty awesome right now.
Sailboats, yachts, sunsets: What more could you want while stuck at home? This webcam gives viewers an all-encompassing look into the waterfront life of Bermuda‘s historic Royal Naval Dockyard, which is still used to house cruise ships, museums, and artsy shops.
Get sweeping views of Toronto from this webcam located on top of the CN Tower, the city’s tallest—and most iconic—landmark at 1,815 feet. You can switch between east- and west-facing cameras, letting you see Lake Ontario, the Toronto Islands, the Royal Ontario Museum, and much more.
The country’s most popular island for nightlife and yachters, Hvar is also Croatia’s sunniest spot. Luckily for those of us stuck with cramped quarters and cloudy weather, the Croatian island offers a 24/7 panoramic webcam showing off its port and the Pakleni islands in the distance. The view is especially gorgeous during sunrise and sunset.
Thailand has just about everything we’re craving right now: Beautiful beaches, rich culture, and some of the most luxurious resorts on the planet. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has a live stream view conveniently located on YouTube, where people can take a look at a number of Thai destinations (arranged in a tidy collage) from the comfort of their home.
The beach is the main attraction at NIZUC Resort & Spa, located on the northeast tip of the Yucatán Peninsula. Anyone craving some waves and sunshine can now tune into the resort’s live webcam, which offers a perfect shot of the shoreline and stretches of water.
The Japan National Tourism Organization is currently encouraging people to satisfy their wanderlust remotely, with virtual experiences showcasing the best of the country. Our favorite is the Shibuya Crossing webcam, which overlooks Tokyo’s busiest intersection. It’s not quite as crowded as usual these days, but it’s still pretty crowded by current social-distancing standards—you might even end up grateful for your quarantine situation after watching the “Shibuya scramble” for a few seconds.
Bring some real-time Hawaiian surf into your living room, courtesy of rental company Great Vacation Retreats. Their webcam faces the popular PKs surf break on Kauai, showing off the island’s natural landscapes among the killer waves.
While most of Niagara’s tours and visitor facilities are closed (on both the Canadian and U.S. sides), the surrounding state parks and trails are still open—for now, at least. But if you want to practice true social distancing, we recommend checking out the Niagara Falls live webcam, presented by the Hilton Fallsview Hotel in Ontario. The sound of the crashing water is pure white noise bliss, and the camera’s aerial view is better than what you’d see in person.
Like many major cities around the world, Amsterdam has closed its attractions, restaurants, and bars to curb the spread of COVID-19. We love this webcam of Dam Square (the city’s hopping central spot), which oscillates to provide great shots of the area’s streets, sculptures, and stunning architecture. And if you’re feeling really lonely, there are still a few residents strolling around.
Situated in the highlands of central Kenya, the Mpala Research Centre is a 48,000-acre “living laboratory” that welcomes scientist and researches from around the globe. Their webcam provides a 24/7 feed of one of the watering holes on their property, where you’re pretty much guaranteed to spot hippos, leopards, zebras, and more at any given moment. (I’m watching three very hungry giraffes as I type this.)
Do you want even more action in your livestream life? Be sure to check out our compilation of wildlife webcams around the world, showcasing elephants in South Africa, endangered gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and tons of sea creatures in zoos and aquariums. The eerily hypnotic sea jelly cam at California’s Aquarium of the Pacific is a personal favorite.
Nick Heath, a rugby announcer from London has recently been put out of a job. Yes, the novel coronavirus has put a temporary end to sports and an end to the career of an announcer. But an announcers job is never done..
Nick’s twitter has obtained viral fame as he narrates the doldrums of London.
Social platforms are taking a stand against Covid misinformation. Both individually and as a group of brands. Twitter statements below:
As the world faces an unprecedented public health emergency, we want to be open about the steps we’re taking to keep people safe. To support social distancing and working from home, we need to work differently and rely more on automated systems to help enforce our rules.
Content that increases the chance that someone contracts or transmits the virus, including: – Denial of expert guidance – Encouragement to use fake or ineffective treatments, preventions, and diagnostic techniques – Misleading content purporting to be from experts or authorities
We’re living in an era of misinformation at the time where being able to rely on is mission critical. Facebook’s past mistakes with leaving up misinformation (as well as during the current election season) has reduced their credibility. Personal hypothesis: More are flocking to Twitter and Reddit to get information, giving these other platforms a boost right when everyone is spending a lot more time online.
Budweiser created a specialized labeling for social sharing as part a massive promotional effort around the Super Bowl. The SelfieBud special edition label is printed backward so it appears normal in selfies on social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.
Although Budweiser also launched a traditional Super Bowl commercial (minus Clydesdales), they know they need to do more than just a TV spot to stay relevant with younger audiences. The SelfieBud was part of a bigger experiential marketing campaign involving a BudX Hotel takeover that featured influencers with significant followings on social media.
Influencer marketing strategies are forecast to become more popular, with brands spending as much as $15 billion on such campaigns by 2022, according to Business Insider estimates based on data from influencer marketing agency Mediakix.
-In today’s always-on world where it can feel like we’re all sharing similar experiences or at least similar stylistic aesthetics on social, original and exclusive experiences drive social currency for brands.
-Adapting your packaging to be more “user-centric” in order to solve a problem or demonstrate you understand your audience’s pain points (remember Snickers’ sassy wrappers?) is a fun way to drive excitement and, hopefully engagement for your brand.
We all know tax season is a stressful time, especially if a) you’ve never done it before and b) you have to do it yourself (Turbo-Tax-style). H&R, known for its vast network of tax experts, uses humor and the popular ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) which is “the experience of a tingling season on the skin often triggered by specific auditory and visual stimuli such as whispering”, to de-stress and help millennials feel more relaxed during tax season.
The fact that the brand can actually back up the idea of ‘peace of mind’ by having real people available to talk to (unlike Turbo Tax which mostly focuses on their online tool) makes this entertaining piece of content more believable and endearing.
JetBlue also tapped into this growing trend very recently to create a 9-minute long soundtrack YouTube video with the purpose of calming passengers during the extra stressful holiday traveling season. The video is called “AirSMR” and it features sounds of a standard JFK airport Terminal: suitcases rolling, fingers tapping a keyboard, and planes taking off and touching down (but none of the really annoying sounds of TSA agents or crying babies of course).
JetBlue shared the video on YouTube and other social media channels like Instagram, which, interestingly, resulted in 100% negative comments due to general negative airport experiences shared by customers. While it’s nice the brand is trying to stay relevant by tapping into this growing trend, it’d have been even better to have released this idea in conjunction with actual meaningful improvements to customers’ travel experiences, or, to have done like H&R Block which used the trend to make their own ads more pleasant.
Why it’s hot: Today’s always-on, overstimulated lives are causing extreme levels of burnout. Smart brands will look for ways their advertising and/or their experiences can help today’s burnout consumers de-stress, reset and reboot.
Thanks to the success of the Joker movie, the now famous Bronx steps have become an Instagram-able tourist destination, to the chagrin of many locals just trying to get to work.
Riding on the coat tales of this meme-fueled furor, Burger King took the opportunity to create some local goodwill (while taking a jab at its main clown-mascotted rival) by offering Bronx residents a free Whopper, delivered by UberEats, as a consolation for having to deal with the rapid influx of Joker-stair tourists AKA clowns (burn).
Why it’s hot:
Brands are desperate to be a part of pop culture, and this campaign finds a low-risk, nonpolitical way to catch the viral wave, with little investment.
Rides on the pop-culture success of Joker, but comes at it from a snarky, unpredictable angle.
“Scandinavian clothing brand Carlings has created an augmented reality T-shirt designed to reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion.
People can buy the T-shirt – which is white aside from a graphical logo at the top – from Carlings’ website for €39.90 ($44). The T-shirt is then mailed directly to the customer.
Upon delivery of the item, customers can visit Carlings’ dedicated Instagram account, select the filter icon and choose from a variety of designs, before pointing a phone camera at the T-shirt’s graphical logo. This will digitally superimpose the selected design onto the T-shirt.
The designs are emblazoned with environmentally conscious messages such as ‘Stop Denying Our Planet is Dying’ and ‘I’m Sure The Dinosaurs Thought They Had Time Too.’” (Contagious)
Why it’s hot
1. Designs that can be changed to match new causes extends the shirts timescale of relevance, combating fast-fashion disposability.
2. The shirt comes to life where it can have the most impact: on social media. Also gets folks going to the brand’s IG and creating lots of UGC.
3. Interesting how the 4th digital dimension is being employed to push social issues, in a cool, shareable, and potentially viral way.
4. Also, profits from the line go to a water charity, so seems like another fashion brand hoping their good works will turn into net profits.
28-year-old architect Nashin Mahtani’s website, PetaBencana.id, uses artificial intelligence and chat-bots to monitor and respond to social posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Telegram by communities in Indonesia hit by floods. The information is then displayed on a real-time map that is monitored by emergency services.
“Jakarta is the Twitter capital of the world, generating 2% of the world’s tweets, and our team noticed that during a flood, people were tweeting in real-time with an incredible frequency, even while standing in flood waters,” said Mahtani, a graduate of Canada’s University of Waterloo. Jakarta residents often share information with each other online about road blockages, rising waters and infrastructure failures.
Unlike other relief systems that mine data on social media, PetaBencana.id adopts AI-assisted “humanitarian chat-bots” to engage in conversations with residents and confirm flooding incidents. “This allows us to gather confirmed situational updates from street level, in a manner that removes the need for expensive and time-consuming data processing,” Mahtani said.
In early 2020, the project will go nationwide to serve 250 million people and include additional disasters such as forest fires, haze, earthquakes and volcanoes.
Why It’s Hot
Aggregating social data in real-time on a map allows for easy flow of information between residents in need and emergency services who can help them. In a situation when every second counts to help as many people as possible, this use of technology is truly life-saving.
Back Market, an online marketplace that sells refurbished and discounted electronic goods like smartphones, wanted to launch its service in the US.
However, Back Market had to find a way to promote its refurbished products in a country that is more interested in new technology than old, without a media budget to afford high profile influencers.
Back Market realized that all of the second-hand products that it currently sells have already been promoted by celebrities on social platform Twitter, back when they were originally released.
Back Market analyzed hundreds of the most well-known US celebrities’ Twitter accounts to find old Tweets about products now available on its site, replied to them and re-posted them as if they had just been published.
In total, Back Market ‘refurbished’ the Tweets of 311 celebrities, including Donald Trump, Kim Kardashian and 50 Cent. The online marketplace also sent 187 celebrities the smartphones that they had wanted years before.
The Refurbished Tweets campaign was promoted with a comical video explaining how the French company took over the Twitter feeds of US celebrities.
According to the case study video, more than 26,000 orders were placed for refurbished products within 48 hours of the campaign launch and visits to Back Market’s US website increased by 457% within one month, with no media investment.
Why it’s hot: Entering a new market is challenging, especially without a media budget. Back Market’s creative approach to “refurbishing” old tweets from famous celebrities and influencers was clever way of leveraging existing tweets as their own.
TikTok pulled a very Scumbag-Steve move recently, admitting that in an effort to curb bullying on its platform, it had asked moderators to flag accounts from people who “looked like the type of person others might want to bully” and then suppressed those accounts. #victimshaming
Via Slate: “TikTok, a social network video app with more than 1 billion downloads globally, admitted Tuesday to a set of policies that had suppressed the reach of content created by users assumed to be “vulnerable to cyberbullying.” As examples of users “susceptible to bullying or harassment,” the policy listed people with facial disfigurement, autism, Down syndrome, and “Disabled people or people with some facial problems such as birthmark, slight squint and etc.”
The admission came after the German site Netzpolitik reported that TikTok asked moderators to watch 15-second videos and decide if the creator looked like the type of person others might want to bully. If so, moderators were instructed to add flags to the accounts of these “vulnerable” users. These flags would stop their videos from being shown to audiences outside their home countries and, in some cases, would even prevent their videos from appearing in other users’ feeds. A list of flagged users obtained by Netzpolitik included people with and without disabilities, whose bios included hashtags like #fatwoman and #disabled or had rainbow flags and other LGBTQ identifiers.”
Why it’s hot:
Loss of trust: Social media plays a roll in both exacerbating and alleviating many social problems, including the bullying epidemic, but when those at the helm display their ignorance coupled with a reluctance to curb abusive users, trust is diminished.
Lack of control (or willingness): One more chapter in social media’s terrible track record of encouraging the worst parts of humanity and then exposing just how inept they are at controlling malicious activity on their platforms.
Brands on social media are often seen as competitors. Users on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram will only see a limited number of branded posts per visit, so social media managers battle to be one of them, paying or using owned channels to grab as much attention as possible.
On Dec 5, Netflix proved that cooperation can beat competition. Speaking directly to brand account managers on Twitter, it encouraged brands to push the boundaries of social acceptability by asking what can be said during sex and for a brand on Twitter.
The post generated over 100,000 retweets and nearly half a million likes.
Brands of all kinds jumped on board, even competitors. (e.g. Direct TV, not shown here.)
Why it’s hot:
In NYC, merchants realized that they could make more money by surrounding themselves with their direct competitors in districts that attracted more customers overall (e.g. the garment district, flower district, diamond district). Perhaps we are entering an era where brands will increasingly band together on social media to generate the type of attention they could not garner alone.
In Ukraine, a lack of people taking eye examinations combined with increasing mobile device usage has led to a national eyesight problem, so Luxoptica, a Ukranian optician, decided to leverage the problem device to get people to take eye exams, all on their own accord.
Luxoptica ophthalmologists created an eye test that sat within Instagram Stories. All users had to do to take the test was tap on the brand’s Instagram story and hold their smartphone at a distance, then text appeared on the screen. If they could see the letters clearly, they would be instructed to tap to the right, which took them to the next text – in smaller type.
As soon as users could no longer see the writing, they were instructed to swipe up. The result of the test then appeared on the screen with a prediction of their visual ability and a recommendation about what to do next.
If the vision score was below normal, Luxoptica recommended a visit to an ophthalmologist to prevent further reduction in vision and provided a direct link to book an appointment at any Luxoptica store.
Why it’s hot: Luxoptica was smart in its “show don’t tell” strategy by providing consumers with a free experience of an eye exam instead of lots of medical claims and reasons to go to your optometrist to get an exam. Its creative use of Instagram stories made their message easily accessible to their target audience, mobile phone users, giving them the freedom to experience the exam on their own time, ultimately driving 1 in 7 people to an optician for an eye exam, over 6,800 visits.
Facebook is launch[ed] a new payments system, appropriately named Facebook Pay. It will be available across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, and it’s designed to facilitate payments across Facebook’s popular social networks and apps. You’ll be able to use Facebook Pay to send money to friends, shop for goods, or even donate to fundraisers. The service will be separate from Facebook’s new Calibra wallet and the Libra network, and it’s “built on existing financial infrastructure and partnerships,” according to the company.
Facebook is planning to start rolling out Facebook Pay on Messenger and Facebook in the US this week. It will initially be available for fundraisers, person-to-person payments, event tickets, in-game purchases, and some purchases from pages and businesses that operate on Facebook’s Marketplace. “Over time, we plan to bring Facebook Pay to more people and places, including for use across Instagram and WhatsApp,” explains Deborah Liu, Facebook’s vice president of marketplace and commerce.
Facebook Pay will be available in the settings section of the Facebook or Messenger apps, and it will support most debit and credit cards and PayPal. Facebook is using Stripe, PayPal, and others to process these payments.
Facebook isn’t revealing exactly when this payment system will be available across all of its apps, nor when it will launch internationally. Facebook Pay comes just weeks after a large number of payment companies dropped out of Facebook’s Libra project. PayPal, which is supporting Facebook Pay, was one of the first companies to distance itself from the Libra Association, the nonprofit organization that oversees the creation of the cryptocurrency and its rollout.
“Facebook Pay is part of our ongoing work to make commerce more convenient, accessible and secure for people on our apps,” says Liu. “We’ll continue to develop Facebook Pay and look for ways to make it even more valuable for people on our apps.”
Why it’s hot: With the massive lack of trust about its data privacy practices and approach to how its platform is used and can be manipulated, it’s a strange time to ask for people to trust you with their credit card information. Not to mention the plethora of ways to execute digital payments (Apple pay, Samsung pay, Venmo, Paypal, etc.) that exist.
Would you trust Facebook pay with your credit card info?
Home-related publications like Real Simple, Hunker and Domino are using model houses to create experiential retail experiences that can drive affiliate revenue.
Domino magazine has created staged homes for years. But this year’s house, located in Sag Harbor, NY was the first to include shoppable technology into the space. In partnership with Stage&Shop, a real estate agency and an app developer, Domino created an app that integrate codes into all of the house’s furniture and design elements that people touring the home could scan to purchase them.
Domino’s winter issue will have a feature on the home, which will also include QR codes for those products that readers use their smartphone to scan.
Brands were included in the home through product placement, and affiliate links were used in the shoppable content as well as in the house itself. But the primary revenue driver for the project still comes from the content created surrounding the home, including its print spread and digital elements. And while it’s an ongoing franchise for the brand, Cho said that Domino isn’t leaning on that revenue, but is looking for constant iterations of how to make the project better and a bigger piece of the puzzle.
Why It’s Hot: An interesting convergence of digital and physical, potentially symbiotically solving parallel/complementary problems of retail and ecommerce experiences:
Online purchase is convenient, but I don’t get to see, touch, try physical goods before buying.
Retail purchase is experiential, but I don’t want all of the friction of purchase and transport home.
With this entertaining noir-esque advert, three friends escape hoards of nameless, unthinking look-alike “followers” to find refuge with each other in a side-street bar.
Miller’s research found that 50% of 21-to-27 year olds only meet up with their close friends a few times a month.
The ad suggests social media is to blame and that Miller is the needed champion of authentic, in-person experiences versus the ubiquitous sameness of social media image-curation.
In a clever play on words, the ad ends with a toast to the “original social media”. (beer)
Fast Company: “The new campaign ad, “Followers,” by agency DDB Chicago, is using the age-old idea of Miller Time and positioning it as an antidote to our collective social feed fatigue. The brand is complementing this notion with a promotion that will reward drinkers who unfollow Miller Lite on Facebook and Instagram with free beer. Miller Lite is also taking two weeks off from any social media of its own.”
They’re no doubt banking on the press coverage to make up for it.
Like any good rebel, Miller is bucking the trend … of social media accumulation, but its execution of this reward could maybe be better. In order to get a free beer, you have to take a screenshot of your unfollow, text it to a coded address, receive a link, follow the link and upload a photo of your receipt, to then receive a reimbursement on Paypal.
They also did a pretty badass can redesign to go along with the campaign.
Americans love a rebel, and as digital continues to devour our lives, Miller is exploiting the growing disdain for social media to frame itself as a conduit of authentic connection. Miller Time is back from the good ol’ days before social media, to remind us that friends are people you see in person.
People will still use social media, obviously, but maybe next time they gripe about how it’s eroding our ability to form meaningful real human connections, they’ll remember the brand that agrees with them, and reach for a Miller Lite.
Why it’s not as good as it could be: Rewarding unfollows is clunky UX, requiring multiple steps on one’s phone, which undermines the clarity of the “offline” message.
Users who have a stake in MeetUp are privy to the fact that it’s owned by the currently discredited and struggling WeWork, so when the platform started testing a new revenue model in which it charged users $2 to RSVP to certain events (even free ones), people assumed it was a shortsighted way to pad the pockets of its cash-strapped parent company, and they weren’t happy about it.
1. Users made their plans to abandon the site clear on Twitter.
2. Open-source projects took the opportunity to court spurned MeetUp users to their own coming-soon event-scheduling platforms:
“To be 100% clear: the freeCodeCamp.org community is still hard at work on an open source alternative to Meetup, and we are making steady progress.”
For now, I’m calling it “MeetingPlace”, and have put up a super simple landing page up here: http://meetingplace.io
Enter your email there to get updates, and to share the features you’d need to switch your group away from meetup.
MeetUp responded quickly to say they were only testing this model on a small number of events, but tech and business news outlets picked up the story, and it’s not a good look for the brand.
Whether this actually hurts MeetUp in the long run remains to be seen, but it seems to have made them vulnerable.
Why it’s hot: Between offering ad-supported, fremium, and subscription services, platform-based tech companies must navigate a tenuous relationship with users when extracting money from them.
This negotiation with the public happens within a consumer culture that increasingly requires business transparency and imposes a collectively agreed-upon level of “fairness”.
Companies that violate this perceived fairness, or don’t offer a (perceived) commensurate level of value in return are liable to find themselves on thin ice.
Burger King’s latest attack on McDonald’s is tapping into the upcoming release of the IT prequel with its new Escape the Clown campaign, an interactive campaign that targets McDonald’s customers in Germany using AR and geo-tagging. Playing on popular culture, Burger King successfully stole its rival’s customers at point of sale (kind of a big deal) and drove app downloads.
Burger King placed an AR-enabled advertisement in a film-themed magazine found in McDonald’s restaurants. Customers were prompted to download the BK app in order to scan the advertisement and access an Escape the Clown coupon for a one cent Whopper at the nearest Burger King. The app gave directions to the nearest restaurant and a countdown began, encouraging customers to leave McDonald’s restaurants (and escape the clown) immediately.
Burger King also used geo-targeting to invite McDonald’s customers to seek out the magazine and scan the app in targeted ads on Facebook and Twitter.
Why it’s hot: While not a new tactic for Burger King, in fact, it’s become a bit expected, by targeting customers who are already in McDonald’s restaurants, this campaign reaches its audience at the point of purchase, which in this category would’ve been an all-is-lost moment. Burger King also gamified a discount by positioning it as a challenge (get to the nearest Burger King before the countdown times out), which added an element of urgency and excitement to the offer. Not to mention that the many app downloads it generated are now also a new data source to help inform the King of other opportunities to conquest its rival.
What was once a source of embarrassment can perhaps now be a form of style points. D2C startup Starface is offering a new way to think about mild acne: Instead of hiding in shame, embrace your “uniqueness” by “owning” your acne, while helping it heal.
With star-shaped medicated stickers that users place over pimples, Starface helps acne heal while making a bold fashion and beauty statement. With the power of social media to shape perceptions of “cool” and “beautiful”, this reframe of acne could turn an embarrassment into empowerment.
Starface’s branding is very … Gen Z, post-postmodern, self-conscious retro-loving remix culture with all of human history as your source material. (Their “About Me” section parodies the opening text from Star Wars). And rightly so. This isn’t your older sister’s acne care. This is a new world.
Why it’s hot:
Another example of the ongoing and unprecedented revolution in social values, fueled by social media. The meaning of luxury, wealth, success, attractiveness, etc. is being scrutinized, tweaked, torn down, and reconstructed. Brands that have relied on the old standbys would be wise to re-calibrate their message and offerings to attract consumers in this new reality.
To address this churn, Dream Team built a new content vertical including a newsletter and YouTube series around fantasy football last summer. Now it has begun to bear fruits: Dream Team retained 68% of last year’s customers this season, increasing annual audience retention rate 21% year-on-year, and won new branded content clients; however, the publisher was unwilling to share exactly how many people subscribed for the 2019 season.
Dream Team has roughly 10 people publishing regular football video content on its own site and social platforms. Dream Team had over 100 million video views in July, up from 50 million, according to Tubular Labs. Facebook and Instagram is a good funnel for acquiring news audiences, but the team needed to do more to nourish its existing fan base, said Edward Bearryman, head of content and communities at News UK.
“We are building a more franchise approach to content,” he said. “As many brands in the digital space find, bringing in audiences with content is easy, but digital content brands can struggle with loyalty and retention.”
After hearing that audiences wanted more fantasy football content — rather than generic football news content — at the start of the football season in August 2018, Dream Team also launched an email newsletter, Dream Team “Coach,” devised in part by Jimmy Lloyd, content development editor. The newsletter, written by football expert Nick Elliott, to add a more personal feel, goes out every Thursday and features tips and hints on which players are likely to play well that weekend for subscribers to switch around their fantasy football teams.
The newsletter now has over 1 million subscribers and an open rate of between 15% and 20%, according to Bearryman. The content is mostly self-contained content, so it doesn’t track click-through rates via links to external stories.
As an extension to the newsletter, in February, Dream Team launched “Coach TV” on YouTube, a weekly 20-minute chat show focused on football news. Videos typically get up to 20,000 YouTube views, last season had over 500,000 unique viewers. Over the course of 12 months, viewer retention rate doubled retention rate from 20% to 40%, according to Bearryman. Watch time on season two is over six minutes compared with three minutes last season.
Publishers like BuzzFeed are increasingly making series over one-off episodes in order to bring people back more regularly. It’s this regular viewing that attracts brand budgets too. The success of “Coach TV” was instrumental in signing bookmaker Betway to a season-long branded content campaign. As well as Betway badging alongside the Dream Team logo, the bookmaker gives exclusive betting odds and offers for the “Coach TV” audience. It’s a natural fit as 50% of Dream Team managers have an active betting account. The season-long campaign, exclusive to Dream Team rather than The Sun, cost £1.04 million ($1.27 million). According to Bearryman, the conversion rate of traffic referred to Betway is 2.5%, which compares favorably with Dream Team’s internal content conversion rates.
Over the last year, Dream Team itself has run between 10 and 12 other branded content campaigns across other sub-brands or franchises. One such sub-brand is “Hometown Glory,” a weekly show where former England football player Alex Scott takes other football players back to their hometown. Dream Team is currently in talks with two consumer goods brands for sponsorship for the season.
More franchises are in the works, according to Bearryman.
“We want to build other online sub-brands and franchises to become famous for and reach new audiences,” he said.
Why It’s Hot
A good example of the power Relationships built around common interests – authentically activated across channels, platforms and formats, and orchestrated over time.
72% of Germans travel abroad for their holidays. With that knowledge, German Rail set out to encourage Germans to vacation in their home country by focusing on price and picturesque German locations that mirror famous foreign tourist destinations.
German Rail targeted travel enthusiasts interested in specific destinations on Instagram and Facebook. Then, through geo-tagging technology and Google Search, the audience was served video ads updated with real-time prices, comparing two gorgeous locations (one in Germany and one abroad), detailing the cost of travel from their closest airport to the foreign country and carbon emissions created by travel.
Why it’s hot:
Brands talk about using data all the time but we don’t always see it done in a smart, multi-dimensional way. German Rail successfully tapped into the insight that the record of the holiday (on Instagram & Facebook) is just important as the holiday itself and leveraged real-time user data to influence behavior of the German traveler.
A new project from Google’s in-house incubator, Area 120, aims to help people find things to do and others who share your same interests. Through a new app called Shoelace, users can browse through a set of hand-picked activities, or add their own to a map. For example, someone who wanted to connect with fellow dog owners could start an activity for a doggie playdate at the park, then start a group chat to coordinate the details and make new friends.
The end result feels a bit like a mashup of Facebook Events with a WhatsApp group chat, perhaps. But it’s wrapped in a clean, modern design that appeals more to the millennial or Gen Z user.
Why it’s hot:
If Shoelace is successful at bringing like-minded and like-interested people together, the functionality could be used by clients, like Enfamil, that are trying to inspire real-world and real-life connections between moms, in an authentic and less brand-centric way.
For those of us who go down YouTube Makeup tutorial rabbit holes, like myself. It’s easy to get discouraged that you don’t have the color to look for yourself… that’s half the point of watching the video.
Well, YouTube has a solve for that (and for makeup brands who want to sell product). Try on while you watch!
“The feature is currently in the very early stages of development — alpha testing — and is being offered to YouTube creators through Google’s in-house branded content program, FameBit. Through this program, brands are connected with YouTube influencers who market their products through paid sponsorships.”
YouTube has already found that 30% of viewers chose to try the experience when it was available on the iOS app. And those who tried spent an average of more than 80s engaging with the tool.
A mix of VR and ecom! This beauty try-on gets over a big makeup hurdle. However this is not totally new. This is something sephora has done on their website, but it’s a much harder UI, this new way with YouTube should score google some extra referral cash, and users entering buy pages would be much more primed.
In late 2018, there were rumblings that LinkedIn would launch its own version of a stories feed. Critics believed it was just another platform itching to conquer Snapchat.
Now it’s June 2019, Instagram is the true leader in stories and LinkedIn is still preparing for launch. LinkedIn stories could be a huge fail or it could be an employer branding dream.
Companies have struggled with doing away with the polished workplace culture videos as they try to find a balance between quality and authenticity. Adding a story feature to LinkedIn automatically allows these companies to officially be less polished or well-thought-out while prospective employees gain a behind the scenes look at a company.
LinkedIn is slated to go live with their stories feature at any moment. Meanwhile, they’ve revised the logo, developed their own custom font and defined a new color palette. LinkedIn is the woman that cuts her hair when she’s overcome a personal crisis.
Why it’s hotter than an IG story from Rihanna: Will this do anything to change the issues with job descriptions or the application process? I foresee the trendy companies using stories as a way to promote new jobs and asking people to swipe up to learn more. I’m unsure if all of these new ways to communicate are making us better or just further complicating processes that could be simplified. Look out for intern takeovers, content from the company thought leaders and IBM dominating the feature with kick-ass content about all the things they create.
It turns out this is called the Droste Effect, coined after Droste Cocoa, which featured a nun holding a box of Cocoa with her own face on it.
But this is what the internet LIKES. Here is a video of Kyle MacLachlan, doing an impression of Anne Frances, doing an impression of Catherine O’Hara playing Moira Rose on Schitt’s Creek. You’re welcome.
Okay. It’s one thing to look to social media influencers for inspiration on a new handbag, sneakers, foundation, hotel stay… What about medication? Surgery? Having advanced in the highly regulated world of medical advertising and come to terms with how to remain compliant with guidelines, pharma is solidly in a new phase of advanced advertising. Yes, many other industries have been using influencers on social for years but pharma is often hesitant. No longer (for some).
Pharma influencers are paid an ~$1,000 per 100,000 followers. There’s deep pockets in this industry so they’re not just using one or two, they’re using a fleet of influencers to sell a lifestyle. That’s not a stretch either. If you think about the TV ads, they’re not selling psoriasis treatment, they’re selling the freedom to walk with naked legs and arms holding hands with your love interest before you take a dip in the pool. So instead of print, a 60 sec spot, or radio ad, pharma gets the pseudo storytelling candor benefits of influencers’ social feeds.
Oh, can’t end without an obligatory mention that the Karshians are, at least, partially to blame.
@KrangTNelson, a joke on Craig T Nelson’s name and brainy villian from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and king of weird Twitter has had his account suspended — as have some of Twitter’s most popular Weird Twitter accounts.
The great Krang T. Nelson, whom I can confirm is a real person and very nice IRL, has been suspended from Twitter. Shame on whichever cowards are responsible.
But the person who is probably the saddest about this…
Well not the dog, this is our own James Stewart Meudt’s Twitter profile pic.
Why it’s hot?
Weird Twitter probably had a hot sauce debut, it’s what so many brands base their voice/tone TW presence on. Bot’s taking down many of the internet’s fave Weird TW accounts is troubling at best. Even our chaos is being ruined by chaos.
Heard about the trend “Hit or Miss”? That’s from TikTok. There are similar platforms. “Depending on who you ask, it’s either an entertaining gathering place for younger and older generations or, well … incredibly cringey… For every spontaneous clip filmed by two college kids, there’s a jarringly artificial video of someone dressed superficially and seeking nothing but attention.”
Why does this matter? Generation Z is all over it.They seem to inherently know how to capture a digital slice of life, edit it, add filters, special effects, a soundtrack, craft a promotion plan complete with catchy hook and hashtag. Brands attempting to reach them need to learn to think like them.One big setback is how brands think long-term. Their audience is thinking about right now. That has its pitfalls. Reference any number of fallen YouTube influencers. The pay off, if done well, can be huge. Tread carefully.
United States Senator from Hawaii Brian Schatz and Chris Murphy, Senator from Connecticut, debated retweeting her video. With an eager reply from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (or one of his staff members…)
Omg, I had the same argument with myself 30 minutes ago!
From AOC cooking mac and cheese and shooting IG stories of her freshman year in congress, to Liz Warren cracking beers on Instagram Live, pols are looking for ways to connect and be more human using social media. More progressive ideas are becoming popular because the language is more accessible.
WIRED op-ed writer Katie O’Neill tweeted last week, somewhat in jest:
Me 10 years ago: probably would have played along with the profile picture aging meme going around on Facebook and Instagram Me now: ponders how all this data could be mined to train facial recognition algorithms on age progression and age recognition
In the article this conversation spawned, she unpacks the hypothetical that any mindless data we share (as part of this week’s viral sensation, or any other future social media trend) could unknowingly feed technologies behind the scenes. Exploring the implications of facial recognition technology, particularly for age progression, is a fascinating (and somewhat horrifying) thought experiment. And while FB insists that nothing of the sort is happening, the reaction to O’Neill’s tweet signals the growing overall awareness (and wariness) towards big tech – and the healthy dose of skepticism that people are beginning to direct towards the platforms they use every day.
WHY IT’S HOT:
It’s not a question of that FB could do what O’Neill writes, but more a matter of users’ awareness and attention to the use of their personal content, information, and likeness across all channels. O’Neill summarizes: “Humans are the connective link between the physical and digital worlds. Human interactions are the majority of what makes the Internet of Things interesting. Our data is the fuel that makes businesses smarter and more profitable.
We should demand that businesses treat our data with due respect, by all means. But we also need to treat our own data with respect.”