Monthly Archives: January 2013

JANUARY 2013 // SUPER BOWL EDITION // ISSUE 56

STATE OF AMERICA

Ads People Choose – Billions of times during 2012 Americans did something voluntarily that they dislike doing when they don’t have the choice: watch a commercial. The YouTube division of Google has released its annual list of the Top 20 commercials watched on YouTube, aptly titled Ads People Choose. According to YouTube, the list was compiled using a combination of factors that signaled viewer choice such as number of views, viewer rating, and how much of the spot the viewers decided to watch. The list is an eclectic mix of spots. Whatever the origin of the commercials – whether from event TV programs like the Super Bowl or online video clips – people demonstrated they will gladly watch a commercial if it is their choice to do so.

Via Google

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Super Bowl Spurs TV Sales – When it comes to the Super Bowl, consumers are thinking one thing: is my TV big enough to host a Super Bowl party? The big game, according to annual TV sales, is a big incentive to buy. Those who are thinking about hosting a Super Bowl party are especially keen on upgrading to a bigger and better set.Given that it has become cheaper for manufacturers to make TV’s and because they introduce new models at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, stores can easily put current models for sale. As a result, prices have steadily declined, making it easier for consumers to justify indulging in a Big-Game-size set. Price-tracking site Decide.com reports many sales rivaling those found during the holiday shopping season. “This is one of the best times of the year to buy big, flat-screen TVs,” says Decide.com CEO Mike Fridgen.

Via Marketwatch.com

SMART BRANDS

Pepsi Puts The Public In A Super Bowl Ad – In a cool initiative that puts fans in the spotlight, Pepsi is using half of the 60 seconds it bought in the Super Bowl to introduce the halftime show, headlined by Beyonce. The brand has crowdsourced the introduction to Beyonce from the public. People are asked to send photos of themselves doing specific movements, such as shouting, head bopping and feet tapping. Up to 400 of the photos will be compiled to make the spot. “It really begins with the insight that Pepsi consumers want to be active participants, not observers of life,” Adam Harter, VP-consumer engagement of PepsiCo said. Last year Pepsi launched Live For Now, a global campaign meant to position the brand on the pop culture forefront around the world. “The halftime show, just ‘Brought to you by Pepsi,’ may register some awareness. With this spot we’re hoping for a bigger takeaway than just Pepsi is the sponsor,” said Angelique Krembs, VP-marketing for trademark Pepsi.

Via Pepsi.com 

BRIGHT IDEAS

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER Super Bowl Spurs TV Sales – When it comes to the Super Bowl, consumers are thinking one thing: is my TV big enough to host a Super Bowl party? The big game, according to annual TV sales, is a big incentive to buy. Those who are thinking about hosting a Super Bowl party are especially keen on upgrading to a bigger and better set.Given that it has become cheaper for manufacturers to make TV’s and because they introduce new models at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, stores can easily put current models for sale. As a result, prices have steadily declined, making it easier for consumers to justify indulging in a Big-Game-size set. Price-tracking site Decide.com reports many sales rivaling those found during the holiday shopping season. “This is one of the best times of the year to buy big, flat-screen TVs,” says Decide.com CEO Mike Fridgen.

Via Marketwatch.com

SMART BRANDSPepsi Puts The Public In A Super Bowl Ad – In a cool initiative that puts fans in the spotlight, Pepsi is using half of the 60 seconds it bought in the Super Bowl to introduce the halftime show, headlined by Beyonce. The brand has crowdsourced the introduction to Beyonce from the public. People are asked to send photos of themselves doing specific movements, such as shouting, head bopping and feet tapping. Up to 400 of the photos will be compiled to make the spot. “It really begins with the insight that Pepsi consumers want to be active participants, not observers of life,” Adam Harter, VP-consumer engagement of PepsiCo said. Last year Pepsi launched Live For Now, a global campaign meant to position the brand on the pop culture forefront around the world. “The halftime show, just ‘Brought to you by Pepsi,’ may register some awareness. With this spot we’re hoping for a bigger takeaway than just Pepsi is the sponsor,” said Angelique Krembs, VP-marketing for trademark Pepsi.

Via Pepsi.com

BRIGHT IDEASSuper Bowl Ads Kickoff Early  – The content of Super Bowl ads were once a closely guarded secret. This year, instead of waiting to air commercials during the big game, many companies are teasing what is in their ads and hoping to stoke early interest on social media. Not so long ago it was thought that releasing a Super Bowl commercial early would dilute the impact the ad could make. But today many advertisers believe that releasing their commercials early to the public will help them get ahead of the pack. The game changer is of course social media. Social media has provided advertisers with many opportunities to build buzz and anticipation for what advertisers are going to be doing for the game. Sponsors say they believe the additional publicity stimulates not only word of mouth, but also increases interest in viewing the commercials when they finally run in the game. A recent poll by advertising agency Venables Bell found that a third of Americans will seek out Super Bowl ads before kick-off this year, and after the game one-half will re-watch their favorite ads.

 

 Via NYTimes.com

ON THE RADAR

Follow Me: @Budweiser  Budweiser recently joined Twitter and sent out its first-ever tweet asking fans to name their newborn baby Clydesdale using the hashtag #Clydesdales. The foal will star in the brand’s traditional 60-second Super Bowl ad.

Try This Site: For cord-cutters looking to catch the big game on Sunday, CBSSports.com will stream the Super Bowl for free beginning with pregame activity at 11AM ET and kickoff at 6:30PM ET. Online viewers can choose from different camera angles, and all commercials shown during the television broadcast will be available for online viewing on the sites’s video player immediately after airing.

Watch This: The Super Bowl is a few more days away, but the Web is already buzzing about many of the teaser content and full ads that have already been released. FastCompany compiled a list of the ads worth watching. If you can’t wait until Sunday, you can view them here.

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JANUARY 2013 // THE NEW NORMAL ECONOMY EDITION // ISSUE 55

STATE OF AMERICA

The New Normal Economy – The economy may be coming back, but the question for many businesses is what the “New Normal” looks like.  The extraordinary rise of solitary living marks a seismic departure from the quintessential suburban household that brands are used to creating for. Who needs Costco when people are living in single apartments. Or a massive food processor when 9 times out of 10 they order in or cook for one. With these single folks as well as others migrating to urban-centric neighborhoods, lawn mowers, minivans and sectional sofas will soon become a thing of the past. For the first time in nine decades, walkable cities are growing faster than suburbs. With people living in areas where mostly everything is accessible by walking it’s no surprise that Americans are driving less. This behavior, tied to the collapse of new-car sales, means one of the biggest industries in the United States will not soon regain the explosive growth of the early 2000s. This economic recovery has a clear narrative and these big changes are just the beginning.

Via New York Times

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

A Renter’s Market – The nation’s apartment vacancy rate, which has declined since hitting 8% in the aftermath of the financial crisis, fell to 4.5% recently. The rate is the lowest since 2001’s third quarter.  Vacancy rates fell in some of the markets hit hardest by the housing bust, including Phoenix and in Orlando. It’s no surprise than that rent prices are rising across the nation while mortgage rates remain near record lows. Scraping together a down payment to buy a home remains tough for many consumers and tight mortgage standards are forcing many who might like to buy a home to continue renting. Furthermore, many people like being able to easily pick up and move for a new job. “We are heading to being more of a renter nation,” said Jeff Donnelly, a real-estate analyst with Wells Fargo Securities LLC. “Young people today, they put much higher value on flexibility.” It doesn’t seem like that’s going to change anytime soon.

Via Wall Street Journal

SMART BRANDS

Dodge Allows People To Crowdfund Cars- In the spirit of this “New Normal” economy, Dodge is allowing engaged couples to register for a car and ask family and friends to pitch in. The site allows customers to configure and customize the car, then set a goal for how much money they need in order to make it theirs. Family or friends can sponsor specific parts of the new car, such as an engine or a steering wheel. This campaign aims to give people a new way of purchasing a car. With Kickstarter alone seeing over two million contributors give more than $319 million in pledges in 2012, crowdfunding has officially become a viable funding alternative.

Via AdAge

BRIGHT IDEAS

MacBook Rental Vending Machine – 

In a move towards dis-ownership, people can forgo buying laptops for college by just renting them. Philadelphia’s Drexel University gives students, staff and faculty the ability to rent a MacBook for up to five hours at a time for free. The MacBooks are being dispensed via a vending machine built by Laptops Anytime that automatically charges the batteries and wipes clean the hard drive for the next person to use. Reluctant to commit to big-ticket purchases and with technology continuously being updated, people are increasingly opting for choices that require a less than permanent commitment.

Via PSFK.com

ON THE RADAR

Read This: In Going Solo sociologist and author Eric Klinenberg takes a look at the biggest demographic shift since the Baby Boom: the increasing number of people who choose to live alone. Today roughly one out of every seven adults lives alone. Klinenberg looks at the appeal of living alone and the new ways of living that single people are crafting in the process.

Try This Site: RelayRides is a peer-to- peer car-sharing service that taps into the pre- existing community of underutilized vehicles and  connects local car owners with people looking to rent a vehicle. A recent partnership with General Motors enables renters to unlock OnStar-enabled cars via their smartphone so owners don’t even have to find time to hand off their keys in person. Membership is free, all drivers are screened, and the service provides $1 million insurance on every rental.

Know This: Ikea is building a new neighborhood in East London and its design will be devoted to walkability. The new community, called Strand East, is being developed on 26 acres of land in Stratford. Its focus on walkability means that Strand East will join a growing list of car-free urban communities in Europe. In addition to many car-free zones, cars that do enter the area will be parked out of sight in underground parking lots.

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JANUARY 2013 // ISSUE 54

STATE OF AMERICA

The End of Dating- Raised in the age of so-called “hookup culture,” Millennials – who are reaching an age where they are starting to think about settling down – are subverting the rules of courtship. Instead of dinner-and-a-movie, which seems as obsolete as a rotary phone, they rendezvous over phone texts, Facebook posts, instant messages and other “non-dates” that are leaving a generation confused about how to land a boyfriend or girlfriend.  Relationship experts point to technology as a factor in the upending of dating culture. Online dating services, which have gained mainstream acceptance, reinforce the hyper-casual approach by greatly expanding the number of potential dates. “The new date is ‘hanging out,’ ” said Denise Hewett, 24, an associate television producer in Manhattan. As one male friend recently told her: “I don’t like to take girls out. I like to have them join in on what I’m doing – going to an event, a concert.” Turns out many young people today have never and may never go on a traditional date.

Via New York Times

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Grocery Stores Build “Man Aisles” – Hey guys, the grocery stores are starting to focus on you. It used to be that men did the “fill-in” shopping, after being dispatched to the store to get a few last-minute items. In an indication of New Normal behavior they are now doing the menu-planning, making lists and filling up the cart. Some grocery store chains have begun creating “man aisles,” stocked with things like barbecue, beer and batteries, to lure the male shopper. Manufacturers are now packaging items in more gender-neutral ways – or, in some cases, packaging gender-neutral items for men. “It’s a trend we’re watching. The family dynamic has changed over the years,” said Marlene Gebhard, president of Kirkwood-based Shop ‘n Save. “It’s become one of those tasks on the household to-do list that doesn’t fall to the female.It falls to whomever has the time.”

Via St. Louis Post

SMART BRANDS

Google Gives Neighborhoods Wifi  – Google, in an expansion of its role as an internet service provider, introduced New York City’s biggest contiguous free public Wi-Fi network in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Google’s choice of location for the giant network is no surprise: Chelsea is home to Google’s New York headquarters, meaning employees out at lunch breaks or area meetings will be able to remain productive even while out of the office. The secured network can also be accessed by businesses, residents and students in the area, and it will cover the outdoor areas of the Fulton Houses, a housing project owned by the New York City Housing Authority. Jordan Newman, a Google spokesman, told Mashable that the new Wi-Fi network is Google’s way of “giving back to the community that we’ve been in for the past six years or so.”

Via Mashable

BRIGHT IDEAS

Rewarding Fans Through Fame- In today’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube obsessed culture, brands don’t just want to interact with consumers on social media, they want to create meaningful relationships with them. One way of doing this, which is quickly becoming the norm, is by leveraging fans to fame. Consumers are rewarded for their interactions and relationships with a brand by being placed on billboards, buses, in TV spots, and even by appearing in campaigns alongside celebrities. Ben & Jerry’s for example recently took this approach in its “Capture Euphoria” campaign, the winning pictures of an Instagram challenge were featured in Ben & Jerry’s ads in each person’s hometown in print and on outdoor venues. For Justin Bieber’s perfume “Girlfriend,” Bieber asked fans to create a video of them singing his hit song “Boyfriend,” but with new lyrics about being his “Girlfriend.” One fan, Laina Morris became known as Overly Attached Girlfriend and went on to become a viral video star and even landed a commercial for Samsung inspired by the clip she made in Bieber’s contest. Not only could fans express their creativity (and their love for the Biebs), but they could also achieve fame.

Via Ypulse.com

ON THE RADAR

Know This: In an attempt to increase the relevancy of the messages users receive, or maybe just to increase revenue, Facebook Messages has begun an experiment to test the usefulness of a pay-to-message system. The test will give a small number of people the option to pay to have a message routed to the “Inbox” rather than the “Other” folder of any recipient who is not in their network of friends. The test focuses on a $1 pay-to-message option, but Facebook may experiment with other price points in the future. For example, users who aren’t connected to Mark Zuckerberg have the option of sending messages to his inbox for $100. Read more here.

Try This: Eco furniture store COCO-MAT puts a new twist on the idea of “try before you buy.” Visitors to the SoHo-based store are encouraged to test out the quality of COCO-MAT beds by literally climbing into a mock hotel suite and taking a nap for a few hours. Features include a Californian king-sized bed, fresh linens, soothing music, and a complimentary glass of juice. Read more here.

Watch This: As part of its global “Open Happiness” campaign Coca-Cola installed a dance vending machine in South Korea. The dance machine integrates Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect technology and grabs the attention of passerbys with callouts from members of the popular South Korean boy band 2PM. People can see themselves on-screen with the band members and are encouraged to dance along with the boys. Free coke is dispensed to people who mimic the right moves. Coca-Cola posted a video of the campaign which quickly went viral. Watch it here.

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JANUARY 2013 // ISSUE 53

STATE OF AMERICA

Capturing America, Fact by Fact  –

College graduates have less leisure time than high school dropouts. More people are injured on toilets than by skiing or snowboarding. More households have dogs as pets than cats, but cat lovers are more likely to have multiple pets. And more foreigners visited New York (9.3 million) than any other American city (Los Angeles was a distant second with 3.7 million). Americans are also eating more peanuts and drinking less coffee. Liquor stores outnumber bookstores by three to one. More Americans belong to a fantasy sports league (10.6 million) than to book clubs (5.7 million). Those facts are among the thousands gleaned from the 2013 edition of the Statistical Abstract of the United States, a compendium of figures that itself may go into the record books after being published by the government since 1878. The annual portrait by numbers reveals sharp contrasts within any given year as well as a moving picture of how the nation has been changing.

 

Via New York Times

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Dis-ownership – We are living at a time when a major shift in attitudes is bringing on a new era–one in which people get more value by owning less property. While it’s not the traditional American dream, it makes sense if you think about what’s defining America today. New ways of sharing, driven by online social tools, have taken collaboration to new levels. Thanks to the social web, we can share and trade to use a whole universe of things we once had to buy ourselves. From cars to solar panels, people are realizing they can reap the benefits of ownership without the expense and hassle of buying. After living through the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, Americans have learned that relationships and experiences are more important than stuff, stuff, and more stuff. While one may believe this trend of dis-ownership is limited to the young and urban, data proves otherwise. While started in San Francisco, it now spans into cities and small towns across the globe. The fact that the economic recession has hit middle-aged, Middle Americans the hardest is another reason to believe dis-ownership is headed into the mainstream.

Via Fast Company

SMART BRANDS

HBO Girls’ Useful Campaign – HBO is taking an aggressive and creative approach to promote the second season of its hit show “Girls.” HBO is tapping into the interests of its core audience and generating massive buzz by offering up activities its audience would find absolutely useful.  Fans can take part in fun, free, city-centric activities such as “Free Girls” spinning classes at Soul Cycle  and spinning the series’ theme music during class. They can sign up for “Happy Hours” at Drybar where they get a free blowout while drinking champagne. HBO has also partnered with Urban Outfitters to offer nail appliques inspired by the show’s characters and codes to download episodes from the first season. If that wasn’t enough HBO is running a social-media campaign over Instagram and Twitter with the probably the most coveted and beneficial prize of all, free rent for a year!

 

Via AdAge

 

BRIGHT IDEAS

Newsjacking- The rules have changed. The traditional marketing model – sticking closely to a preset script and campaign timeline – no longer works the way it used to. Public discourse now moves so fast and so dynamically that all it takes is a single afternoon to blast the wheels off someone’s laboriously crafted narrative. Enter newsjacking: the process by which a brand injects ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for itself. This type of marketing favors brands who are observant, quick to react and skilled at communicating. With more people constantly connected, a well-timed newsjacking can spread like wildfire.

 

 

 Via Marketing Magazine

ON THE RADAR

Know This: Business News Daily interviewed small business owners, PR people and entrepreneurs and compiled a list of 12 Buzzwords You’ll Hear in 2013. If last year was all about “gamification” and “convergence,” 2013 will be the year of “advertainment”   (advertising that advertises what people are interested in) and “alphanistas” (successful women in powerful positions having it all).

Try This App:

Flu season is in full swing, and if you’re looking for someone to blame for getting you sick, there’s an app for that. “Help I Have The Flu” is a Facebook app that helps  determine which friends are sick and who may have gotten you sick by checking status updates for words such as “flu,” “sneezing” and “coughing” and looking at places those people might have checked in. The timing of the posts are relevant since several late night posts may indicate a person hasn’t been sleeping enough and may be more susceptible to catching – and passing along – the flu.

Try This: The iTwin Connect is a USB device that allows for private web browsing on public networks. You plug one half of the device into your home PC and carry the other half around for completely private browsing on the go. When you’re ready to browse, plugging in the remaining half of the iTwin Connect into another computer creates a secure connection to your home computer and allows you to access the internet through that computer at home. The iTwin Connect is useful for: 1) When you want to check Facebook at work but your work has blocked the site 2) If you’re traveling abroad but still want to access U.S. versions of sites that require a U.S.-based IP such as Hulu 3) You want to access files on your computer at home.

 

JANUARY 2013 // ISSUE 52

STATE OF AMERICA

A Plurality (Not Minority) Nation –

The term “minority,” at least as used to describe racial and ethnic groups in the United States, may need to be retired or rethought soon: by the end of this decade, according to Census Bureau projections no single racial or ethnic group will constitute a majority of children under 18. In about three decades, no single group will constitute a majority of the country as a whole. The next half century marks key points in continuing trends – the U.S. will become a plurality nation, where the non-Hispanic white population remains the largest single group, but no group is in the majority. As the United States grows more diverse it is becoming a plurality nation.

 

Via New York Times

 

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Sellers Compete For Consumers – As the old saying goes, there is strength in numbers. It has never been easier to rally a group of consumers around an interest, especially one that scores them a deal. Henry Zilberman thought the idea of consumers having to compete with other consumers online for the items they want (à la eBay), was backwards. That’s why he created Yumani, an online marketplace where sellers compete for a consumer’s business. The real kicker, the more consumers join together and request a product, the bigger the discount they receive. In a letter to users, Henry Zilberman explains his reasoning behind the creation of Yumani: “I’ve navigated the jungles of Amazon, and swam in the waters of eBay, but they seem counter to the way the web should work. With online auctions, am I supposed to compete with other buyers to drive up the price of an item? Why shouldn’t sellers compete for my business? With Yumani, sellers win and buyers win.”

Via Mashable

SMART BRANDS

MINI’s Psychic Campaign  – MINI’s new Roadster wanted to show potential car buyers that their most exciting adventures were ahead of them. So it took a sneak peek at their data to tell their future.  The MINI Roadster “Psychic” campaign offered web users personalized readings about adventures to come by using viewers IP addresses to provide accurate information. Through aspects such as a weather API and the etymology around their name, the campaign delivered a humorous and engaging experience that culminated in having their future predicted.

 

Via Digital Buzz Blog

 

BRIGHT IDEAS

Your Social Media Handle Can Now Be Your Physical Address – SoPost lets users sign a physical address to their social handles; this means attaching anything from an email address or Twitter Handle to a physical location. Given the mobility of people these days, the idea for this start up is to create a world where mail is re-routed to wherever users happen to be. SoPost is particularly helpful for those who move around and relocate regularly. An address, SoPost believes, should be where someone is, or where they want things to be sent, rather than the last postcode somebody has for them. The way it works is that when users sign in, they are assigned a physical address to the social ID. Instead of having to change addresses through the postal service and then alert contacts, the address is saved and changed behind the social handle. All anyone needs to know is the social handle and they’ll never know your address has really changed.

 

Via Sopost.com

ON THE RADAR

 

Follow Me:  @gretchenrubin – Gretchen Rubin is the author of the #1 New York Times BestsellerThe Happiness Project. If you’re looking for inspiration for the new year, check out Rubin’s Twitter feed which offers a stream of optimism and tips for becoming a happier version of yourself.

Try This App: Snapchat is a photosharing app currently enjoying an explosive rise in popularity, especially among high school and college students. The idea is to snap a photo or silly video and send it to your friends with the knowledge that the content will l self-destruct 10-seconds after being viewed. While a number of teens have taken up Snapchat as their sexting app of choice, CEO Evan Spiegel says the app was intended to send goofy, lighthearted messages.

Try This App: SupperKing is an app that taps into the growing marketplace for peer-to-peer services by facilitating meet-ups between amateur chefs who want to host a dinner and people looking for a home-cooked meal. Hosts can customize their events (including attire and price) and guests can RSVP and pay via the SupperKing app.