Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mercedes Promotes Play

With the prestigious Monaco Gran Prix this weekend, MB posted on Twitter and Facebook, a challenge to Gran Turismo 5 fans to best the real lap-times of team drivers Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg.

Couple things interesting about this:
A small example of doing something that gets people to play along w/your brand.
Further promoting the MB SLS AMG and sponsorship of GT5 among core performance enthusiasts.

No prize offered by MB, other than bragging rights. And maybe a seat on next year's MB F1 team?

What co-partnerships do we have w/our clients' brands that we could create some playful participation among their fan community?

Is entertainment check-in really that social?

Saw this story that suggests that a new crop of entertainment check-in apps allow for social TV watching. I've been playing around with a couple of these entertainment check-in apps, Get Glue and IntoNow lately, and still find them both less "social" than the types of conversations we would see blow-up on Facebook or Twitter during the TV events like the Superbowl, the VMAs, or even weekly episodes of American Idol.

Love the 1-click simplicity of IntoNow, however it lacks the social aspect of fostering dialog between show fans. The "shazam-like" feature makes it really easy to use. Anyone knows how the recent Pepsi Max/MLB "Free 20oz" promotion performed?

Get Glue is basically a 4sq. version where users are awarded badges for sharing the type of content you're consuming. Users can type in a short comment, or review of the content. I've used this feature to decide if I want to watch a particular episode or movie from Netflix. For the user, there's a bit more work required to type-in the content name, and the app does not recognize or allow users the ability to add web-based content. Missed opportunity here?

For people who are into entertainment check-in apps, what kind of rewards could we excite them with? How could we make them more "social"?

Monday, April 18, 2011

surfing nostalgia

for the past few years, i've seen a trend in surf shops that appeal to a more nostalgic aesthetic. so instead of the flashiness and bigness of most shops cater to a wider, mainstream audience, shops like Thalia, Mollusk, Shelter and even Saturdays Surf NYC target a more discerning and artisanal buyer. these shops will take their time to nurture a relationship with their customers. whereas the others will try to get you on frequency and will compete for your dollar with the online retailers.

i've always enjoyed the experience at these smaller boutique-y shops that have a knowledgeable staff, most of them also happen to be the owners. these guys are doing it for the love of surf culture and not trying to cash-in on a squid looking to wear the latest Kelly Slater boardshort. people who've been surfing for a long time, or those who really appreciate the craftsmanship, quality and rich history and story of a surfboard, wetsuit or even a tshirt design will enjoy these "retro" surf shops.

Monday, December 20, 2010

everyone all play nice together now

It's finally here. Just when you started to get bored of Foursquare, they've made a much needed update to the location-based social network platform with the added functionality of photo sharing and comments. We've been playing a lot with Instagram lately, and have seen a drop in Fsq usage. Now, with integration not only with Instagram and even Foodspotting, users can get check-in credits for posting on other LBS platforms. Nice. What are your thoughts on this latest update? Will you see more interaction between your Fsq friends now?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

sour's "mirror"

What if we took your reflection from the internets and mashed it up into a music video?  We'd get the Japanese band Sour's latest digital awesome, Mirror.  A bit of a social media navel gazing and snappy little music video experience. And, if you haven't seen any of Sour's earlier work, it's a visually delightful piece. It's much better than this version.  More here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

authentic sole?

Mass shoe-teria Foot Locker is jumping on the sneaker-culture scene by creating an online community for sneaker-heads, called "Sneakerpedia". Bold move on their part to add value to a passionate tribe of sneaker-addicts, or, will it reek of big money marketing trying to buy their way into relevance?

When I was a kid, I remember fondly going to the Kinney Shoe store to pick-up my kicks w/my parents. Will the next generation of sneaker-freaks find 'em at Foot Locker or hipster boutiques like UNDFTD? i know, i'm not ready to sink-down $1000 for of Nike 6.0 Deloreans for my kid.

Sneakerpedia Trailer from Sneakerpedia on Vimeo.

[via Contagious]

Nike 6.0 Deloreans

insights from the outside

it's easy to get caught-up in the race to be the first to tweet, post, link, share out the latest and greatest shit that we find online. i'm guilty of it myself. when i used to have my office inside the client's office, it helped me be "that guy" when they wanted a creative spark of inspiration for a brainstorm. it was a defense mechanism that i had built-up to justify my reason for being. however, more and more now, i believe that as planners we need to be more than just "curators of cool" or finding ways-in for our creative teams. ultimately, we need to find ways to help our clients make money. [pause]. this requires more thinking, but there's some good discussion about it here from Faris' chat at the Boulder Digital Works/NY thing today.

what i really wanted to share was this post over at Rob Campbell's blog about the need to get our heads out of our asses and live in the real world. i've always been a big fan of getting outside of the office as often as we can to really see, observe and take note of what real people are doing. go to a walmart, a target, the local grocery store, or walk around the mall. look at what people are putting into their shopping carts. what items are flying off the shelf at the trader joe's? talk to the sales associates and see what trends they've noticed about their customers. i'll bet you'll find more interesting, insightful and relevant stories here than anything your cool-hunting sites will uncover. and if you do feel the need to tweet-out your found gem, go for it. you'll probably even scoop PSFK.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Jeep Puzzle Twitter Challenge

Very clever, and perhaps a bit nerdy Twitter game that gives you the chance to name your price on a new Jeep. I like these types of examples that demonstrate an understanding of the user behavior in the space and adds value to the experience.

[via @glueisobar

Thursday, November 18, 2010

do stuff FOR people

Love this idea from ASICS posting words, pictures and video bits of encouragement to the runners of the recent NYC Marathon. Rather than throwing a lot of sponsorship money at a high-profile event to buy eyeballs, why not do something of value for the runners and their friends and family? Does this idea feel to similar to Nike Chalkbot? Probably. Does it try to make it better? Definitely. Bravo, ASICS! Oh, and BTW, here's some more awesome from the ASICS/Tiger Onitsuka.

[via AdFreak.com]

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

getting it right [sorta]

What I've seen of Herm├Ęs shoppers at the South Coast Plaza store, I can't imagine that any of them would care for this video. Despite the idea being a bit off target, I do give credit to the brand for nailing-it with the execution and choreography of the skateboarding moves.

It's almost as nice as this one from Nissan a few years ago. Lesson here: If you're going to borrow interest from board sports like skateboarding, surfing or snowboarding, do it right. Or end up annoying some people.

[via ThreeBillion.com]

Monday, November 15, 2010

a shiny new toy in the bag-o-tricks

3D Projection mapping on buildings.

On cars.

On snow.

And now on shoes.

Projection mapping is the new flashlight painting. It wasn't that long ago when we were all in love with the Pika Pika light painting made popular notably by the folks at Sprint. These visual gimmicks seem to come and go with some initial buzz and excitement for the brand that brings it first to market. But what about the others that follow thereafter? Are they doing anything that makes the technique better? Are they adding anything to the brand narrative? Or better yet, are they doing anything that adds tangible value to peoples' lives? Or perhaps, are these new shiny, digital, "techie" things created, just another way to create some interactivity and dialog with our audience? If not, then I'd say they're just poor imitations that has no purpose other than having something shiny to add to someone's reel and not really addressing a challenge in a creative way.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Delightfully Unexpected

One would assume that being in the ad biz for as long as I have, that nothing can get us excited these days.  I have to admit, I'm a sucker for anything clever and unexpected when it comes to brands interacting with people, on and offline.  It doesn't have to be a grand gesture or blown-out marketing campaign.  It's the little things that count.  Do it in a delightful and unexpected way and you'll get people to look forward to "having a conversation" w/your brand.  Sorry for this overused, social media cliche, but it's all I got right now.  You can punch me in the face later.   Brands should should be here to enable interaction, and not just a transaction.  Damn, was that another cliche?  Okay, I'll stop now.  But before I do, check out this Twitter reply I received from the @OCGoodwill today after a Foursquare post mentioning them over the weekend.  What I found really cool about this was that they didn't feel it was necessary to follow me just because I mentioned them in a tweet.  How often have you experienced brands on twitter quick to auto-follow or spam you with links once you mention them in a tweet?  Most of the time, it's taken out of context and the company starts to become really annoying.  This small, unexpected, no-strings attached reply was genuine and unassuming.  It had me feeling delightfully more positive about the brand than I ever would have, had they not reached out.  Now, isn't that what it's all about?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Kaption Kontest Friday #1

One of the reasons why my wife doesn't like the idea of me getting an iPad. 


Friday, April 2, 2010

beyond badges

Really, how many more badges do we really want?  It seems that most brands entering the location game think that badges are enough to get players interested?  Yes, they are definitely a way-in right now, however, players are going to want more from the interaction.  Starbucks is slowly testing out the waters with Foursquare right now by simply offering up badges.  Eventually, one would hope that they will roll-out other more tangible rewards for their customers.  Free Wi-Fi anyone?  Or how about a free breakfast sandwich?    I really like this latest example on the Gowalla platform with the New Jersey Nets basketball team.  In the "game" spirit of these location-based platforms, Gowalla will create a scavenger hunt encouraging players to find hidden digital tickets at various sporting locations around the NJ area.  The digital tickets can be redeemed for an actual ticket to attend the last game of the season.  Once there, Gowalla players will also be able to unlock badges that can also be redeemed towards Nets merchandise.  I don't follow the basketball, but I would suspect that there's a universe of people on Gowalla in the NJ area would find this compelling and perhaps get them to participate, no?  Brilliant.  You are giving me something of real, tangible value for my participation and making it fun for me.  Thank you.  As companies start to explore and experiment with these new location apps, the challenge will be to understand the playful-like behavior of people in this space and then providing them something of tangible value, beyond just a digital token.  Beyond the badge.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Live-Action Videogame Trailers

Last Fall, right before the videogame launch of Assassin's Creed 2, Ubisoft released a live-action web series that served as the prequel to the Assassin's Creed 2 story.  Although it was mostly shot against green screen, it does have the feel of a blockbuster summer action flick.  Now, Ubisoft comes back again with another live-action trailer, this one for the upcoming Ghost Recon: Future Soldier game.  With game samples surpassing movie ticket receipts in the past few years, is it any wonder that these game titles are putting this much support behind the launches?  Will we start to see big-screen movie stars play along as well? When will other game producers get into the mix?

What I also really dig about this and the AC2 example, is that the game narrative lives beyond the gaming console experience.  Gamers and fans can now get deeper into the story.  

4Square Offers

For some of us ad nerds who've been playing around on Foursquare this past year, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is the "so what's in it for me"?  When asked, I've described Foursquare as a mobile version of the loyalty punch card.  This new site answers that question even better, by showing what a tangible, real-world experience can be for players.  The site 4SquareOffers.com identifies locations of businesses that offer some type of freebie by simply checking-in or a really special incentive for mayors.   Although it does seem that mostly small businesses are using Foursquare at the moment, more and more big brands are playing along and finding new ways to make it interesting, for all of us, and not just ad nerds.

Monday, November 2, 2009

planning with purpose

a recap of two presentations from the "Planning-ness" conference that has the most relevance to my day-to-day here at our little asian-american ad shop, interTrend Communications. i've borrowed a lot of thinking and slides from people much smarter than me in putting this little recap together. for more in-depth smarts go to these 2 links here and here.

this was the most well organized and productive conferences i've ever been to. kudos to Mark Lewis and Claire Grinton on getting us all excited to make things. Looking forward to the next Planning-ness

Friday, October 30, 2009

the relationship


The relationship of a client to an agency, is like that of a surfer to a shaper. Like most relationships, it is one that is built on communication and trust. But what makes some relationships so rich and prolific that it creates just tons of awesome? When the relationship between the two entities creates a culture, rather than just commercials for it's clients, or how about heaps of world titles and constantly pushing the boundaries of surfing with innovative board designs?

I believe it's an open and honest dialog between surfer/shaper and client/agency that yields the most rewarding ideas. I've had a few custom boards shaped for me over the years. With each consult w/the shaper, the best ones have come out of exchanges when the shaper asks all the questions to understand my surfing style, experience, and the conditions where I most often surf. This is when you [as a surfer or client] check your ego at the door and provide as much honest feedback as possible so that the shaper/agency can craft the appropriate board/idea for your needs. Most of the time, whether you're a pro or weekend-warrior like myself, we all want that "magic" board that does it all for us. however, we really don't know how to articulate the shape/design of what that "magic" board should be. Enter the expertise of the shaper. the best shapers are the ones that can understand the strengths/weaknesses of the surfer, the wave conditions, etc to craft that "magic" board. there has to be a dialog and trust between the two for it to work. And also, the good shapers don't talk over the heads of their clients either. they both have to be on the same "wavelength".

So there has to be a collaboration and mutual respect of each other's talents. How many times has a client tried to cocktail napkin a layout to their agency partner? Or, when an agency exaggerates how in love they are with a client's brand, just so that they can win the business? Respect. Respect what each person brings (e.g. assets/skills) to the table and work on creating a mutually beneficially relationship. The more a shaper gets to understand the surfer, the better the boards he/she can make for them. And in turn, a more prolific relationship where both get what they want. Better boards, better business.

Yes, there's also an exception. Most amazing surfers or clients can do almost anything despite the quality of the board/creative that is made for them. But those are probably few and far between. Hold onto the clients that you have and work on building the trust and confidence to experiment, innovate, and grow. I'd really like to think that we nurture those client/agency--surfer/shaper relationships so that we continue to elevate the work that is being created. Oh, and another thought...I think this analogy can also be made between the role of account planners to their creative partners as well. As planners our briefs that we produce for creatives should also be a collaborative process that includes honest communication and respect for each other. and just like the surfer who has an on-going dialog w/the shaper to create that "magic" board, and so should us planners w/our creative partners in developing the idea. yeah, agree? what say you?

Friday, October 9, 2009

o_O that look

ever since i've made it a point to connect w/people offline earlier this year, i've been getting those strange looks o_O from my wife every time i mention "i'm meeting a Twitter-friend." The strange look resembles something like the look that you got back in the early 00s when you told your roommate that you were having "coffee" w/someone you just met online. ;)

since then, i think the social web has matured a bit [just a bit]. there's no shortage of social media gurus out there telling you how you're doing it wrong ;) and by our very own experience, and interactions w/others on the web, we've learned where some of the guardrails and pitfalls are. myself, i've have had a couple mis-steps that i still regret, however, i've learned from them. right, moving on now.

the way i use the social web is different from how, let say, how my wife uses the web. both, though coming from a specific need. for me, it's been a journey on connecting w/other people outside of the orange curtain. For me it's the opportunity to learn and discuss ideas outside my immediate surroundings so that i can find applications to my profession. it came from a need. i'm more willing to put myself out there and meet new people.

for my wife, a facebook fanatic, who's constantly denying friend requests of ppl she doesn't know, she uses the social web as an alternative to connect w/her IRL friends as our lives have become time-crunched for [quality] attention w/our group of friends. again, a need.

with people publicly sharing every moment of their lives on the social web, we've come to have developed somewhat of a digital intimacy and perhaps, trust of the people we meet online. this is not new to most people who've been blogging for a long time, who have developed a relationship-->friendship w/their readers, strictly online, and then having the opportunity to meet IRL. with Twitter, tweet-ups, meet-ups, and twestivals, I think it has accelerated that time [of online relationship development]. can you tell a lot about a person from just 140characters? or is it the string of all the daily FB status updates, flickr posts, tweets, blips and blog comments spread throughout the web that we make ourselves transparent-->real to people? Yes, there are chances that these digital personas can be manufactured, buyer beware i guess. these days, it seems that you can pretty much stay "connected" on the daily happenings of the people in your network thru so many different and shared platforms. i'm really excited to see how google wave and perhaps this Threadsy will simplify all these online platforms we're on.

i do find that it really is beneficially to carry those public, online conversations to the offline. I've been delighted by the opportunities to chat on phone or meet for coffee w/people whom I've met via Twitter and from reading their blogs. all of this didn't happen overnight though. these people demonstrated to me that they were stand-up human beings from their interactions across the social web. and myself, i'm learning from them and trying to do the same for myself. hopefully, the next time i say that "i'm mtg so-'n-so from Twitter", I won't get that look.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

follow the good stuff

last week on my way into work, i was listening to an interview w/actor Jason Schwartzman on the Kevin & Bean radio show. If you've heard of Jason, you may know some of his work in films and his band Phantom Planet. Jason is now embarking on a new TV series. the interviewer asked Jason if he saw this new venture as a "step down" in doing the glitzy feature film work? Jason's response was [paraphrase]: "no, I just follow the good stuff." Film, TV, web, music, whatever the project is, if it's good, that's where you should be. This really had me think about some of the people that I've talked to recently who have affected by the recent economic turndown--->read: laid-off. About half felt that they needed to find something quick and just get a paycheck in. Others, saw it as a blessing and have taken the time to re-evaluate what's important to them. Both have their strong arguments, depending on your outlook on things i guess. Myself, I am very grateful for the network of friends that i have for support around me, and have the opportunity to participate in projects that i'm really passionate about [more on that later] and still keep a day job where the people around me teach me something new everyday. that's good, no? we spend too much of our waking day w/people at work, why not make the best of it. look around you, if you're not stoked on what you're doing at the moment, change it, or move on [to where you'll do some good]. And don't look at it as a "step down".