WeChat's New BingoBox Store: No Checkout, No Cash, No Clerks (Video)

On the heels of our recent post about Amazon Go, it's worth noting this automated convenience stores powered by WeChat. There's no checkout. Instead, customers scan QR codes to enter the store, select products, then pay using their WeChat mobile wallets.

How soon we'll see this sort of thing in the US is anyone's guess, but it can't be that far off.

Indeed, it's actually not tremendously different than using Apple's Store app at Apple locations, where you can walk in, scan an item and walk out.

Except that BingoBox has, you know, junk food. Hard not to love that. 

Read more, here. —Rick Mathieson

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Animated Short 'Extinguished' Sure to Light Up Your Heart (Video)

It's hard not to love this 3-minute, CGI-animated short from college students Jacob Mann and Ashley Anderson.

“Once we had the idea that you could represent love as a flame, we decided to do a romantic love story,” Anderson tells the Daily Dot. “We wanted to make it everyday and relatable, but also sort of magical and fantastic.”

Done and done.

Read more, here. —Rick Mathieson

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AMEX Facebook Campaign Rewards Users for Watching Video (Video)

Sometimes it pays to listen.

At least, that was the case with this Facebook campaign promoting a Guns & Roses concert.

Knowing full well that 90 percent of Facebook users watch videos with audio turned off, AMEX snuck in a surprise. Those who activated audio got a surprise—a voice over that told them the first 50 to text in the name of the band's lead singer would win a free ticket to the concert.

How might your brand incentivize people to view your video advertising? —Rick Mathieson

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A-ha Gets its AR Moment (Video)

You knew somebody would eventually do it—and from the looks of it, Trixi Studios did it up right.

Using Apple's ARKit, the animation studio emulated the experience of A-ha's famous '80s music video "Take on Me."

According to Vocativ, it took the videographers 16 weeks to rotoscope the frames to create the original, this proof-of-concept app puts you into the video's fantastical world instantly. Check out this info video for more. —Rick Mathieson

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McDonald's Turns Drink Trays into iPhone Boom Boxes (Video)

We're McLovin' this new promotion from Mickey D's, which turns their recyclable drink trays into boom boxes for  your iPhone.

It's not the first time this has been done, of course—Coca-Cola once famously turned a magazine print ad into a speaker system for mobile phones as well. But that doesn't make McDonald's promo any less fun (our loud).

Read more, here.

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ARKit AR-Enabled Dance Practice (Video)

A simple, smart application of AR to learn how to do something we personally have had no hope of learning through any other mechanism thus far.

This particular effort uses Apple's ARKit, and so far at least, it looks promising. Though they could go ahead and just add an option for two left feet for us.

Read more here.

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Sausage Party: The Dancing Hotdog Snapchat Filter (Video)

We didn't see the dancing hotdog on Snapchat until this last weekend, and we've been having fun with it ever since (see this YouTuber's video above to see what it looks like). Simple and subversive at the same time.

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Share a (Personalized) Coca-Cola Video and a Smile

Talk about a Coke and a smile.

Longtime readers know we're huge fans of Coca-Cola marketing (though we're NOT happy to hear Coke Zero is getting replaced by Coke Zero Sugar ... but we digress).

Check out this new website, where you can enter a friend's first name and send a personalized video to them. Coke created 1,000 custom videos for the effort, from Ashley to Abdullatif and beyond. There's even a song if they haven't added a name you're looking for yet.

We know "Open Happiness" is long gone, but this would have fit perfectly.

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Robot Colonel Sanders Isn't The Only New KFC Freakiness (Video)


From the WTF Dept: There's a National Fried Chicken Day.

From the WTF Dept: There's a al Fried Chicken Day.

Oh, and this Funny or Die video captures what happens when a robot Harland ("Human Assisted Animatronic Linguistic Networked Device") Sanders takes orders at the drive-thru to celebrate.

Still, as strange as it may seem, this isn't even KFC's oddest promotion.

Yesterday it was reported KFC has a new Colonel Sanders smartphone (insert your own "finger clicking good" joke here).

And let's not forget the Colonel Sanders superhero comics from DC.

As if we could ever unsee them.

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Is 'Amazon Go' the Future of Whole Foods? (Video)

Mobile_amazon_go_rick_mathieson_genwow_generationwow As goes Whole Foods, so goes the future of grocery stores?

A lot has been made of Amazon's recent announcement that it will acquire Whole Foods for a whopping $13.7 billion (insert your own "Whole Paycheck" joke here).

Many  have speculated the brand will continue to operate as it has, with enhanced pre-ordering and home delivery. But Amazon may have something far bigger in mind.

As Business Insider recently pointed out, Amazon released a video back in December on a concept it calls 'Amazon Go'.

Here, shoppers use an Amazon Go app to pre-order items in a virtual cart. When they get to the store, they simply walk in, scan the app at a turnstile, pick up the items they want, and walk out the door, without ever digging for cash, writing a check, swiping a card—or ever standing in line.

Using what Amazon calls "Just Walk Out" technology, Amazon Go leverages "deep learning algorithms, computer vision and sensor fusion" to keep track of what you pick up in-store. It'll even know if you put something back, or picked up additional items, and update your order. Everything's automatically charged to your account when you walk out the door.

It's a fascinating and compelling vision. It's also one shared by many others, of course.

It's been well over a decade since I started chatting with Seth Godin, Tom Nicholson and others about the concept—and how elements of it have already been applied for brands such as Prada and Tesco—as showcased in my books, The On-Demand Brand and Branding Unbound.

What I think is especially elegant about Amazon's concept is that it at least appears to remove the need for things like RFID tags to be applied at the item level, and for readers to be set up throughout the store—something that has so far proven costly and impractical. At least from this video, the technology appears to be completely invisible to the customer. The first Go location opened for Amazon employees in Seattle earlier this year.

It'll be a blast to see how the concept develops, and what role if any Whole Foods ultimately plays in its evolution.

However things play out there, it's hard to imagine some version of this concept is not just the future of Whole Foods or even just the grocery category.

It's the future of retailing itself.

Click to learn more about Amazon Go.

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