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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Touching 'Justino' Wins Cyber Grand Prix (Video)


It's hard not to love this Cyber Grand Prix-winning initiative promoting "El Gordo," an annual holiday lottery in Spain.

While the rest of the industry obsessed over John Lewis' "Man on the Moon" last Christmas, "Justino" quietly went about its business—with a touching animated short about a night watchman at a mannequin factory who never gets to meet his day-timer co-workers. In an attempt to create a bond, he poses mannequins in fun scenarios as a way to greet them each morning. But when he sees news that the company had set up a lottery pool without him—and won—he's heartbroken. You have to see what happens next for yourself.

While brilliant even as just an online video, "Justino" took social sharing a leap further than most such promotions—even John Lewis' acclaimed holiday campaign.

According to Libris, the Spanish national lottery set up social media accounts specific to the #Justino campaign, with content optimized for each channel. In one, viewers could comment on their favorite scenes. In another, they could guess at key elements of the story line. In all, viewers were brought into the story even while becoming viral engines for it.

It was exactly this kind of finely crafted digital storytelling that inspired its Cannes win, according to reports in Ad Age.

Kudos to Leo Burnett Madrid and all involved for a job well done.



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Swede Sensation: Swedish Tourism Board Wins Cannes Grand Prix for Offbeat Campaign (Video)


The news from Cannes today found campaigns winning big for being particularly offbeat—risky even—with considerable success.

First was word that REI won the Promo & Activation Grand Prix for the "ultimate 'anti-promotion.'" That would be the whole #OptOutside campaign from last November, which involved shutting the store during Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.

And the Swedish Tourism Board won the Direct Marketing Grand Prix for 'The Swedish Number,'" which gave prospective tourists the ability to dial a special number to play a kind of chat roulette with a random Swede in order to get the 411 on reasons to visit (see YouTube video above).

According to early reports from Skift, these randomized ambassadors signed up for the chance to talk about everything from the Northern Lights and IKEA, to ABBA and H&M, with total strangers. 

According to Ad Age, REI isn't saying how successful the #OptOut initiative was, though sales for the full year were up nearly 10%.

It's a little harder to figure out why the Tourism effort won in the Direct category—it's unclear what made it a direct marketing effort—let alone how much new tourism it inspired.

It'd be hard to quantify that anyway. But in its first day or so, we do know the campaign generated 2,300 calls, mostly from Turkey (68% of the calls, in fact), the US (20%), UK (6%) Germany (2%) and Austria (2%).

And let's face it, it is a great example of an On-Demand Brand. Hell, it made us want to call a random Swede.

Those Northern Lights really trip us out.




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Author Rick Mathieson on Blasingame Show: Email Marketing Secrets (Pt 1)

Email marketing 2Social media may get all the attention these days, but more marketers are gravitating back toward that original form of digital marketing: email.

There's good reason: According to research from McKinsey and Company, email outperforms Facebook and Twitter in terms of conversion rates by 40X.

So what's driving the move back toward email? That's the topic of a recent appearance on the Jim Blasingame Show. While Jim's show is mostly targeted to small- to medium-size companies, this conversation applies to any marketer looking to boost performance—even if it means revisiting one of the oldest of our newfangled digital channels.


(Approx. 4 min 40 sec)



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GramGram: This Is Your Grandma's Social Media—Here's How to Use It (Video)


Check out this spoof video from Project GramGram, which comes with some great tips for connecting with your dear old grandma—including using a fictitious new service that lets you send social media posts via snail mail, so you can update her instantly, "in three to five days."

My favorite: Alternative options like, "the phone app, available on most mobile devices."

Apparently it's all the work of some Brigham Young University students. Which means their muse was, most likely, a certain somebody who wasn't going to hear any more about their excuses for not staying connected.

If this is the result, we hope they tell her thank you for us.

Read more.



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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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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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Author Rick Mathieson Talks 'Facebook Reactions' (Radio Interview)


What's not to Like about Facebook Reactions?

For some marketers, the answer may be plenty.

For consumers, Facebook's new Reactions feature is a fun way to go beyond the Like button, enabling them to express their feelings about posts with one of six icons: The Like or thumbs up icon; the Love or heart icon—and now, a choice of four emoji faces: HaHa or laughing; shock or surprise; sadness—and anger. (See Jimmy Fallon's take on the pros and cons in the YouTube clip above.)

There are even expansion packs that replace the official icons with images from Pokemon, Deadpool, Adventure Time—and even Donald Trump.

Reactions: HaHa—or Anything But?

While consumers may give Reactions a thumbs up, some brands may feel their relationship with Facebook has just become more ... complicated. After all, instead of just Liking a brand's post, consumers are now free to express emotions some marketers may not exactly heart.

In fact, early buzz indicates some marketers may have their own facial expressions (or hand gestures) for Reactions.

But is that the right away to react?

In a radio interview the other morning on the Blasingame Show on Forbes Radio, I talk about Reactions and what they may mean for marketers: the good, the bad—and the ugly. 

(Note: It sounds like there were some technical difficulties, so audio quality is not the best)


(Approx: 4 min)


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World's First Patent-Pending Brand Logo—A Behind-the-Scenes Video

Bts_titleIt’s a logo like none other.

Which is why there’s no way I could resist asking Rich Silverstein and other people central to its creation to appear on-camera to share insights on "The Seagate Living Logo"—the world’s first patent-pending corporate brand identity.

(See video at bottom)


Ll_story_still_rich_Yes, it’s true that brand identities rendered in real time through data visualization have been around for a while now.

But the Seagate Living Logo—launched at CES last January—is the first to have a patent in play for literally taking its shape using live data feeds flowing from public data sources such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LastFM, Amazon, Getty Images and more.

The idea? To represent the integral role Seagate storage solutions play in storing 40% of the world’s data, and in enabling the data-centric business models of today’s most innovative companies.


Bts_interactive_llThroughout the last 12 months, new variants have included interactive Living Logos that respond to physical movements through Microsoft Kinect-based technology—allowing you to essentially swim amid social media posts and images.

A standalone Facebook version lets you personalize the experience using your own online images.

And another can be customized in real time using Twitter and Instagram keywords and handles, as well as your own uploaded images, for live business meetings and events.


As is typical in social media these days, reaction to the Living Logo there and elsewhere has ranged from the snarky to the sublime.

Yet regardless of where you fall on that score, the Living Logo represents a notable new entry into the annals of corporate branding.

And it seems to have sparked a trend.

Last July, Brazilian telco FS Company launched a dynamic logo that uses code and generative design to reflect the real-time activity on the company’s servers.

Just within the last few months, HavasOrtega developed a data-enabled “living logo” for a CEO summit in the Philippines.

And a UK-based design firm called Amaze is now tracking employees’ physical movements and digital activities to drive a “human-powered” living logo using a framework that sounds a lot like Seagate’s.

Which makes sense. Given the fact that Gartner reports nearly 75% of companies plan to invest in big data solutions in the next two years, the Seagate Living Logo surely stands on the cutting edge of what is likely to become a crowded field in the years ahead.

This short video, edited by Seagate’s George Shubin, will give you the inside scoop on the Seagate Living Logo and how it came to be.

(Full disclosure: I've had creative input on the development of the Living Logo, and have worked closely with these and other people working on the project at Seagate, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Pet Gorilla and elsewhere.)




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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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