From Wearables to Sniffables: This NIVEA App Detects Body Odor (Video)


Call it The Internet of Stinks: The new NIVEA NOSE app will tell you what those around you may desperately want to, but won't.

Just put your phone in the NIVEA NOSE protective case, stick your mobile phone in your armpit, and the app uses an algorithm to determine if your fresh—or fetid.

How? According to Creativity, it first benchmarks your normal smell, and then watches for deviations from that level.

Personally, I'm thinking a.) what if your "normal" smell is ferociously bad; b.) if you have to ask, the answer's probably yes, you stink, and c.) if you've got time to rub your phone in your pits, why not just rub on some NIVEA deodorant, instead?

Then again, maybe that's the point.

A nice branded effort either way.

Learn more here.


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Excedrin Uses VR to Show What a Migraine Feels Like (Video)


Yup, sounds about right. The idea here is to help those who don't get migraines to understand what those of us who do experience (minus the actual pain part).

Call it VRetched. Or maybe just Virtual Hell. By whatever name, it's an interesting way for the pain relief brand to use virtual reality to drive home the problem it aims to solve.

Now show me how fast Excedrin can make it all go away, and then you'll really have something.

Read more here.


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Domino's 'Zero Click' Ordering App (Video)


Domino's does it again—this time with an app that lets you order pizza without really having to do much of anything.

Just open the new "Zero Click" mobile app, and a 10-second countdown begins. Let it run out, and your pre-saved order is automatically on its way.

In my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, I look at how Domino's has put some serious dough behind being the default pizza choice for the digital generation.

Indeed, the Zero Click app is  just the latest from Domino's Anyware initiative, which uses its Easy Order platform to make it a breeze to order your favorite pie via Emoji on Twitter, text messaging, smart watchFord Sync in-car, and more

(Full disclosure: Then-Domino's CMO Russell Weiner wrote a glowing review of THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, featured in a cover blurb.)

Still, Zero breaks into some uncharted territory, at least for me. Now the hassle of ordering has reached a dangerously low threshold.

As the App Store page for the app puts it: "It's easy. Maybe too easy. You've been warned."

How is your brand using digital innovation to set itself apart?


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HoloLens TED Talk Demos The Future of Augmented Reality (Video)


We're still digging this TED video of HoloLens and Kinect inventor Alex Kipman as he shares his vision for the age of holograms.

Of course, we haven't decided how much of this is overly staged to optimize for video capture (clearly it's mapped to the area he's working in here, and it remains to be seen if HoloLens will create the same effect in any space).

We're also amused by some of the hype involved (we're pretty sure a thousand years from now, even AR will be a distant memory, replaced by something that makes it seem antediluvian at best).

And yes, for some reason he had us thinking of Ernie & Bert playing around with an ancient form of augmented reality.


But Kipman's vision is compelling, especially given his work with Kinect, the motion-sensing technology that enables you to interact with AR elements through body movement.

One thing's for sure: We can't wait to see where it all goes in next decade—let alone the 990 years after that.


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The Rise of Feature-Length VR/AR Movies: Q&A with Omelet's Steven Amato

Steven Amato Headshot Ready for full-length augmented reality and virtual reality movies?

In recent weeks I've been thinking a lot about what we are currently calling VR—namely branded entertainment intitiatives such MINI USA's ambitious cinematic shorts "Backwater" and "Real Memories," AT&T's "It Can Wait" and Target's "How on Hallow Hill."

As I point out in a recent conversation with Charlie Kraus of Limelight networks, there's just one problem: None of these are actually VR. They're 360-degree videos.

True VR is (or will be) far immersive because these videos, while incredibly cool, are missing one key element: interactivity.

I'm not talking visual navigation. I'm talking about the ability to pick up an object. Crouch low or jump high. The ability to move in relation to the virtual environment.

True VR is more like a first-person video game, whether the environment is photo/video-realistic or clearly fantastical, as with video games.

While this current wave of "VR" is an important step in that direction, it's critical that we don't lose sight of the "Holodeck"-like vision on which VR is based.

The evolution of VR will bring us 360-movies and eventually, truly interactive VR—or even better, AR or "mixed reality," that brings fictitious dramas to life within real world environments—for the ultimate movie-going experience.

Dawn of Awesomeness

As blockbuster movie fans (myself included) gear up for this week's 3D IMAX release of "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice," I found myself thinking about a conversation I had a while back with Steven Amato, co-founder of Omelet LA.

In this short clip (from a source interview for my book,  THE ON-DEMAND BRAND), I ask Amato about the future of feature-length mixed reality experiences, and what it could also mean for brands using VR/AR to develop branded content in a world where you might not just sit inside that MINI in "Backwater"—but actually drive it. And where you don't just watch Batman & Superman clash with each other and their villains—you join them.


(Approx: 1:50 sec)


 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







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Virtual Reality Check: Q&A With Limelight Networks' Charlie Kraus (Conclusion)

Charlie Kraus 10-2-15IIf Augmented Reality holds so much more promise than Virtual Reality, are investments in developing VR-specific devices like Oculus Rift just a waste of time and money—especially when mobile phones can be used for both AR and VR?

In the conclusion of my recent conversation with content delivery network (CDN) provider Limelight Networks' Charlie Kraus, we'll get answers to that question—and learn why when it comes to both AR and VR, it's voice that's the killer app.



Listen to Part One Here.


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Virtual Reality Check: Q&A with Charlie Kraus of Limelight Networks (Pt 1)

VR_AR_GUYIt turns out the promise of virtual reality bites when compared to long-term prospects for augmented reality.

At least that’s according to research from Manatt Digital Media that estimates the market for VR-based solutions will account for only $30 billion of a total $150 billion combined AR/VR market by 2020.

But there’s always a “but,” right?

In this case, that “but” is followed by a question: How are we supposed to square Manatt’s research with seemingly contradictory estimates like those from Gartner, whose ever-popular Hype Cycle chart shows AR far behind VR—indeed, far behind even autonomous vehicles—in its advance toward true market traction?

Short answer: You can’t. And in my view, it’s VR’s fault.

A Virtual Conundrum

Charlie Kraus 10-2-15To get to what I mean, I went to Charlie Kraus, senior product marketing manager for Limelight Networks, which is a leading content delivery network (CDN) provider.

CDNs, of course, are used by carriers and others to deliver all that content you consume online—text, graphics, videos, games, music, etc.—with a high level of availability and performance.

As you might imagine, AR (content superimposed on the user's view of the physical world) and VR (content that immerses the user in a simulated world) can only be as good as the networks through which that content is delivered.  

After all, if you think buffering at a key moment on “House of Cards” is innervating, just wait until you miss a critical turn as you make your way around an unfamiliar city using AR-based navigation, or find yourself frozen and subsequently fragged by opponents within VR gaming worlds, due to network congestion.

So while most of the focus is on manufacturers producing devices like Oculus Rift and app developers for more common devices such as iPhones, I figured content networks may have actual usage patterns from which to base projections.

In pLimelight networksart one of this Q & A, I ask Kraus to spell out the differences between VR and AR for listeners who may be confused by the terms (and no wonder—look at this article out today that seems to equate the two), and why Limelight is especially bullish on AR.

Then I ask about what I see as a key problem with reconciling contradictory projections about adoption rates for both AR and VR.

Sure, AR seems pretty well defined. But VR is an entirely different matter.




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10 Digital Age Coke Taglines—From The Distant Past


So much for "Happiness."

As the marketing world obsesses over Coca-Cola's decision to trade out its hugely popular "Open Happiness" tagline to "Taste the Feeling"(see one of 25 new spots, above), it's been fun revisiting the commotion created over some of its previous slogan changes.

Check out reaction (including my own) to "The Coke Side of Life" in Ad Age a decade ago.

Indeed, whenever Coca-Cola makes marketing changes of this magnitude, it can be a hoot to take stock of its taglines from times past. You usually find some surprises along the way.


Despite being one of the world's most successful brands, there have certainly been some oddballs in Coca-Cola's advertising oeuvre—who can resist "Enjoy a Glass of Liquid Laughter" (1911), or "Proves a Big Help to Tired Housewives" (1909)?

And then there's that golden oldie: "Coca-Cola: The Great National Temperance Beverage" (1907)—which, we're told, "has none of the ill effects or 'let down' qualities of alcoholic stimulants." Yum.

Some old taglines are just inscrutable—"Same to You" (1940) sounds as if the feeling you're tasting is indignation.

And present-day regulators might have a field day with any tagline that proclaims Coke is "Pure and Healthful" (1904), and "Adds a Refreshing Relish to Every Form of Exercise" (1906), with "The Perfect Blend of Pure Products from Nature" (1923).

To modern audiences, other tags charitably might seem like aspirational positioning in the extreme—such as, "The Ideal Beverage for Discriminating People" (1906), "The Sign of Good Taste" (1957), and "The Best Drink Anyone Can Buy" (1913).

After all, everyone knows the best drink you can buy isn't Coca-Cola. It's Coke Zero.


Despite so many antiquated curios from campaigns past, many Coke taglines of yesteryear would be completely at home in the digital age.

Think about it:

  • In an era of virtual reality, 3D printing and social media poseurs, Coke promises to bring you "The Real Thing" (1948)
  • Ad skipping technology? "Relax with the Pause that Refreshes" (1947)
  • The age of Uber and Airbnb? "Share a Coke" (2011)
  • Group texting, geo-fencing and flash mobs? "Meet Me at the Soda Fountain" (1930)
  • Personal aerial drones? "Look Up, America!" (1975)

Even online activism and crowd funding fit that all-time favorite, "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" (1971).

Yet perhaps it's that texting-and-flash-mob example that hits home most. As it happens, Coke classics seem especially well suited for the mobile revolution—including (among a surprising number of others):

  • "Anytime, Everywhere—The Favorite Beverage" (1918)
  • "Along the Highway to Anywhere" (1949)
  • "Call for Coke" (1953)
  • "People on the Go—Go for Coke" (1954)

Whether this is all a sign of soda-pop prescience, promotional predestination or pure chance, Coca-Cola remains a venerable brand whose slogans will provide plenty for (pop-) cultural anthropologists to ponder in decades to come.

Will future advertising aficionados still find it as amusing as we do?

As Coca-Cola itself once put it: "Always."


(Check out these and other taglines here, here and here)



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Coke Ditches 'Happiness,' Tells You to 'Taste the Feeling' (Video)


You can stop looking for "Happiness" now.

That's the word from Coca-Cola's new global CMO Marcos de Quinto, who says the decade-long "Open Happiness" campaign had become too preachy in promoting sharing and co-existence for his, er, tastes.

So now, Coca-Cola, Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero, will all share a common theme: "Taste the Feeling."

Having brand consistency across its cola portfolio is indeed a no-brainer. 

And we're seriously digging the opening spot, "Anthem" (above). Be sure to catch "Under Pressure" and "Breakup," too.

In fact, there is a lot to like about each of 25 new spots released earlier today.

But here at Gen Wow, we can't help wondering if "Taste the Feeling" skates a little too close to Skittles territory.

And let's face it, there's a lot to miss about some classic "Happiness" initiatives over the last few years—especially the physical + digital variety.

Among our favorites:


Let's face it, Happiness shared is doubled. Or tripled. Or...


How Coke helps you brake for good times.


Call it the Happiness Traffic Jam


Open a bottle and light up the night sky.


A single serving—for two.


Bust a move for your favorite beverage.


Coke creates a city park and rolls out the happiness.


Happiness brings even the people of India and Pakistan together.


It takes two to use this 12-foot-tall vending machine.


Hug it, get an ice-cold Coke.


An on-campus ice breaker for the first day of school.


Cupid makes you prove you're a couple to get a Coke.


Reinventing that age-old Coca-Cola classic for the digital age.

Of course, change is the only constant—and perhaps the time is right for a Coke refresh.

But that doesn't mean we won't miss the happiness we've shared in times past.




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Play 'Buzzword Bingo'—CES Edition







This is one game that's easier to play than avoid.

We're all guilty of overusing tech industry buzzwords. And why not? They play a useful role as common shorthand that (conveniently) confers an aura of "cool" to those fluent in the lingua franca of 21st century business.

But as CES 2016 reaches its climax, many of us are finding ourselves facing buzzword burnout over what feels like an egregious level of noise pollution emanating from Las Vegas over the last few days.

“Disruptive.” “Influencer.”“(Anything)-Hacking.” “Unicorn.” I'm sure we've heard them all this week, many times over.

Never mind that some of this lingo could be headed for limbo faster than Kim (or any other) Kardashian can “Break the Internet.”

“Unicorn,” for instance, is quickly morphing into “unicorpse,” as concerns grow that companies like Gilt, Tango and SFX Entertainment may prove emblematic of some of these hard-to-find beasts with billion-dollar valuations may ultimately fare.

In the meantime, GEN WOW found some catharsis in a piece this week by Shawn Paul Wood in PR Newser, lamenting some of the most irksome buzzwords found in news stories and press releases.

When we mentioned the article in our GEN WOW LinkedIn Group, member Rick Wootten, senior director of global marketing for Seagate, mused about having some fun with it all—in the form of a game of "Buzzword Bingo."

That sparked an in-group and subsequent email conversation about developing a mobile app for facilitating a decidedly tech industry-centric version of the game at events such as, well, CES.

"It's natural for industry buzzwords to come and go in cycles, but sometimes enough of them peak at the same time to create Lingo Overload," Wootten says. "We're experiencing one of those times right now—and I think we should make the most of it!"

It's a great idea—and one that might prompt us all (myself included) to be a little more judicious about how often (and how accurately) we use these phrases.

Best of all, while it could take even the most agile development team (another buzzword) days or weeks to produce a full-blown app, we figured we'd just mock up a bare bones Buzzword Bingo card so you can start playing today.











How to Play

  1. Each time a news story or press release using one of these painfully overused words or phrases hits your inbox or browser window, mark off a square.
  1. Capture the link to the story or release for validation.
  1. Mark off a solid horizontal, vertical or diagonal line of lingo—and BINGO!

If the mood strikes us, we'll try a formal round this coming Post-CES news week. Who knows, there might even be a prize involved.

That is, if the game doesn't go too fast. A three-minute audit of my inbox and news feeds this morning produced plentiful junk jargon, including:


A particular pet peeve. Not merely because it’s so overused, but because there’s no such thing.

So far as I can tell, the total number of so-called “sharing economy” companies that are “sharing” anything comes to zero.

That Uber driver isn’t “sharing” her car. You have used an app to request a ride that you will pay a fee for using. The only thing that may get "shared" is polite conversation on the way to your destination. The far more accurate term is “the on-demand economy,” since that’s truly the distinction separating many of these new services from what has come before. Then again, I'm biased.

Perp:  Business Insider (quoting a car company executive). Again, I am including links not to call out the pub or its sources—we're all guilty of geekspeak—but rather to document buzzword use so I can claim my square.

 "IoT" & "IoE'

Ah, "The Internet of Things" or "The Internet of Everything." Whatever variant you want to use, it’s surely vying to be #1 biggest buzzword at CES this year. Perps just today include EE Times, ZDNet and EWeek.


Actually, I take back what I just said about "IoT;" this one could very well take the cake, with numerous entries this morning, ranging from Forbes’ look at “The Five Most Disruptive Innovations at CES” to WIRED's "Best of CES" and beyond.

And this is all in under three minutes.

What do you think your card might look like in the same amount of time?

Could games like this raise our awareness and encourage us to seek other terms and phrases?

Or are these words, flawed as some are, just too useful and compelling in (catchphrase alert:) the marketplace of ideas?


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