The IoT at Retail: A Look at the Store of the Future (Video)

A look at some of the ways retailers are using the IoT to supercharge the in-store experience. You can read a lot more about this topic in my books BRANDING UNBOUND and THE ON-DEMAND BRAND. Just saying.

Get the inside scoop, here.

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Pokémon Go—to Switzerland: Funny Promo for Town of Basel Features AR (Minus the 'A')

 

Still loving this hilarious video promoting the town of Basel, which capitalizes on the Pokémon Go craze with a fun stunt. Hey, the game's supposed to get you outside, right? Why not make a vacation out of it. I want to shoot a prank like this just for fun.

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3D Immersive Projection Mapping Art Installation #MetMIRAGE (Video)

 

We're digging #MetMIRAGE, a 360-degree immersive 3D projection mapping experience at Metropolis at Metrotown in Vancouver. It's the latest work from Adrian Scott and the team at Go2 Productions, which we've used for a couple of award-winning 3D projection experiences.

Scott tells me his team developed an entirely new system for MetMIRAGE that automates much of the installation, and allows for live monitoring just in case there's a need to troubleshoot anything. A camera also captures images of people at certain points in the experience, and an iPad at the end enables them to upload the photo to their social platforms.

Check it out if you happen to be in Vancouver before the end of August. In the meantime, get the inside scoop on the LoopNet, Seagate and other cool 3D projection experiences below:

Southwest Airlines Launch & Genie Telehandler Launch

Highlights Reel from Go2 Productions

LoopNet Launch

Seagate Brand Relaunch at CES

How could your brand be using 3D projection mapping?

 

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Prankvertising With A Purpose: Reflections in a Bar's Bathroom Mirror—From Prison (Video)

 

The man in the mirror has a deadly serious message for you.

We love this PSA-based prank from We Save Lives, which campaigns against what it calls the 3 Ds: Drunk, Drugged and Distracted driving.

This particular initiative (see YouTube video above) involves a bar bathroom mirror in Los Angeles that serves up a video feed with a man convicted of manslaughter from drinking under the influences—live from jail in Florida.

Longtime readers know we love prankvertising—especially the kind promoting horror movies (and certain zombie stunts on sisters after dental surgery.)

This is a horror flick of a different kind. One where the story is, unfortunately, true.

Pretty powerful stuff.

Read more here.

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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.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: OMELET'S STEVEN AMATO ON THE FUTURE OF FEATURE-LENGTHY 'MIXED REALITY' MOVIES

(Approx: 1:50 sec)

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Honey Beer Builds Buzz with Bee Drones—That Bring Booze to You (Video)

While the Amazon brain trust puzzles over how to deliver boxes of books via drone, this Taiwanese beer brand is already headed your way—with beer.  

In this marketing stunt promoting Honey Beer (yes, beer brewed with honey), Bee drones were dispatched to bring sample six-packs to office workers. Advertising enticed 15,000 people to register online for delivery in its first 10 days.

Meanwhile, sales were up 400% relative to other fruit-infused beers the brand had recently launched.

Now that's a special delivery.

Drink in the details, here.

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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.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO: VIRTUAL REALITY CHECK: Q&A WITH CHARLIE KRAUS (CONCLUSION) (approx. 6 min, 9 sec)

PLUS:

Listen to Part One Here.

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15 MOST INNOVATIVE AD CAMPAIGNS OF 2015

 

GenWowAwards-2015Call them "The Fab 15"—fifteen of the most innovative advertising initiatives of 2015.

That is, fifteen that aren't otherwise captured in our "10 Best" lists in Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Brand Pranks and Brand Viral Videos.

Fifteen that, it's worth noting, feature mostly—though not exclusively—physical-world experiences that do not require consumers to interface with mobile devices.

And fifteen out of countless other notable efforts worth celebrating this year.

But hey, fifteen had a good ring to it.

Plus it's our list, so we're picking favorites—and we think you'll dig them, too.

15. LOWE'S: 'HOW-TO' WINDOW DISPLAYS

The home improvement retailer brings 3D, stop-motion style versions of its popular "Fix it in Six" series of "how-to" Vine videos to store window displays, complete with "Like" buttons. We do.

14. SPP: 'EARTH 2045'

What do you want the world to be like when you retire? This Swedish pension firm created this interactive experience that enables you to toggle two versions of life 30 years from now to show how sustainability pays off—for the planet and your financial picture.

13. CANNON: SMART BILLBOARDS

These intelligent digital billboards pull in data gathered from social media, traffic updates and weather information to provide tips on getting the best photos to New York City tourists and amateur photographers.

12. COCA-COLA: 'WISH IN A BOTTLE'

Next year we may have to dedicate a "Best of" list to drone-vertising. Until then, crack open a bottle of Coca-Cola, and share some happiness as these drones shoot fireworks to light up the night sky.

11. BURBERRY: CUSTOMIZABLE SCARVES

Digital signs developed with DreamWorks Animation enables shoppers at Piccadilly Circus to use their mobile phones to personalize and visualize custom scarves, and display them on a giant screen for all to see before placing a purchase.

10. MARKETING EVOLUTION: 'MONICA'

Online media planning and optimization solutions provider Marketing Evolution developed this robot that was able to identify attendees at this year’s Association of National Advertisers conference on sight – and engage in conversation about their media plans based on their past spend.

9. REACH FOR CHANGE: 'NEVER-ENDING STORY' DREAM-POWERED SITE

Cult '80s film 'Never-ending Story' inspires this site, which is “powered' by dream data” from five sleeping volunteers in a very abstract effort to highlight this non-profit organization’s efforts to improve the lives of children.

8. LEXUS: 'ORIGAMI LEXUS'

It’s 3D printed car. Made out of cardboard. That you can drive. Need we say more?

7. NETHERLANDS NUTRITION CENTRE: 'LIVING BILLBOARDS'

Five different living billboards featured encasements with live bacteria on affixed strips to keep them in place. Over time, the bacteria fed off the environment inside the encasements, and started go grow, forming one of five unique statements to educate consumers about how to avoid becoming ill due to household bacteria. So creepy, it’s (literally) infectious.

6. IF INSURANCE: 'SLOW DOWN GPS' APP

You either love the voice that comes out of your GPS navigation device, or hate it. Either way, this app automatically switches to a child’s voice when providing turn-by-turn instructions through areas where there are likely to be kids around, in an effort to cue drivers to drive more cautiously.

5. POST-IT: A BANNER AD YOU'LL ACTUALLY LOVE

It’s (almost) enough to make you love retargeting: This year, online display ads for 3M's Post-It brand sticky notes have proven just that—sticky—by enabling consumers to write themselves notes, reminders and to-do lists right inside the ad units. Through the magic of retargeting—technologies that deliver that same ad to you wherever you go around the Internets, usually to your chagrin—your virtual Post-Its re-appear everywhere you go.

4. NETFLIX: 'BRAINWAVE SYMPHONY'

This summer, Netflix came up with an innovative way to promote its 'Sense8' online series, which about eight random people who find themselves connected telepathically. It’s approach? Using brainwaves from eight viewers to create a musical symphony.

3. VERIZON: MINECRAFT IN-GAME MOBILE PHONE

What easier (or, at least cooler) way to take selfies and order real-world pizza while you’re playing Minecraft?

2. KAGULA: ROVING PRICE TRUCK

Out to demonstrate how quick and transparent its auto price evaluations are, Taiwan-based used car dealer Kagulu rolled out a truck outfitted with cameras and databases to scans cars on the streets and display its value instantly.

1. CLEANUP HONG KONG: 'THE FACE OF LITTER'

Call it "23AndThee": This past Earth Day, Hong Kong-based NGO Cleanup launched a billboard and bus signage campaign in an effort to get people to clean up after themselves in city known for more than its share of litter. DNA evidence on discarded chewing gum, cigarette butts and even a condom was used to by forensic scientists to predict the eye, hair and skin color, as well as the face shape, of litters – and a total of 27 different profiles were established, and then displayed for all to see. Nothing like shame—and the fear of it—to shape behavior!

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TOP 10 BEST MOBILE MARKETING CAMPAIGNS 2015 (VIDEO)

 

GenWowAwards-2015

Mobile is where it’s at again this year, though we quibble with its definition these days.

For instance, Facebook says nearly 80% of its ad revenue come from mobile advertising. But in our humble opinion, just because an ad is experienced on a mobile device doesn’t mean it’s “mobile.”

Small wonder then, that as in year’s past, most of our top pics for 2015 bring something more to “mobile” – by in fact, relating to place, or the specific capabilities or key functionality of the device in which they are consumed.

Here's 10 of our favorites from the year that was.

10. JOHN LEWIS: MAN ON THE MOON

This wildly popular (and widely spoofed) holiday campaign from UK retailer John Lewis includes a mobile app featuring augmented reality that lets you point your phone toward the moon to unlock daily facts about each phase of the moon. There’s also a game in which the player has to avoid obstacles and collect power boosts to get a specific item up to the man on the moon.

9. COKE ZERO: "DRINKABLE ADVERTISING"

Despite the fact that we're never ones to require any additional prompting to drink Coke Zero – we live on the stuff – this year’s “drinkable advertising” caught our notice. The campaign’s TV spots featured Coke Zero being poured from an onscreen bottle – before migrating to viewers’ mobile phone screens before transmogrifying into a coupon.

8. WWF: #THELASTSELFIE

What’s not to love about the World Wild Life Fund’s “Last Selfie” promotion with Snapchat, which takes advantage of the fleeting, transient nature of Snapchat snaps with short ads that show just how quickly an endangered species can be wiped off the planet. Powerful, and perfect for the platform. In just its first week, consumers posted 40,000 tweets about the initiatives to 120 million timelines. And in just three days, WWF reached its fundraising target for the entire month.

7. GUESS: VIRTUAL SUNGLASSES

This year, Guess's special mobile ad units enabled users to snap selfies and then “try on” sunglasses via augmented reality, complete with pointers on which styles work best for your face shape. The user takes or uploads a selfie, adjusts the placement, applies from a wide selection of sunglasses and can even share the image for feedback from far-flung friends via their social platforms. Add a "buy" button and this could be m-commerce magic instead of just promotion.

6. TOYS 'R US: IN-STORE MOBILE AR

How do you get shoppers into store locations during the Easter season? Launch an augmented reality Egg Hunt for the chance to win store gift cards. Here’s a brick & mortar retailer (in Australia) that refused to shy away from mobile and instead embraced it to enhance the retail experience.

5. SPOTIFY: #FOUNDTHEMFIRST

This summer, the online music streaming service rolled out a "Found Them First" microsite that lets users see which musicians the system knows they heard before the artists became megawatt sensations. Users can then build and share a playlist built on those early discoveries. In exchange, Spotify will offer them a new playlist with other new acts they might help “discover” as well.

4. MINI USA: 'BACKWATER' & 'REAL MEMORIES'

MINI USA is big on short online films featuring its cars, so it made since that the brand would be among the first to take 360-degree video for a test drive. Two such films, “Backwater” and “Real Memories” are definitely worth a gander—and could mean big things for the road ahead.

3. SNICKERS 'HUNGER BAR'

Let’s face it: You’re not quite you when you’re hungry, are you? Which is why the latest installment of Snickers’ long-running "You're Not You" campaign includes a mobile app that enables consumers to create images related to their particular hunger symptoms and share them socially. The key isn’t to show off what kind of hungry you are, of course. It’s about calling out family and friends for acting “snippy,” “loopy,” “cranky,” “confused,” “spacey," or ... insert your own adjective here.

2. QANTAS: ‘VIRTUAL DESTINATIONS’

Yes, I’m still fixated on this VR initiative from Qantas, which enables you to go on a eight-minute, 360-degree virtual vacation to Hamilton Island. In fact, it was really hard to decide between this and our #1 pick this year. It is, after all, either instant justification for the VRevolution, or a sure sign of the Apocalypse. Once companies start producing VR content like this that lasts not minutes but for hours on end, the human race may just opt out of the “reality” part of the equation all together—at least when they aren’t physically going to these amazing locales.

1. PIZZA HUT: ‘PIZZA BOX PROJECTOR’

Okay, there's rarely a moment when a large TV screen is much out of arms reach these days. So maybe this is the solution to a problem that few will ever face. But it's still hard not to dig the Pizza Hut Blockbuster Box - a pizza box that's also a movie projector. Throw in a cold one and this could be the best thing to happen to pizza since pepperoni.

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