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

Sex Sells

In Colombia, young lovers often resort to stealing moments of intimacy in places where they risk being interrupted (such as a parent’s house, or in a parked car).

To help them get their hot-n-heavy, Condom brand Duo released an app to alert young lovers in Colombia when they risk being caught having sex.

To work, the app requires two mobile phones with cameras. One phone is placed in the area where the interruption is likely to come from and acts like a motion sensor. When someone (or something) disturbs the scene, the first phone sends a message (and an image of the intruder) to the second phone, alerting the lovers and giving them time to compose themselves.

According to Geometry Global, the app attracted 62,262downloads, more than 23,000 monthly active users, and the brand achieved a 23% increase in sales in the fourth quarter of 2016, and a 20% lift in the first quarter of 2017.

Why It’s Hot

  • We’ll its sex related
  • Brand solved a very real pain point for their core audience; young consumers who are likely to live at home and crave privacy

 

Source: https://www.contagious.io/articles/brand-guardian

I don’t watch football and Bud Light isn’t my preferred choice but this makes me want to enjoy both.

What Is It?

Starting on September 7, Bud Light is giving out beer glasses that light up after touchdowns at NFL games. Pretty cool, right? Apparently the base of the glasses are designed to light up in the color blue after every patriots scoring play. The lights on the glasses are controlled using in-stadium radio frequency technology. Sounds fancy!

Currently, the glass is for sale online featuring the Patriots and a few other teams. Anyone who orders the glass can connect it to a special mobile app that causes the glass to light up when that team scores.

Why It’s Hot: In order for their messaging to breakthrough from traditional ads at sporting events, this idea presents fans with a unique experience. I also find it smart that Bud Light is testing this concept with a few NFL teams, and will expand upon demand.

Read More: http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/bud-light-debuts-nfl-beer-glasses-light-touchdowns/310367/?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social

Tarzan, Robot of the Jungle

Designed after a sloth, Tarzan the automated robot was built to monitor food production.

 

Tasked with finding a way to automate crop monitoring, a Georgia institute of technology team has engineered a robot that can do so with minimal human assistance. Tarzan, the robot, is built keeping in mind the difficulties robots have while navigating uneven terrain. Although drones seem like a good solution, stringing Tarzan across the top of fields allows it to be monitoring while not being in the air consistently.

Swinging in soon to destroy us: Robot apes

You hear something rustling in the trees above you. You keep running, unsure of how to escape, just trying to outrun whatever is coming for you. You look over your shoulder and you catch a glimpse of it swinging from branch to branch. You shouldn’t have looked back, it’s now all over. The beast swings down, descending on you, and humanity’s hopes fade as the life drains from your eyes.

When the robot uprising begins, we’ll now have to worry about ape-like bots that can swing through trees with the ease of a gibbon raining down upon us. Much like the robot cheetahs, bats, hornets, ostriches, and myriad other robot animals scientists are already working on, we may one day be doomed by our desire to mimic what occurs naturally in the world.

Why it’s Hot:

  • By analyzing the problem without the constraints of what is possible, you can find solutions that are not necessarily obvious.

As if though we need one more excuse to drink…

While the world collapses around us here in the States, New Zealanders are kicking back, enjoying life, and catching some surf. Right? Wrong. They are dealing with their own set of problems too. A sand drought (gasp!). Apparently, those pesky grains you keep finding in random body parts days after going to the beach are used in everything from construction to pharmaceuticals (weird). The demand is such that two-thirds of the world’s beaches are retreating.

DB Export, a Kiwi Brewery, took note of this, and the fact that one-fourth of beer bottles never make it to recycling centers and instead end up in landfills. The result? They rolled up their social-responsibility-sleeves and said “We got this”.  The brand developed a fleet of Beer Bottle Sand Machines that lets drinkers instantly turn their beer bottles into 200 grams of sand substitute in just 5 seconds, which will later be donated to one of New Zealand’s biggest producers of bagged concrete.

And how valuable is doing something good, if no one sees it, right? Which is why drinkers can also document and share the footage of their environmentally-friendly activity thanks to an in-built web camera.

It’s rare when a brand can triangulate efforts that solve an environmental challenge by increasing their product’s consumption. It’s even rarer to have it be done through such an out-of-the-box-use of tech.

Now, if we could only develop tech that puts Donald Trump to sleep for an hour for every beer bottle that is drunk…Something to work towards, People!

Why It’s Hot

  • It’s SO smart to line up brand engagement and consumption with a noteworthy social cause
  • DB Export was able to connect seemingly unrelated topics (sand drought and beers) to solve a brand and a social challenge
  • Activation enables consumers to feel good, and do good, just by drinking a cold one

 

 

The Future: Brought to you by Alexa

At its launch, Alexa was designed to work with 135 skills. In 2017, its skills has increased to almost 7,000. Alexa can now do anything from order you a pizza, read your kids a bedtime story, and turn your lights on and off. Alexa is always listening, aptly responding to whatever you need, and what started as an experimental device is slowly becoming a household fixture.

As consumers, we’re aware of the devices tracking us. But for most, it’s hard to wrap your head around the foretold dangers of beings surveilled, because most don ‘t feel direct implications. And while privacy remains a hot topic in tech, Alexa promises that anything shared on their servers is 100% safe and undiscoverable to outsiders.

The interesting reality is: I basically give Amazon all of money. I even admit to using Amazon Now when I need toilet paper on a Saturday when I can easily walk to the corner store and pick it up myself. Amazon is the go-to for all my needs as a consumer, and in turn, Amazon knows a lot about me.

“While Google is working to anticipate your needs, Amazon is readying itself to be the only place you need to go to fulfill them.”

Image result for rosie the robot maid

Why it’s hot?

  • The Everything Store: It’s easy to buy into the Amazon universe. It’ll be interesting to see how their business grows in tech as this device becomes more of a household fixture.
  • Privacy: People are aware of surveillance, but convenience will likely bypass any privacy concerns.
  • Environmental and Cultural implications: Amazon Now, Amazon Prime – both feed the culture of instant gratification that brands and media continue to cultivate. What are the implications of devices like Alexa on consumption and willpower for society?

 

Snapchat Gets Smarter

Snapchat has taken its capabilities to the next level recently with new filters and lenses, but the channel is now going further to specifically help brands capitalize on these new features. Snapchat is partnering with big data firms to provide better insights on its users to advertisers. Using firms like Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom and BlueKai Snapchat will soon be able to tell advertisers how Snapchat users are using their mobile devices to connect with other brands—including what they’ve recently bought, viewed, or downloaded on their phones.

This data coupled with geolocation information will provide brands key insights into the interests and demographics of Snapchat users. Knowing how Snapchat fans are using their phones and what type of content they engage with most often on mobile will allow advertisers to create content on the platform that will truly resonate with their target. The data firms can even tell brands if specific users are millennials so they know whether or not they are reaching their desired audience.

iPhone-Iso-Starbucks-e1436909688698

Source

And speaking of Target, the brand has jumped full speed ahead on the Snapchat trend—recently using the platform’s geofilters on Black Friday to engage with customers in the checkout line. Read more about the integration of Snapchat into Target’s holiday campaign here.

Snapchat has recently signed on other big-named brands as sponsors, including Nordstrom and Starbucks, meaning that these new insights could lead to more strategic integration of Snapchat into brand campaigns in early 2016.

Why It’s Hot: Though the partnership with big data is a smart way for Snapchat to lure advertisers, it also provides an opportunity for brands to use the platform in a more effective way than ever before. By understanding the habits of Snapchat users that engage with their channel and knowing other mobile content they interact with, brands can optimize the content they push through the site to deliver what will resonate most with its consumers. The result? Smart, strategic executions that will be authentic and engaging to the consumer.

Source:

Snapchat is cutting data deals to lure advertisers

Everything Revolves Around the iPhone Including Your Jeans

Your pants aren’t happy about the new iPhone 6 Plus.

Along with Samsung’s mammoth Galaxy phones, Apple’s phablet mega-sized phone is starting to look like the future of mobile tech.

That’s bad news for your pants. Where do we put our phones? If you’re not prone to carrying a purse, the answer may be to just keep your device in your hand at all times. Although, that hasn’t stopped people from buying the phones like crazy — the 6 Plus was sold out within 24 hours.

 For fashion, the opportunity is either a huge headache or a design opportunity. Some brands are considering what this could mean for the future of pants. Though it might seem silly (and quite literally the definition of a first world problem), the reality is that larger pockets could become a necessity if you want to comfortably tuck your phone away.

Bigger-pockets-for-iphone-6-plus

Souce: http://mashable.com/2014/09/30/iphone-6-plus-pockets/

Why It’s Hot

The influential power that Apple and the iPhone has is a little scary. Phones with larger screens have become more and more popular which will, of course, influence other industries. But why is it a big deal now? Huge phones has been around for years. With the new launch of the iPhone plus, suddenly Jeans companies are changing their designs just so that the new iPhone can fit? It makes sense for companies to adapt to consumer needs but I guess I just find it a little scary how much influence Apple has on industries you would not normally expect to be affected. Everyone’s lives are already molded around their phones so I guess why not their pockets?

Will.i.am Is Trying Really Hard at this Wearables Thing

Will.i.am of the hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas has announced that his company a new wearable device called Puls designed to replace the mobile phone.

Aptly described as a “smart cuff,” Puls enables users to make calls, text, check social media, connect to Wi-Fi and bluetooth networks, play music, check calories burned, and more–all without a smartphone tethered. Puls is a standalone device. It also features a Siri competitor named “Aneeda” and runs on Android mobile OS.

Accompanying the launch announcement is an “anthem” video narrated by Will.i.am, which tries to become a “call to arms” for “alternative” thinkers and “leaders” to stand up against the smartphone world and rethink our relationship to technology.

Why It’s [Not] Hot

I applaud Puls for daring to take on the Apples, Samsungs and Microsofts of the world. Competition is a healthy thing. But Will, why do you have to make it so cheesy?  Will.i.am’s video screams “trying too hard” to me. But more than that, it’s the marketing decisions themselves that have me scratching my head.

  1. “Puls” is an existing company
  2. Upon Google search, only news stories are out there for those who want information on the product.
  3. While every article talks about how Will.i.am’s 35-engineer strong venture is backed by Salesforce.com, nowhere do users actually hear the company name! So they can’t find a site for Puls or read about by searching the company.

Seriously, what year are we in?  And with all that venture capital, why didn’t Will.i.am hire a marketing consultant (or agency, cough cough) to design a release strategy?!?  Will.i.am I wish you all the best, but you’ve got me scratching my head.

Source: DesignTaxi

Foursquare’s Swarm App

Foursquare’s new app, Swarm, was released on Thursday. The Swarm app chisels off the check-in and proximity features of the main app and places them in a sparse, focus-driven new home.

hot

hot2

Swarm is constantly pinging your location even when you don’t have the app open giving the ability to tell your friends what you’re up to at a neighborhood level location. This is very much the bones of the ‘check-in’ aspects of Foursquare, writ bold and bright across a small set of features that centers around a chart that shows you how close your friends are to you right now on a scale from ‘right here’ at 500 feet to ‘in the area’ of 20 miles. Swarm is about serendipitous meet ups via passive or explicit location sharing coupled with a planning feature that lets you create gatherings using Foursquare’s friend network and database of places.

It will be interesting to see if Foursquare will be able to gain confidence in location to the near-perfect point, and if so it could even offer quiet, automatic check-ins to specific places, not just neighborhoods. And once that happens users will get all of the benefits of checking in (logging, diary, a friendly digital wave to your friends) without having to actively remember to do it.

Read more here. 

Why It’s Hot

There’s a fundamental shift in the way that we use apps underway, and the symptoms are all over the map. From a deeper, more thoughtful approach to push notifications to the breaking apart of large, unwieldy apps into smaller more focused components – apps are evolving with the user. What makes Swarm significant is the underlying mechanics of the possibility of transforming the check-in from an action specifically taken by a user to a passive update. Every app has been fighting to be on a user’s home screen, but Swarm’s success could lead a trend in apps that don’t need to be on a user’s home screen to add value, they don’t even need to be open.