Monthly Archives: February 2013

FEBRUARY 2013 // LOCAL EDITION // ISSUE 60

STATE OF AMERICA

Resurgence Of ‘Made in America’ – Domestic goods are all the rage. In a survey conducted by The Boston Consulting Group more than 80% of people said they preferred U.S.-made goods and that they would pay more for said goods. Despite the economy, consumers are switching their priorities when it comes to quality vs. lower prices and are becoming more open to paying a slight premium for quality. With the cost advantage of manufacturing in China on a decline, it’s making more business sense to manufacture in the U.S. The idea of “Made in America” will succeed for the same reason organic has succeeded. “Just like people didn’t want to eat food that was poisoning them, they want to live in a better economic climate,” says Dave Schiff, co-founder of the Made Movement – a marketing agency dedicated to supporting a resurgence in American manufacturing. Last September Jay-Z and Budweiser participated in the two-day Made In America Festival which featured 30 artists who embodied the American spirit. Additionally, Apple recently announced it would bring some Mac production back to the U.S., and Wal-Mart has promised to buy an additional $50 billion in U.S.-made merchandise over the next decade.

 

Via AdAge

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Local Internet – As consumers continue to expand their obsession with all things local (food, tourism, designers, etc.), they are starting to flock to smaller communities in their online lives as well. Having a smaller pool of people with shared interests around a brand, activity or show helps to create a community that feels more authentic. College students are one of the clearest pioneers of Local Internet. Universities like USC and UCLA have local meme pages that put together joke images and GIFs that only people in the the community would find funny. It’s no longer enough for a site like College Humor to make jokes about college as a whole; they too have to make university-specific pages to attract this new Local Internet Viewer.

Via LAWeekly.com

SMART BRANDS

McDonald Celebrates Local & Renames To Macca’s – It is hard to imagine a more American brand than fast-food chain McDonald’s. However, as it has expanded internationally, the company has come to reflect regional tastes and preferences, so much so that consumers in many countries think of McDonald’s as belonging to them. Fortunately, McDonald’s is completely on board with this idea. In Australia McDonald’s is often called Macca’s, and a recent survey revealed that over half of the nation regularly refer to the fast food business by its informal name. In order to celebrate its 40 years down under and this year’s Australia Day, McDonalds decided to embrace the local vernacular by changing the name of 13 of its restaurants to Macca’s. For a month, the signage on the restaurants will officially read “Maccas,” while an accompanying integrated campaign will honor Australia. Watch this Macca’s commercial which fully embraces the local culture of Australia.

Via Australiantimes

BRIGHT IDEAS

Digital Amplifies Local Brands – With Love, From Brooklyn is a website that positions itself as a one-stop shop for all the favorite local edibles found only in Brooklyn but curated in an way that makes it easily accessible to food-obsessed non-New Yorkers. “I realized that there was an emerging movement of artisan producers who really care about what they’re making and are totally pushing the envelope with unique flavors,” explains founder Dara Furlow. Since many of these treats are of course only available in New York, Furlow decided to start a company to ship local favorites like Bacon Marmalade and Spicy Bacon Caramel Popcorn nation-wide. The goal was to create a viable online marketplace the highlights the artisan stories and local foods Brooklyn has become known for. Furlow says she is open to the idea of visiting other vibrant artisan communities like Seattle and Portland. 

Via Withlovefrombrooklyn.com

ON THE RADAR

Try This Network: New social platform yerdle plans to address storage issues for people living in small apartments. Aiming to reduce the number of things people have to buy by 20%, yerdle encourages its members to share instead of buy items that they need. People who log on can easily see which items are available to borrow from nearby friends as well as friends of friends. Co-founder Adam Werbach explains that the social network is specifically made for NYC since the city is fertile ground for a sharing economy.

Follow This: @WorkaholicsCC – Shows like Comedy Central’s Workaholics are embracing Local Internet by creating hashtags that are highly specific to a particular moment and will only be appreciated by other members of the show’s community. The show changes hashtags displayed on the bottom of the screen based on the storyline on the show, so instead of a generic #workaholics there could be specific references to insider moments fans can appreciate like #TakeItSleazy or #blonders.

Watch This: The Converse Wall To Wall series has traveled all over Europe and North America and invites local street artists to graffiti city walls and transform them into original artwork. The video gallery concentrates on the process of creating the different graffiti and takes the viewer through the artists’ journey of creating their piece. Watch this video of Josh Row, an Austin-based street artist and art director of No-Comply skate shop, paint a mural on Sixth Street, in the heart of downtown Austin.

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FEBRUARY 2013 // ISSUE 59

STATE OF AMERICA

15 Ways Technology Makes People Look Weird – After spending five years studying gesture interfaces at Near Future Laboratory, researcher Nicolas Nova noticed consistent trends in the ways people positioned themselves when interacting with technology. His findings highlight awkward, unnatural ways people bend their bodies in order to accommodate technology. A partnership with the Art Center College of Design illustrates the results of Nova’s study in a free ebook titled Curious Rituals. The catalog of social gestures is spot-on and includes “The Periscope” which can be seen at any concert venue where people hold their smartphones in the air, as well as the “Halfway Courtesy” which refers to headphone users who remove only one of the two earbuds when a brief encounter occurs. In addition to describing new physical gestures, Nova also takes a look at the social pressures driving such behaviors and offers insights into how designers can benefit from these social dynamics. If you want to read more about Curious Rituals, download the free ebook here.

 

Via Fast Company

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Majority Of Young People Sleep With Their Phones, Even Though They Shouldn’t – If your phone wakes you up in the morning, it may also be keeping you up at night. A 2008 study funded by major mobile phone makers, and conducted through a joint venture by Wayne State University in the U.S. and Karolinska Institute in Sweden, showed that people exposed to mobile radiation took longer to fall asleep and spent less time in deep sleep. The need to check in at all hours of the night or wake up to the sound of a text message is extremely disruptive to people’s sleep. There’s even an increase in the amount of teenagers who respond to text messages in gibberish because they are physically responding while still asleep. Even though studies show that heavy cell phone use is linked to sleeping problems, stress and depression, a quarter of young people feel they must be available by phone around the clock. According to a 2012 Time/Qualcomm poll nearly 3/4 of young people people from the age of 18 to 44 sleep with their phones within reach. The number falls off slightly in middle age, but only in people 65+ is leaving the phone in another room as common as sleeping right next to it.

Via Huffington Post

SMART BRANDS

Starbucks Newjacks “Nemo” – Newsjacking is quickly becoming a necessary marketing tool. Real-time monitoring and engagement means that brands are now reacting to breaking news as quickly as traditional news. Starbucks took the timely news event of the “Nemo” snowstorm and successfully combined it with specific, targeted locations in the Northeast in order to increase relevancy. Hours before the Feb. 8th blizzard took hold, Starbucks rolled out geo-targeted Twitter and Facebook ads with a “Snow Day Motif.”  Later, consumers in markets where the weather had forced their local Starbucks to close down received geo-targeted free coffee offers on their social media networks. “We huddled with our corporate leadership over the weekend to pull the free-coffee offer together,” said Alexandra Wheeler, Starbucks’ vp of global digital marketing. “We worked quickly on the creative and targeting, while putting paid amplification behind it.” Newsjacking is an attempt to stay relevant, and perhaps the next evolution of social media relevancy includes a combination of timeliness and geo-targeting.

Via Adweek

BRIGHT IDEAS

WAT-AAH! Brand Lets Kids Market To Other Kids – WAT-AAH! positions itself as the first premium water brand by kids for kids. Rose Cameron, a former advertising executive, could not figure out a way to get her kids to cut back on sugary soda and drink more water. The WAT-AAH! brand was born when Cameron’s two sons told her that water was boring, and she realized that kids needed water to be “cool.” Cameron tapped into her children as an informal focus group to begin her brand of fun water. Both the name and the logo design came from her sons, and WAT-AAH! was born out of her kids screaming “water” to help inspire her. All aspects of the brand, ranging from the style of the bottle to the black and neon colors, were chosen by her kids. The brand started in 2008 and was originally sold door-to-door to delis in Cameron’s neighborhood in TriBeCa. Now, WAT-AAH! is giving Pepsi and Coke a surprising source of competition and is available nationwide in schools and at grocery stores like Whole Foods.

 

Via Drinkwataah.com

ON THE RADAR

Follow This: @projectglass – In addition to releasing a new demonstration video for Google Glass, Google also announced that they are looking for bold, creative individuals who want to give feedback and be part of shaping the future of the product. To apply, follow @projectglass and tweet an application of 50 words or less along with #ifihadglass. Those selected will have to pre-order a Glass Explorer Edition for $1500 and attend a special pick-up experience in New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. Learn more here.

Try This App: Pheed is a mash-up of every popular social network including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.  It launched three months ago and its current base of a million users – which according to Forbes is mostly teenagers – are allowed to curate their own channels with everything from text, photos, videos, live chats, and audio clips. Pheed also gives notable users the option to charge for content. Keep an eye on this social network to see if it develops into the next platform of choice for celebrities and brands with exclusive, must-have content.

Try This Site: If you need help fi lling out your Oscar ballot, check out this site which Google set up to help enhance your Oscars viewing experience. Visitors can use insights from Google Trends and see if the most searched-for nominees of 2012 line up with the actual Oscar winners. The site also includes movie and celebrity knowledge graphs, an interactive map that shows where your favorite nominated movies were filmed, and even a helpful Year In Review video of 2012’s top movies.

FEBRUARY 2013 // ISSUE 58

STATE OF AMERICA

Looking For A Date? Try These Cities – If you’re wondering where your best chances are for finding someone single and of the opposite sex, Jed Kolko – chief economist at residential real estate website Trulia – has some helpful advice for you. Kolko sifted through data sets from the most recent 2010 census and hopes the following insights will help you on your search for love. When it comes to living alone men outnumber women in cites like Las Vegas; Honolulu; Palm Bay, FL; and San Jose, CA. Meanwhile, women most outnumber men in Bethesda, MD; Boston; New York; and Raleigh, NC. The determining factor seems to be the labor market. Men tend to settle near downtown areas or in recently redeveloped neighborhoods in areas that have a higher proportion of technology, manufacturing and construction jobs. Meanwhile, women outnumber men in places with more jobs in professional services and cluster in bigger cities. Nine out of 10 metros with the highest ratio of women to men are in the east, with the big three being Boston, New York, and Washington, DC. Click here to read more about the findings.

Via Truliablog.com

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

Uncertainty, Fear And Other Bragging Rights – Extreme obstacle challenges like Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash and Spartan Race have recently grown into a $150 million-plus industry. People pay between $95 to $200 to participate in challenges that can be up to 12-miles of obstacles that that everything from mud, ice baths, electrical shocks and barbed wires. If you’re wondering what has gotten into people, the answer could be linked to the economy. There’s an increasing sense of uncertainty as people battle debts and look for jobs, and Tough Mudder CEO WIll Dean explains that a lot of people tell him they signed up because “training for Tough Mudder is the one thing in their lives they feel they have control over.” In addition to a sense of a control, there is also a shift in priorities where consumers are now viewing experiences as the new luxury good. In post-financial crisis America, people get a bigger status boost by bragging about overcoming challenges than they would by bragging about overly materialistic things like a fancy new watch or outfit. Social currency is definitely another driving factor, since Tough Mudder has over 3 million Facebook Likes and social media is peppered with pictures of gloating participants. These obstacle courses feel dangerous and exciting like Fight Club. “But this is Tough Club, ” says official Tough Mudder announcer Sean Corvelle. “And our first rule of Tough Club is we do talk about it.”

Via TIME

SMART BRANDS

Social Ads Join The Blackout Bandwagon – When the electricity went out during this month’s Super Bowl, Oreo was quick to put out a power outage-related Twitter ad. The image was of an Oreo sitting in the shadows and the tagline read, “You can still dunk in the dark.” Oreo wasn’t the only company to jump on board the blackout bandwagon on social media. Calvin Klein and Walgreens joined the conversation, and Tide tweeted an image with copy that read, “We can’t get your blackout but we can get your stains out.” According to Twitter Advertising (@TwitterAds) it took four minutes after the lights went out for the first Twitter advertiser to bid on “power outage” as a search term. Although there can be no doubting the power, impact, and revolutionary empowerment of social media, – the only true difference between “social” and traditional media is the immediacy and potential to react to the audience. These brands succeeded in having a social media presence agile enough to quickly respond and benefited from inserting themselves into real-time cultural conversations.

Via Fast Company

BRIGHT IDEAS

Six-Second Stories – Twitter has become mainstream enough for people to no longer balk at the idea of communicating in short bursts of 140 characters or less. It makes sense that the next communication game changer also comes from Twitter in the form of their recently launched Vine app that allows people to record and share short 6-second videos. According to SimplyMeasured, a social media analytics company, Vine users shared 113,897 videos on Twitter on Saturday and Sunday, or 2,324 videos every hour. Much of that was due to a combination of three big events: the Grammys, New York Fashion Week and the snowstorm that hit the Northeast. That’s not quite as jaw-dropping as the 1.3 million photos that Instagram users shared during Hurricane Sandy, but it’s pretty impressive considering that Vine has been around for less than three weeks. It’s also worth noting that these stats don’t take into account the number of pictures that were posted within Vine, but not shared out to Twitter.

 

Via Mashable

ON THE RADAR

Read This Book: Jonah Berger, the author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, is an assistant professor of marketing at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. His upcoming book is a study of social epidemics and how products, ideas and behaviors become popular. According to Berger the STEPPS for going viral include social currency, triggers, emotions, public, practical value and, stories.

Watch This: If you don’t want to be caught off guard when your friends chat about the latest internet meme, keep these key words in mind: gyrating, bizarre costumes, and props. The Harlem Shake involves 30-second videos that begin with a sole person, typically masked, casually dancing to music producer Baauer’s “Harlem Shake.” After 15 seconds the beat drops, the camera shot changes, and the people who were seemingly unaffected by the original dancer are now going wild. Watch the latest compilation video here or an adorable father-son version here.

Interesting App: How would you feel about an app that encourages women to rate men like restaurants? The Lulu app has seen an increase in downloads thanks to Valentine’s Day. It connects with Facebook and allows women to rate the men in their lives as well as access a database for reviews on other men. Reviews are anonymous, but users must specify whether the person they’re rating is an ex, a crush, a current partner, or a friend. Users are invited to rate best and worst qualities, looks, sense of humor, willingness to commit.

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FEBRUARY 2013 // ISSUE 57

STATE OF AMERICA

America’s 20 Most Innovative Cities – Despite recent difficulties and a slowing economy, the United States is still considered a leader in ingenuity especially when it comes to inventions, products and new technologies. The U.S. is home to Silicon Valley, most of the world’s health care inventions, and the largest share of the world’s patents. According to a new report from The Brookings Institution, patenting is at its highest level since the Industrial Revolution. Insight gleaned from the study shows that 63% percent of patents come from just 20 areas. Leading the pack at #1 is the area surrounding San Jose, CA which is home to Google and elite research universities like Stanford. Also in the top 5 is Rochester, Minnesota which has the Mayo Clinic and a large presence from IBM. View a slideshow of all 20 cities here.

Via Brookings.edu

BRAVE NEW CONSUMER

 

Using Creativity To Boost Your Resume – The job market has definitely become more competitive. Economic growth remains slow and the unemployment rate crept up to 7.9% in January. Being qualified is no longer enough and prospective employees are increasingly looking ways to stand out from the crowd. Creativity is becoming a valuable asset even for managerial roles that aren’t traditionally considered “creative.” Philippe Dubost, a Paris-based Web product manager, put together a detailed C.V. that is a near-perfect ringer for an Amazon.com product page, with himself as the product. His past customer reviews average five stars, but there are a surprising number of one-star ratings, which Dubost explained via Twitter were “were due to “lots of ex-girlfriends.” This unique, eye-catching resume has gone viral and Dubosts has received many work related opportunities.

Via Phildub.com

SMART BRANDS

Lego Gains Lifetime Customer With Touching Customer Service – Seven-year-old Luka Apps used all his Christmas money to buy the LEGO Ninjago Ultra Sonic Raider set. Against the warnings of his father, Luka took one of his figurines on a shopping trip and accidentally lost it. Shortly after emailing the folks at LEGO asking for a replacement, Luka received a reply from a customer service representative who wrote that he had spoken to Sensei Wu, an important character from the Ninjago line. Sensei Wu wanted Luka to have a replacement for his lost toy, and he also acknowledged that Luka must be a big fan of Ninjago to have spent all his Christmas money – so he also sent along an additional bad guy for Luka’s new toy to fight. At the end of the reply Sensei Wu reminds Luka to “keep your mini figures protected like the Weapons of Spinjitzu! And of course, always listen to your Dad.” The touching correspondence made its way into social media and generated tons of publicity for LEGO, scoring tons of brand evangelists and at least one lifelong customer.

Via Forbes.com 

BRIGHT IDEAS

Lady Gaga Reimagines The Tailgate Pre-Game – Lady Gaga loves her Little Monsters, the name her fans have taken to calling themselves. Wanting to help support the fans that have been there for her, Lady Gaga is offering a Born Brave pre-show before every concert on her Born This Way Ball tour. At the Born Brave Bus concertgoers will have access to professional private or group chats about mental health, depression, bullying, school, and friends. There will also be food, games, and DJs to keep the experience fun. It’s designed as an inclusive tailgating experience for fans to unite and seek help. Lady Gaga founded the anti-bullying Born This Way Foundation in 2011, and this year’s Born Brave Bus falls in line with the foundation’s mission of fostering a more accepting society by attempting to lessen the stigma of seeking mental health treatment.

 

Via Kansas City Star

ON THE RADAR

Try This Site:

One internet year, one illustration, 20 things: can you spot them all? Now in its third year, 20things recounts a whole year of online culture within one epic image. This year’s image was illustrated by Sebastien Feraut. The goal is to identify all 20 memes. The Syzygy Group has been releasing clues via Twitter at @syzygyuk. Tweet the picture with the hashtag #20things and you could win a signed limited edition print.

Watch This: Google recently took their Street View technology to the Grand Canyon and the resulting panoramic imagery means that people can now use Google Maps to tour one of the world’s most spectacular national monuments. The gallery of interactive images 360-degree views of more than 75 miles of the Grand Canyon’s trails and scenic overlooks.

Try This App: Currently the most downloaded app in over 40 countries, LINE is a messaging service that allows users to make free voice calls or messages to anyone, anywhere. The service is completely free, but a Sticker Shop offers items for sale such as stamps and graphics that allow users to decorate photos or animate their messages. Celebrities such as Kreayshawn, Snoop Lion, and T-Pain are active on LINE and are using it as a new way to reach fans.

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