Does Cooperation Beat Competition in Getting Brands Attention Online?

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.

One Brand’s Trash is Another’s Treasure

To align with Columbus Day, Astral Tequila presented “Columbus Day: A Reenactment,” an ad starring Jonathan Goldsmith, the Artist Formerly Known as the Most Interesting Man in the World.


At the end of the video, Goldsmith breaks the fourth wall to address us, the viewing audience, directly: “That is pretty much how it happened.” Cue a close-up of a bottle of Astral Tequila and, on-screen, “Happy Columbus Day.”

To say that Columbus’ legacy is complicated is a vast understatement.

When you touch upon this realm, there’s sure to be backlash, but they’re not taking sides, they’re making light of what we know as the facts: An explorer set out for India and landed in a new world, one already inhabited albeit, although he claimed to have found it.

“Our spot is simply lampooning Christopher Columbus’ journey,” says Astral VP-Marketing Joen Choe in a statement provided by Erich and Kallman, the agency of record for the Davos Brands tequila. Choe added that Columbus “set out for India, but bumped into America instead. We are certainly not making light of any historical events.”

Why Its Hot:

I’m steering clear of the controversial nature of “Columbus Day” theme and going for what I like most about this spot: re-purposing of a commercial celebrity. It reminds me of the ‘can you hear me now’ guy’s resurrection by Sprint. One brand’s trash is another’s treasure!

Name That Tune

We’re so used to the apps we use every day just working. When Twitter or Facebook or Google go down, everybody panics! But what happens if our favorite apps simply forgot what they were supposed to be doing.

Alzheimer’s Research U.K., agency Innocean Worldwide U.K. brought a horribly human attribute to Shazam—the ability to forget.

“The Day Shazam Forgot” was a collaboration in which Shazam appeared to have trouble remembering the songs people asked it to identify. When the app finally “remembered” the track, users were driven to a call to action about Alzheimer’s disease and invited to donate to the cause.

The campaign also used Shazam’s existing Shazam Again feature to promote its message.

The effort ran through the month of April in the U.K. In mere hours, the agency says, “The Day Shazam Forgot” yielded 2,018,206 impressions, with 5,096 visitors visiting the Alzheimer’s Research U.K. donation page. (Hopefully they remembered their credit card information.)

Why Its Hot

It can be difficult for nonprofits with a singular focus to find marketing opportunities within existing apps. Finding the right audience is one challenge, but so is fitting your message in a way that actually makes sense.

This is a great example of cause marketing and the types of engagements you can create when the right partnership presents itself.

Someone Please Buy This Guy’s Car!

Last moth, Eugene Romanovsky posted an ad to sell “my best friend,” his 1996 Suzuki Vitara on YouTube. This absolutely amazing video has amassed over 3.9 million views and reportedly two thousand offers to buy his car.

Eugene’s “adventures” with the Vitara include evading the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, thundering down the desert dunes alongside Mad Max and the War Boys convoy in Mad Max: Fury Road and diving into the depths of the ocean to swim with sharks.

In case you’re wondering, Eugene is Creative Director/ VFX Supervisor/ Head of Motion GFX dep. at Gravity – an international Creative, Design, Animation and Effects group, situated in sunny Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Why It’s Hot

Just because your objective is simple—like selling a car—doesn’t mean you can’t think outside the box and have fun!


Monkeys in Magenta

After seven years, the digital band, Gorillaz, are releasing a new album, and as part of their promotion, a new app is encouraging people to find the color magenta to unlock unique content.

Deutsche Telekom has created the Lenz app that will unlock new content for users whenever they hover it over something magenta — the brand’s corporate color.

The brand has teamed up with the virtual band, Gorillaz, to launch the Lenz app, which was created by Saatchi & Saatchi for the Deutsche Telekom music and lifestyle platform, Electronic Beats. With the new app, when a user finds something magenta (it could be a t-shirt, a flower or anyting that matches the Pantone range), they can hold their phone over it, to reveal new content from Gorillaz, including the first ever “live” interview with the band using motion capture and composition technology, and exclusive clips from the band’s new album “Humanz,” dropping on April 28. The app uses Chroma Keying technology to use the color to unlock the content. 

Why It’s Hot

This is a really cool activation. It is great positioning for Deutsche Telekom because it’s not overly intrusive or brand-heavy. And Gorillaz of course gain additional buzz around their upcoming album. I think this is a great example of a brand involving itself in a moment without trying to take it over.

Can 4/20 Be the Healthiest Day of the Year?

When people think about 4/20, they’re probably not thinking of healthy activities, but cannabis health and wellness company, Hmbldt wants to change that—with the help of their products, of course.

The company’s product line consists of vape pens that are designed to distribute controlled hits of cannabis designed to help to alleviate common ailments such as pain and insomnia — without getting its consumers high.

Yesterday, the company rolled out “GO420,” a social effort that will highlight 420 healthy ways to enjoy April 20 via the hashtag #GO420. Gifs and videos offer tips like “Go make a dream come true,” “Go take a pottery class,” “Go tell your partner you love them,” “Go do push-ups in the park,” “Go tell your partner a sexy secret.”

Why It’s Hot

  • Putting the consumer first by leveraging what is likely their biggest moment and making it about personal health rather than buying a product.
  • Campaigns like this create excellent affinity and lifelong ambassadors for a brand.


Wendy’s has struck social media gold thanks to a Nevada teenager. If you haven’t heard of #NuggsforCarter by now you must not be on Twitter. The hashtag began rising in popularity after high-schooler Carter Wilkerson innocently sent this tweet:

Wendy’s quickly responded “18 million,” thanks to Matt Keck, Wendy’s community manager at digital agency VML.

Other brands jumped in…

And pretty soon, the tweet was getting major media coverage, including in USA Today.

As of midday Wednesday, Mr. Wilkerson’s screenshot of his exchange with Wendy’s has garnered more than 2.6 million retweets, ranking it as the second-most retweeted tweet, according to Favstar. He only trails Ellen DeGeneres’s famous Oscars selfie tweet from 2014, which has 3.35 million retweets. VML projects Mr. Wiklerson’s tweet will eclipse Ellen’s tweet.

Mr. Wilkerson looks like a budding marketing executive. He has seized on the publicity by launching his own website where he is selling apparel like #NuggsforCarter T-shirts.

Why It’s Hot

This is a great case of an innocent tweet going viral.  It demonstrates the power of networks and a brand capitalizing on a small opportunity to get viewability.  Very cool!

Opportunistic Content 101: Toys R Us Giraffe Cam

“April the Giraffe” – a wildlife park’s pregnant giraffe, April, is set to give birth any day now, and the internet is watching. Toys R Us has capitalized on all the eyeballs by sponsoring the zoo’s live feed of April. The buzz has come in the form of genuine excitement and anticipation as well as conspiracy theories.

Why it’s hot: Toys R Us saw the simplest of opportunities – a basic sponsorship getting their brand name and logo in front of hundreds of thousands of people who likely fit within their target demo – and seized on it quickly, having to do little more than pony up the cash to support the zoo. It remains to be seen if the whole thing is truly organic, or if it’s a PR stunt orchestrated by Toys R Us, the zoo, and/or Doubletree Hotels whose local franchise has also placed advertising on the giraffe’s dedicated landing page.

Follow the Leader

“Global warming is an obvious and imminent threat that’s already wreaking havoc in some communities. But this ad, from the environmental group Defend Our Future, doesn’t really tap into the audience’s lizard brain and strike fight-or-flight nerves the same way an approaching inferno would. In other words, however clever the approach, it seems more suited to observational musing than lighting a fire under those content to keep living life as if the human race weren’t engineering a far less habitable planet, largely by inertia and indifference. It’s certainly notable enough to spark conversation, and hopefully some action. The organization is challenging would-be-participants to commit to using reusable water bottles (perhaps a Bobble, if you’d like some snark with your purchase), start a bike share or write a letter to a governor. Though any one of those things might be asking too much of someone who’d rather breathe through a shirt than leave a room thick with fumes.” – Gabriel Beltrone

Read More:

Why It’s Hot

From a social perspective, we see that people are more inclined to do something/follow a trend when they see others participating. Examples: Selfies, Ice Bucket Challenge, etc. This video is a prime example of  the classic social psychology experiment on bystander apathy.

Samsung Social Hosts a Korean Restaurant For Singles

A Chinese restaurant in Seoul ostensibly took it upon themselves to play Cupid for the singles in May. In a longer version (untranslated) of this video, we see a man handing out flyers (Free Jja jang noodles for singles for Grand Opening!) to single-looking people in the neighborhood. Later, we see a few single people with flyers in their hands entering the restaurant and being led to a section of the restaurant where they enjoy their free noodles. The booth asks if the single if he or she would like to be enjoying the noodles with someone else, and when they click “Yes,” the front of the booth opens up and reveals a fellow single across table! The singles are then free to make awkward conversation or really hit it off to exchange numbers.

This mockumentary-style video was a viral hit in Korea, and it was actually an effort by the Samsung Group to promote their products and social channels. In the extended view of the video, we see an end note of a man wanting to enjoy his noodles alone, clicking “No” and a caption says, “If you’re also alone, become friends with Samsung Social Channels.”

Why It’s Hot: In Korea, the couple culture is highly valued. There are many set-up dates and products that cater specifically to couples like couple keychains and rings. It’s a great insight and innovative creative from Samsung to try to become part of that conversation (and help singles meet each other) without being overly promotional. You see the very subtle Samsung branding at the end of the video, and it doesn’t feel obtrusive or out of place. There is higher value in the content rather than the branding, which makes sense for the video.

CNN: Bill Gates’ poop water machine gets a test run

Earlier this year, Bill Gates posted a video of himself drinking water made from human feces. The video went viral. The water Gates drank was proceeded by a machine that collects human waste and converts it into safe, reusable byproducts such as water and electricity.

According to a blog post from Gates this week, the processor referred to as the “Omni Processor,” is getting its first test run in Senegal. Specifically, it will be tested in Dakar, a city of more than 3 million people, with about 1/3 not having access to the city’s sewer system. Groundwater contamination is common.

The Omni Processor makes much of the current waste management process obsolete, potentially making sanitation much cheaper for Dakar. The machine also saves the city money by powering the rest of the sanitation facility with electricity converted from the waste it processed. Treated water can be drunk or used for irrigation, and ash can be made into bricks.

Gates said the Omni Processor is succeeding in its test run, and the results have been promising. Gates and Janicki aim to bring more Omni Processors to other cities in need.


Why It’s Hot

According to the CNN article, more than 2 billion people around the world — nearly a third of humanity — use toilets that aren’t connected to a sewer system. Poor sanitation kills 700,000 children every year, according to Gates. This processor can radically improve waste management and create a renewable source for electricity generation, potable water, and more.

What will happen when Facebook turns on monetization for content creators?

On average, videos featured on the Lad Bible Facebook page are generating 5.6 million views. How so? They are leveraging their community to promote viral video content created by their fans. “The user becomes a brand ambassador because they feel like they’re a part of the community.”- Logan Vild

Did you know that on a daily basis, Lad Bible receives over 1,000 submissions? The power of a brand promoting UGC content continues to be expressed throughout social as brands want to show that their fans are what make their brand. Ultimately, this approach helps establish and maintain a positive and engaging community.

Lad Bible recognized the influence that promoting UGC content had on their brand. Considering that most brands are doing this now with photo content, it’s interesting to see a brand use UGC video content because most videos that brands promote on social are of high quality and are branded.

Since most viewers watch Facebook video content on mobile, there is power behind a brand promoting UGC video content because it tends to be easily digestible and short. Therefore, the over obsessing of brands needing to spend big bucks to produce the “coolest” videos is solely diminishing because brands like Lab Bible are capitalizing on this free and effective way to promote video content.

“We have taken a strategic decision to create, acquire, partner and produce video for all platforms.”- Logan Vild

Read more:

One of Lab Bible’s videos: 

Why Its Hot

Considering that platforms are dabbling into awarding users that create viral content such as Youtube videos, will Facebook begin to award their users as well? What are your thoughts? How will brands like Lad Bible tackle this?

The Power of Storytelling without Words

HSBC Travels 40 Years in One Remarkable Elevator Ride

The spot from Grey-London portrays one man’s 40-year ride to the top – not without bumps- encapsulated completely within one elevator ride.  The genius of it is that, without dialogue or caption, it conveys a story brilliantly in which we are allowed to fill in (or assume) the details.

The tie-in to the brand (HSBC) can also be perceived many ways, but it can be assumed that the journey of this brand, born in 1974, is personified by the one man’s trip ‘up’. It also shows the business from one man’s life from both sides – with personal and professional triumphs. At one point he is seen in conflict, another in defeat and others are life-milestones celebrated. Its a brave and well-crafted emotional roller coaster that keeps us involved and thirsty to know how it ends.


Why its Hot:

It’s a novel, effective style of storytelling that lets the audience fill in the blanks and promotes repeat viewings. (As Mad Men proved, you can get more drama out of elevator scenes than you might think.)  I can see such clever storytelling leveraged for a brand such as ETS, to portray, without verbose narration, how one young person who grasps opportunity, can have a very positive life change as we continue conversations around scaling up our use of more visual channels that utilize video. Leaving out words can create a more universal message and allow for acceptance across many cultures and markets as well. Well done!

Selfies Are Influencing Where We Choose to Go On Vacation!

Having trouble deciding where to go on vacation? Turn to social media. Social media users are automatically influenced by the accounts that they follow when deciding where and why to go on a particular vacation.

“For those who are completely absorbed by the selfie phenomena, determining an ideal vacation spot is no easy task. Gone are the days when temperature and climate took precedence in choosing a travel destination. Today, a new kind of selection process is upon us, one heavily regulated by the proliferation of social media and the ability to instantly share every aspect of visiting a certain part of the country/world.”- Kevin DeeganCapture

People are now selecting vacations for the social return aspect that their photos will establish. This is because vacation experiences must now include feed-friendly moments. These moments have to be ones that can be captured and shared instantly across social media.

“Potential vacation goers are attracted to specific destinations with the allure of increasing their influence among their social followers. (After all who doesn’t love a few Instagram likes?) For example, the appeal of sharing your vacation to Fiji while paddle boarding among dolphins resonates with potential vacation goers far more than a trip to see antiquated statues in Hungary. Thus, specific locations are being booked far quicker than others, simply because social media is playing a factor in the decision making.”- Kevin Deegan

Travelers are also choosing to book vacations with different hospitality companies because they offer experiences for guests to capitalize on their selfies. One hotel is Paris offers special trips for its guests to go on an adventure around town. They take them to the perfect selfie spots so guests can take photos and instantly upload them to social media.

Did you know… animals are also influencing where we go on vacations as well? A destination in Australia that is home to the quokka has lured in hundreds on thousands of tourists because everyone wants to take a selfie with this creature’s cute and photogenic smile. Until recently, few people outside of Australia have heard of this animal but now everyone is booking their trips to go and meet them. vRe9NfX

Why It’s Hot

Although we are aware of the trend that selfies have taken throughout the past couple of years, now we can see that they are impacting where we travel to. Travelers are actively searching through their social media accounts for destination hot spots that engage well with other user. Knowing this, people are going to great length to capture a selfie that depicts the essence of their vacation. “Selfies that users view on their feed, depicting a cool location or attraction, actually act as a catalyst for viewers to travel to that particular destination. It’s a selfie world these days, we’re all just living in it and traveling through it.”- Kevin Deegan

What if you were Dating a Social Media Site?

What would it be like if you went on a date with a social network? That’s the question answered in this very funny video, produced by up and coming YouTube star Emma Blackery, and it turns out, Google+ would be very, very needy indeed. So, we should clarify here. In the video, Emma shows what would happen if you were on a date with a person who exhibited the stereotypical qualities of a particular social website. It’s shockingly accurate.

** Caution: Video contains some offensive language **

What do we have? Instagram is obsessed with taking pictures of food, Facebook wants to know whether you know this other person, Snapchat’s bound by the clock, Twitter needs attention, and Tumblr — well, we don’t want to say in case we cause offense. This description doesn’t do the video any justice, and it’s far more cutting; so just watch it, and have a good laugh at poor old Google+.

How reasonable are her depictions of social networks? They’re pretty spot on, highlighted by the real world gulf between the number of active Facebook users and Google+ — the butt of Emma’s cruelest observations — users. Facebook claims it sees 936 million active users each day, and a giant 1.44 billion monthly active users.

Google+ may boast more accounts — 2.5 billion, apparently — but according to recent research a tiny percentage of these accounts actually post anything on a regular basis. It’s estimated there are around 111 million active accounts, and just 6.7 million have 50 or more posts on them in total. No wonder Google+ is crying out for attention.

Why Its Hot:

We know each channel has pros/cons and it’s own vibe. It’s very clever to personify these well-known outlets and call out, well… mostly weaknesses. But the sharable quality of this video is hard to ignore – the author received half a million views in the first two days and now has over 1 million YouTube followers.

Source and to read more:

Digital Dog Follows Prospective Owners in Search of Home

In a seamless execution marrying outdoor, guerrilla and digital tactics, the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home “#LookingForYou” campaign turned heads in London’s famed Westfield Stratford Mall.

Shoppers at the mall were treated with a touching personalized advertisement. Mall-goers were handed out special leaflets by Battersea and had a cute digital dog follow them around digital screens as they strolled the mall.

The key technology behind the execution was a RFID chip that the leaflets were embedded with.  The chip activated nearby screens in the mall. Walking across jumbo screens, an adorable dog named Barley will stroll with the person holding the leaflet. As they walk through the mall, Barley pops up like magic on screens to interact with the lucky passerby.

Watch the campaign video below:


Why Its Hot:

The campaign leveraged innovative technology to create a tailored experience and draw attention to a worthy cause. With the help of an adorable dog, the goal of creating an emotional connection with the shoppers was natural.

Sidenote: The charity, which has been around since 1860, re-homed an astounding 3,000 dogs in 2014. That averages into eight dogs moved into new families every day!


Early Thursday evening BuzzFeed published a post that aggregated a Tumblr post of a dress in which the color of the dress was in dispute. Basically, some people saw white and gold  and other saw black and blue… and the Internet collectively lost it.


Every publisher – from Time to Cosmo to CNN to local news channels – were sharing the BuzzFeed post and joining the debate. Slate even put up a live blog. The debate continued throughout the night: friendships were tested, relationships destroyed, brands and celebrities weighed in and scientific… and unscientific theories were shared to explain why some people saw white and gold and others black and blue. Four of the top Twitter Trends Thursday night were occupied by dress-related hashtags: #thedress, #dressgate, #whiteandgold.




The BuzzFeed post was shared 16 million times just five-odd hours after it was posted, and BuzzFeed said a record 670,000 people were on the site at the same time. Of that number, 500,000 of the people were visiting on mobile devices, and half of those visitors were reading the post about the dress.

Why It’s Hot

The dress is a single meme that trended so powerfully so quickly, but it does represent a larger trend of explosive-but-short viral lifespans that has been visible for some time now. This meme more than anything really underlines the differences between Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. It went viral on Tumblr Wednesday, on Twitter Thursday, and will probably hang around Facebook for the rest of the week. This seems to be the new Viral Cycle.

MetLife’s New Ad Has A Heartbreaking Twist

MetLife Hong Kong breathes new life into insurance commercials with this spot—a father-daughter story that digs deeper, and packs even more of an emotional wallop, than similar ads of late. “You can’t change your destiny, but you can create your own,” says the brand. “MetLife values the dream of every parent to give their children a good education to pursue a better life. We understand every sacrifice you make for your children’s future.”

Why It’s Hot

I think Metlife did a great job in appealing to viewers emotions but also in making this ad an authentic story that encourages conversation and sharing. Metlife is also running a promotion for this campaign were parents submit a short messaging explaining their dream for their child to enter to win a 3-year endowment to support their child’s education. The execution is also validated by research that was recently published by J&J and IAB that found that images of babies were most likely to grab the attention of young moms (age 18-32). According to their study, 77% of US moms responded to mobile ads featuring babies which is compared to only 19% response for images of a well-dressed woman leading a business meetings. Read more here.


Insanely Detailed Viral Campaign for Jurassic World


First launched softly on Twitter last August, the viral campaign for Universal’s Jurassic World movie went into high gear after the Super Bowl. Two incredibly immersive websites launched– one for the fictional park which will have you believing you could book a trip there tomorrow (take a tour through the resort rooms, check the restaurant menu, look at activities, live webcams of the park, even buy merchandise), and the other for the equally fictional company that supposedly owns and built the park, Masrani Global.

Neither site acknowledges they are fictional. Rich in video, imagery and detail; updates are now being released that have fans poring through the work for clues about the film.

Why It’s Hot
Viral marketing is often a “leap of faith” as we cant predict or forecast success, it is completely in the hands of the user to determine whether the content is shareable. It is impressive how much detail and depth went into these websites, and is continuously being released without a shred of paid promotion. That’s the definition of faith in your idea, your instincts and the resulting content is so rich and compelling i am waiting to see when this gets real traction.

Mindy Kaling is “Invisible” in New Nationwide Spot

Nationwide is charging into its first Super Bowl since 2007, and not with recent frontman Peyton Manning, but with a seemingly less likely spokesperson—Mindy Kaling, the talent behind Fox’s sitcom The Mindy Project. In a newly released teaser for the Big Game spot “Invisible,” Kaling decides that after years of being treated as if she was invisible—think taxis bypassing her on city streets—she might actually be invisible and has some fun with the idea. She eats food from a stranger’s plate at an outdoor café, sunbathes nude in a park, helps herself to a bucket of ice cream as she strolls through a supermarket aisle and walks through an automated carwash. Against strains of the Roy Orbison song “Oh, Pretty Woman,” the narrator ends the teaser with “But Mindy was actually not invisible.”

Why It’s Hot

While I didn’t find Nationwide’s teaser to be particularly groundbreaking I thought the company’s message behind the ad was really interesting:

“The insight here is consumers feel dissatisfied and considered invisible by companies out there,” said Matt Jauchius, Nationwide’s chief marketing officer. “The best advertising combines head and heart. With ‘Invisible,’ we’re saying we understand you, America—you feel treated by brands as being invisible. That’s the rational message, and for the emotional one we’re using humor because it’s the Super Bowl.”

By using humor and a celebrity influencer I think that this ad will help to improve brand perception among the millennial target and I’ll be interested to see where Nationwide takes this “Invisible” message in the future.

Follow more at #InvisibleMindy



7 YouTube Stars Help Tease Nissan’s Return to the Super Bowl

Nissan has turned to YouTube stars to build buzz around its first Super Bowl appearance in 18 years.

Seven YouTube stars, including Roman Atwood, Action Movie Kid, Dude Perfect and Jabbawockeez, are creating their own videos around the theme #withdad. And while the videos are all visually different and therefore not illustrative of the Big Game ad, they suggest a unifying theme: how fathers make families more exciting.

Nissan’s lead agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., is creating the spot, which the automaker previously confirmed. Neither the company nor the agency will release the execution before the Feb. 1 game. But it’s expected to be at least 60 seconds long and air during the first half.

“With so many commercials airing before the Big Game, I fundamentally believe it takes away much of the magic of showing the commercial on the biggest stage of the year,” said Fred Diaz, svp of sales, marketing and operations for Nissan North America. “We do, however, want to build suspense around our story while provoking a social conversation around the overarching theme.”

Here’s a look at the first four YouTube teaser videos, which Nissan posted on today

Why it’s hot:

Another touchdown ? Super Bowl XLIX is still more than a week away, but fans are already eagerly anticipating the big game — and the commercials that come with it. Buzz building efforts like leveraging social influencers help to not just build momentum for advertising but also help to justify the business case for the expensive superbowl spot.





Kyrzbekistan, the Hottest New Tourist Destination in the World (Wide Web)

Everyone makes mistakes, including credible news sources like The New York Times. The newspaper recently published an article about a climber who escaped captivity in Asia by throwing an armed militant off a cliff. It’s a fascinating story, but you won’t find the place where the article says the incident took place on any map. Kyrzbekistan, perhaps a mistaken mash-up of central Asian countries Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, is not a real country.


Naturally, the Internet responded almost immediately. Read more on the reaction to Kyrzbekistan via Adweek.

Why It’s Hot: No one can make a single error online without the world noticing. Mistakes quickly go viral, sometimes at the cost of a brand’s image, with the brand left to pick up the pieces. In this case, parts of the Internet are responding relatively well. While senior editors at the New York Times are undoubtedly kicking themselves, the accidentally-created country of Kyrzbekistan now has its own Twitter feed and a lighthearted, seemingly harmless following.

It’s interesting to note not just how fast the Internet reacts to things like this, but that they stay relevant for a little while – even if just to bored millennials – before fading out. With Kyrzbekistan’s statehood, it took one day for someone with perhaps too much time on their hands to create (and still maintain) a Twitter handle. Since then, tweets have continued to pour in.

The buzz is surely driving traffic to the original article; I wouldn’t have read the piece if it hadn’t been for the error. And the tourism industry of Kyrzbekistan – I mean Kyrgyzstan – is probably mindful of the publicity.

YouTube Reveals Most Viral Videos of 2014

Ads on YouTube are often a nuisance, so it’s a rare occasion that millions and millions of people actually sit through a company’s commercial. And then share that ad with all their friends.

As a part of YouTube’s year-end roundups, the company tallied up the most watched ads of the year. The company found that the top 10 ads had a total of 425 million views, compared to 200 million in 2012 when the leaderboards were launched. And while ads were 50% longer this year, people watched 50% more of them; the ads were so popular that four even landed in the YouTube’s overall most watched videos of the year.

While over 4 minutes long, Nike’s “Winner Stays” ad for the World Cup topped the list (#2 overall) with 99.7 million views to date and almost 500k likes!

Why It’s Hot

Many brands were really successful in making their video content more engaging and relevant this year. The most successful brands on YouTube (including Nike, P&G, Samsung and Budweiser) should inspire other brands to break the mold of traditional advertising. If you’re interested in learning more, Google also provided a few themes that emerged when putting together the top 10 list. A couple examples:

– Aligning with cultural events opens a bigger window for brands to engage with fans

– Don’t be afraid to challenge social norms (some of the most successful ads on YouTube this year weren’t afraid to hit a nerve)


Serial’s Massive Success

Have you listened to the wildly popular podcast, Serial? The story is centered around the 1999 Baltimore murder of a high school student.

It’s become one of the most-talked about stories of the year, logging 5 million downloads, faster than any other podcast, according to Apple. This success has reignited chatter about podcasting, a decade after it being the most hyped format of its days.


Why It’s Hot: 
Due to the growth of smartphones and the availability of podcasting apps, the format is regaining popularity. Market research firm Edison Research claimed in September that 1.7% of the time Americans spend listening to audio is devoted to podcasts, having noted earlier in the year that 15% of Americans – around 39MM people – said they had listened to a podcast in the last month.


Apple Debuts New Holiday Ad

Apple once again shows it can do touching holiday ads with the best of them in this beautifully understated spot created out of TBWA/Media Arts Lab and directed by Park Pictures’ Lance Acord. It’s all about a girl creating a gift for her grandmother, using Apple technology to turn an old tune, “Our Love Is Here to Stay,” into a duet. As her grandmother listens to the song at the breakfast table on an iPad Mini while looking at the old photographs her granddaughter has collected, it’s difficult to stay dry-eyed.

Why It’s Hot 

The spot was released on Sunday and has already garnered attention from trades like Adage and Adweek. In my opinion, ads are always more impactful when they can touch people’s emotions, especially during the gift gifting season. While it’s different from Apple’s traditional ads that are very product focused, I hope that they continues on this trend because it creates a more positive “brand personality” for the company and can continue to set them apart from their competitors.

Meme Marketing Done Right

Alex, now better known as #AlexFromTarget, was just a normal guy who worked at Target until this Sunday when he became the Internet’s newest favorite meme. Twitter user @auscalem(now private) shared a photo of the young male cashier at Target with the caption “YOOOOOOOOOO” and suddenly, Twitter users everywhere starting sharing the photo and talking about “Alex from Target,” many of them using the photo to create memes.

Perhaps the best thing about Alex’s overnight fame is how Target responded to the situation. Target’s Twitter account wrote, “We heart Alex, too! #alexfromtarget” alongside an image of Alex’s nametag. Simple, yet effective — a tweet from Target’s account the previous day announcing a sale received 103 retweets and 134 favorites, but their supportive #AlexFromTarget tweet hit 28,000 retweets and 43,000 favorites. And that’s the power of memes.

So let’s talk about memes. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a meme is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.”  Since memes are already viral by definition, it can be tempting to use them to your advantage in your marketing strategy. This is often referred to as “memejacking” and if it’s done right, it can really push your social marketing over the edge. But memes can be tricky, and if you mess up, it can be pretty embarrassing.

Here are three important steps to memejack the correct way:

  1. Understand the meme first.If you’re unsure of the correct way to use a meme, don’t just try it anyway. Go to, search for the particular meme you’re interested in, and read up on it before you even get started. If you use a meme incorrectly, it can seriously backfire.
  2. Don’t waste time.Some memes stay popular for years, and others fall flat after a few months or even days. If you’re going to memejack, do it as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could end up using it too late.
  3. Make sure it’s appropriate.If your business has a very serious reputation, and subsequently, a very serious audience, using memes could actually offend or isolate people — the exact opposite of what you want.


View image on Twitter


Why It’s Hot:

Great opportunity for us to have some fun! AlexfromTarget is a great example of how something as simple as a Twitter pic of an employee can blow up into something huge! Memejacking is a hard thing to do as the internet a fickle fickle beast but if we do it right, it can go a long way for our brands. The article provides some basic how tos but sometimes you just have to get lucky and let it naturally blossom. Another thing that I feel like we need is a mascot. Especially for Verizon, since we’re selling a service, having a mascot might contextualize our product similar to Time Warner’s roadrunner.

This North Face Store’s Floor Disappears, Forcing Startled Shoppers to Climb the Walls

Fancy yourself the outdoorsy type, eh? You’ve got all the slickest gear for the rugged lifestyle you live every day. Maybe you even have a gnarly beard and a Clif bar in your pocket. Well, what if next time you went shopping for gear you were immediately put to the test?

Shoppers in Korea faced this challenge in a terrifyingly hilarious stunt by The North Face and South Korean agency Innored titled “Never Stop Exploring.”

Unsuspecting customers at this pop-up North Face store were startled when the floor below them slowly began to disappear, and they were forced to grab on to the walls, which happened to have rock-climbing holds attached to them. Then, a perfect North Face item descends from the heavens, just out of their reach, and a 30-second timer appears.

Totally freaked out, they are given a challenge to grab a North Face jacket hanging from the ceiling in 30 seconds and they get to keep it.

Why it’s hot:

It’s a brillant concept that marries the brand proposition of “never exploring” into a unique retail experience.  Not only does it break retail shopping convention and delivers an actual brand experience, it also delivers a memorable North Face experience that shoppers are unlikely to forget.


Yo, McDonald’s: Give Us Fried Ice Cream

A group of fast-food enthusiasts are pinging the chain restaurant en masse to put a new pie on the menu.

The McFried Ice Cream Pie Campaign has simple aims, and has chosen simple means for achieving them: in order to petition McDonald’s to combine two of its current dessert offerings, campaigners want supporters to use the effectively mono-functional app Yo to make their voices (or chirpy, pre-recorded simulacrum of them) heard.

To garner interest in the Yo petition, the group has also put together a number of posters and a short video (below).


The campaign’s manifesto reads as such:

The Fried Apple Pie and the Vanilla Cone are easily two of the most nostalgic items on the McDonald’s menu. Now imagine them together as one perfect, dreamy dessert. Can you taste it? No, you can’t. Not yet. We aim to change that. Let’s get the pie to the people. Stand with us and help unite these two favorites once and for all.

Why It’s Hot

To date, the relatively new and pseudo-popular app Yo has been through its paces in a handful of ways. Among other indicators of its mixed — if highly publicized — reception, Yo has already inspired two spoof apps. An app that seems to have relatively no purpose (one can argue that Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and even Facebook at one point seemed to add no true value to our lives), Yo is finding its home among users in unique and thought-provoking ways.

Would You Survive a ‘Walking Dead’ Episode? This App Will Be the Judge

The Walking Dead‘s second-screen experience has just gotten a really cool facelift ahead of the show’s Season 5 premiere.

The enhanced version of The Walking Dead Story Sync will gauge a user’s responses and be able to tell them, based on their choices, whether they would have survived an episode — and the character to whom they are most similar.

Also new this season, Story Sync, which is a complement to the live show, will have a “Watch With” feature that will allow users to see the responses of celebrity participants during certain episodes.
“The new features have been in development since the end of last season” Mac McKean, AMC’s senior vice president of digital media and content told Mashable in an e-mail. “As we’ve learned what users and viewers are responding to and what is truly additive to their viewing experience, we’re able to add new features without being afraid that we’re steering people away from the show or distracting them.”

Based on usage, Story Sync is one of the most successful second-screen applications, according to the network, drawing more than 2 million unique participants during last season.


Before the revamp, the app focused on providing supplemental information on the story and characters, polls, and quizzes — all of which have been and continue to be developed with help from the show’s producers, McKean said, “to make sure Story Sync matches their vision for The Walking Dead.”

Why it’s hot:

Opening the gates to every device type allows for as many users as possible to engage with the second screen. The greater the numbers, the more likely the social experiences will succeed in engaging viewers. Social activity and participation on Twitter is now even ranking alongside traditional Nielsen ratings so soon enough it maybe one holistic experience.

Bra-Cam Begs the Question: Other People are Paying Attention; Shouldn’t You?

In honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Nestle Fitness‘ new campaign brings forth an interesting thought- with so many people paying attention to women’s breasts, perhaps women should pay more attention to their own.

As part of the #CheckYourSelfie campaign, Nestle Fitness equipped one woman’s bra with a hidden camera to capture just how many people couldn’t resist looking at her chest throughout a day. (Yes, it does seem quite obvious that her revealing bright pink bra might have attracted extra attention as well.)

Read more about the “bra-cam” on TIME.

Why It’s Hot | Though a little awkward, the campaign does raise awareness of just how much attention our breasts get from other people, begging women to question why we don’t pay more attention to our own. For years, medical professionals have been urging women to use self-exams to monitor for changes that could be breast cancer. It’s interesting to see how that same message is being shared in new ways throughout the years.