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Augmented Reality 'Angry Birds' (Video)

Angry Birds AR from PendAR on Vimeo.

Angry Birds is going AR - to astonishing effect.

Digging this AR version of Angry Birds, which appears to be a proof-of-concept from PendAR. 

First there's the cool factor. But what's significant is how this happens - through a technology called "markerless augmented reality," which enables developers to code in an image to use as a play field.

One day, I'd love to see this writ large - where these kinds of things are projected on a large scale for all around to see, not just the player on a mobile device, ala a Live AR experience.

Either way, a sign of super cool things to come.

Read more, here.



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Coca-Cola Amplifier: Magazine Ad Turns Into A Speaker System for Your iPhone (Video)


Talk about a blockbuster physical/digital execution.

This print ad on the cover of a magazine enables readers to roll up the publication to turn it into a speaker system for their iPhones. 

The initiative, from JWT Brazil, invites readers to tune into the Coca-Cola FM app and "plug" it into the slot created in the rolled up magazine. Technically, there's no digital in this except for the phone, which now, thanks to the form factor of the paper roll, amplifies sound from both ends.

Genius in its simplicity - and just another way Coca-Cola is spreading "Happiness." 

Read more, here.


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Doritos 'Crash The Super Bowl' Is Back - With Chance To Work With Michael Bay


Doritos "Crash The Super Bowl' contest is finally getting real.

In my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND and here in this blog, I have pointed out that the annual Ad Bowl mainstay has never quite been the "consumer-created" ad contest the media makes it out to be.(Listen to my "Confessions of a Crash The Super Bowl Winner" here and here for more.)

Rather than a showcase for everyday hopefuls with a Handicam and Hollywood dreams, the contest has often been won by arguably pro- and semi-pro filmmakers hoping to get the attention of other professional filmmakers and producers.

And for 2013, it's going into hyperdrive - with $1 million cash and a job with action movie ace Michael Bay, making it much more clear whom this contest is for, and what it's all about. 

Still, cool as it is, it's hard to beat the winners who met at the Super Bowl to collect their prizes, fell in love, and then collaborated a spot in this year's Bowl

Now that's explosive.

Get all the details on this year's competition, here.


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Kit Kat Launches A GPS-Based 'Golden Ticket'-style Promotion In UK

Kit promoKit Kat will do a heck of a lot more than just give you a break.

It'll helicopter 10,000 pounds/12,000 euros right to you where you stand in what is billed as one of the largest ever location-based promos ever (see browser screenshot, left).

Sure, the promotion's title is creepy - "We Will Find You" - but this campaign has a lot going for it, including special high-tech packages with GPS trackers inside that the brand will use to literally fly a helicopter to your location.

There's even a set of billboards where you can use use QR codes and NFC to enter the competition and see how many GPS Kit Kats are left.

In my first book, BRANDING UNBOUND, I look at how Coca-Cola did the same thing in the UK several years ago, featuring specially-constructed cans with a button that would activate a signal so Coca-Cola helicopters can come find you.

So sure, there's nothing new under the sun. But it's definitely new for chocolate bars in a post-modern update on Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket competition.

Find out more, here.

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Let's Eat Together: Coca-Cola Happiness Truck Serves Smiles (Video)


Talk about a Coke and a smile.

In this new initiative from Coca-Cola and Naked Communications Copenhagen, famous chef Simone Rugiati is on a mission to get folks in Naples, Italy, to sit down and eat a meal together - rounded off, of course, with an ice cold Coca-Cola. 

You can even invite family and friends to do the same through Facebook.

It's just the latest outdoor experience brought to life from the brand, which has included The Coca-Cola Drive-In Theater, Happiness Vending Machines and even other truck initiatives.

And it's just another example of the world's favorite brand at work.

Read more, here.

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Author Rick Mathieson Shares Insights on Branded Entertainment in The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal reached out to me recently for insights on successful branded entertainment for a piece on Ikea's new web series.

The story, which ran in last Friday's issue, below.

Branded entertainment



IKEA's Hit Web Show: An Entertaining Ad


Branded en
ertainment has entered a new era.

"Easy to Assemble," a tongue-and-cheek comedy series co-produced by its creator and lead actress, Illeana Douglas, and the Swedish furniture retailer IKEA, illustrates the latest twist.

The series, which achieved near cult status in its first three seasons, follows the trials and tribulations of Ms. Douglas, who has left a life of Hollywood glitz for a job at the big-box furniture store in Burbank, Calif.

Available only
on the Web, the show, which features cameos by the likes of Jeff Goldblum, Tom Arnold and Jane Lynch, isn't broken up with ads. Instead, the entertainment is the ad, albeit a well-disguised one. The IKEA store is the show's set, and the company's end goal is to create buzz, name recognition and a fun image for the brand.

Companies have sponsored entertainment for decades. Indeed, Procter & Gamble Co. PG -0.04% backed a series of radio soap operas in the 1930s. But corporate production of shows distributed via the Web is giving marketers new power, enabling them to break free from traditional print, TV and digital advertising that consumers can easily bypass.

"We recognized that consumers were just skipping [TV] commercials," says Richard DelCore, a former director of global brand entertainment at P&G who retired earlier this year. As a result, branded entertainment budgets have "absolutely increased," Mr. DelCore says. He estimates that P&G is now spending up to 5% of its marketing budget on the effort. (The company declined to comment.)

Branded entertainment also makes measuring product awareness much easier. Companies can check the number of page views, Facebook "likes" and "shares" on social media, along with responses to surveys and contests. "Market-research methodologies are now sophisticated enough to very clearly correlate branding with sales," Mr. DelCore says.

Ford Motor Co. F +1.04% has put about 10% of its budget for a new-car launch into branded entertainment, using social media and the Web to tell "the stories we want to tell," says Crystal Worthem, the manager of brand content and alliances at Ford.

The car maker recently introduced "Random Acts of Fusion," a Web show that follows "American Idol's" Ryan Seacrest and "Community's" Joel McHale as they take the 2013 Ford Fusion to America, hosting video contests and free food festivals to encourage ordinary folks to interact with the car. After the campaign's launch, traffic to the new model's Web page rose 20%, Ms. Worthem says.

The success of "Easy to Assemble," which social-media users have already shared more than 1.5 million times, has led IKEA to roughly triple its efforts to create branded content. It's dedicating between 2% and 3% of its global marketing budget to branded entertainment, says Alia Kemet, IKEA's U.S. media manager.

"Fix This Kitchen," a 30-minute A&E show sponsored by IKEA and starring designer Nicole Facciuto and celebrity chef Eric Greenspan, surprises household cooks by remodeling their outdated kitchens with products from the furniture store. According to a third-party analysis by Latitude Research, nearly 80% of the show's viewers are more likely to visit, recommend or purchase an IKEA product within six months of watching the show.

IKEA attributes much of its success in branded entertainment to handing over the reins to Hollywood talent like Ms. Douglas, a veteran of nearly four dozen films, and to asking only that the furniture chain's core values—including being fun, sophisticated and cheerful—be represented. "Our content resonates because it's produced by entertainers, not salespeople," Ms. Kemet says.

"Easy to Assemble" evolved from a pilot Ms. Douglas pitched to TV networks called "Supermarket of the Stars." The pilot, based in a local food store, had the same basic premise as the IKEA show, so when it didn't sell, she pitched the show to IKEA.

"The first season was wildly experimental," says Ms. Douglas, who credits IKEA with a hands-off approach. "The only note they gave me the whole first season is that they sell frozen yogurt, not ice cream."

Recognizing the shift in corporate marketing budgets, some outside production houses have begun creating Web videos on spec. Online video company Blip opened its own branded entertainment studio in June. It often writes pilot episodes, creates show posters and picks talent before ever speaking to a sponsor, says Evan Gotlib, senior vice president of advertising sales and branded entertainment. It has worked with Arby's, Capital One, Reebok and Samsung.

Blip hosts original content on its own site but also disseminates video through Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, AOL and a network of independent blogs, Mr. Gotlib says. Producing professional, Web-based branded content with a company like Blip can cost anywhere from $250,000 to $800,000, he adds.

"Stars who may not have been open to the process a few years ago are coming on board," says Mike Wiese, the director of branded entertainment at ad agency J. Walter Thompson New York.

The lower entry point for branded entertainment has opened the door to smaller companies with less robust advertising budgets. And branded entertainment isn't just for companies targeting consumers; businesses looking for alternative ways to reach new clients are also climbing on board.

Web-security-solutions provider SonicWall recently built a videogame that challenges corporate-technology decision makers to operate a scanner that acts like the company's network security product. More than one million users tried the game, resulting in over 1,000 qualified leads, says Rick Wooten, former director of eBusiness and eMarketing at SonicWALL.

Of course, even a small show can flop. Most successful branded marketing campaigns share three things: star quality, cross-platform promotion and a core audience of highly engaged people who will act as evangelists, says Rick Mathieson, founder of the creative strategy firm Mathieson and author of "The On-Demand Brand."

"I'd love to say we sat in a room and strategized [about getting millions of hits], but that is not how it happened," Ms. Kemet says of the "Easy to Assemble" campaign. "You don't know what's going to go viral until it hits the market."

QR Code Bottles Sell More Beer While Helping Singles Meet at the Bar (Video)


It's interesting enough that a Harry's Bar in Singapore has gone to so much trouble to sell beer during happy hour.

But producing a video like this featuring a mix of US TV celebs puts this project over the top.

Does the seriously large budget for a bar make sense for this innovation?

Personally, I think it's a fantastic idea - and it looks like it did indeed boost sales. In fact, this could go over well in casual bar & grill franchises with many locations.

Of course, they could have done the same thing by letting people write on tags without having to download an app and use it (I can only hope no one's mobile phone numbers are included in the communiques).

But what would be hip and cool about that?

Read more at PSFK.

Unpretentious App: Mitsubishi Drives Down Your Most Pretentious Facebook Friends

Obliterating your most pretentious Facebook friends?

Yeah, there's an app for that.

According to Adweek, the new campaign for the unpretentious Mitsubishi Outlander includes an app that analyzes the content from your friends' profiles and determines which one's the most snooty.

It then generates a video that shows the 2013 Outlander mowing down images of that friend's most obnoxious posts, which you can then share with others.

Of course, after that, Facebook "friend" might become an even looser term than ever.

As William Gelner, executive creative director at 180LA (the company behind the app) tells the pub: "For many, social media has become a way to brag or show off. From posting images of expensive meals or wine they've had to exotic vacations they're on, this is an epidemic, and it's running rampant. This is weird, considering the economic climate we're in. Mitsubishi, a car with great design but at a more down-to-earth price, felt compelled to make a statement in-line with their brand ethos."

Which sounds great to marketing types like us.

But be careful. In some peoples' eyes, using terms like "brand ethos" can get you run down these days.

Read all about it, here.

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 OD_cover "... EXCELLENT ..."


“Through persuasive arguments and Q&A's with the major players in advertising, Mathieson makes an excellent case for greater creativity and outside-the-box thinking backed up with solid ideas."

Publisher's Weekly