Thursday, July 30, 2015

Google is showing popular times in its local listings

This is an excellent innovation from Google - its Local Search cards (mobile only, I think) now shows the most popular times for the day you are searching.  It's presumably quite easy to do, if Google can track historic visits), and give you some very practical information if you want to avoid busy times.

From Google's blog here is info on The Louvre

& from my phone, here is info on the British Museum

It only seems to be for very popular attractions at the moment - I tried a restaurant and Selfridges without finding a search card - but it's a great innovation.

More info here

Monday, July 13, 2015

MUJI To GO - A story told with products

Muji has created a story told through products.  It starts with people packing for a journey, then follows them to their destination, and then shows why they travelled.

Short clips exist on their website here and also on Instagram.

The complete film is here

Friday, July 10, 2015

Scan a Dorito

There are lots of brands who let you scan a code or a logo to win a prize or 'unlock content' like videos, but this is the first one I've seen where you scan the actual product.

Doritos are letting you scan a new 3D Bacon Ranch snack to watch exclusive videos on your phones.

As image recognition get better I expect we'll see more of these - it's easier to recognise a logo than a product, but now we may see a space to scanning biscuits, chocolate bars and more.

More here

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Publishers vs Ad Blockers

Ad blockers are big news.  It's said that anything from 15 to 39% of UK internet users use ad blockers, and since they're viewing pages with no ads on them, publishers are losing lots of money as a result.

Publishers can tell if someone is using an ad blocker, and some are starting to put up notices on the site asking people - with varying levels of politeness - to turn them off.

Lonely Planet (What makes me Grumpy?  It's that you use AdBlock - stop that!)


The Guardian (very polite, very 'Guardian', at the bottom of the page)

Wired - Banner at the top ('Do us a solid?  Me neither)

& also Channel 4 - which disables video playing for people with ad blockers

I think we may see more people adopting Channel 4's approach - but then if people can get what you have elsewhere people will just choose to visit a different site.

Seen any other good examples?  Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter - I'm @dancall

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Amazon's 1 Hour Delivery Comes to London

Available to Prime members only, for a £6.99 fee, and for orders of £20 and over only.  It always begs the question of how many things do you need that urgently, but these days we're more spontaneous, forgetful and impatient, so maybe the answer is 'lots of things'

More here

Monday, June 29, 2015

Beats 1 & Exclusive Content

Beats 1, Apple's free streaming radio service, launches tomorrow.  Here's a trailer for it:

This looks pretty good - people having fun in a radio studio, making stuff that you can't find anywhere else, a bit like all the best radio stations do, but this time globally.

The line-up of shows looks imaginative too - Zane Lowe, poached from the BBC, Dr Dre's Pharmacy, and even Elton John's Rocket Hour, a mix of old and new tunes.

It's kind of like the BBC's 6 Music but for a younger, more hip hop audience.  It feels a bit like when new TV stations launched in the 90s - for example British Satellite Broadcasting, which had lots of experimental shows, that pretty much no one could see.

But this time anyone with an iOS device can theoretically listen, so it's going to be really interesting to see how it develops.  Remember that the Beats 1 radio service is the free product to lure people in to subscribe to the streaming service.

I've occasionally wondered why there isn't a successful music version of Netflix - making its own premium content, completely paid for - and I think the reason is that we attach more value to content we watch rather than listen to.

Beats 1 seems to be taking the 'premium, rare content' idea and really pushing it.  Tidal is also doing the same thing, but radio shows seems like a better way to do it than occasional exclusive tracks that will immediately get pirated.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Haribo Minions

Apropos of nothing this is quite inspired...

See also - The HariboMinions

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Personalised Promoted Tweets

It seems that you can personalise Promoted Tweets, and Coke is the first brand to do it.

It's a great way to promote the new set of personalised Coca Cola bottles.  There is, obviously, lots of scope for getting this wrong - machines can interpret two words as a first name and surname - but I haven't seen any examples of this going wrong.

More here

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Apple Music - The History of Sound

Apple has produced this lovely ad to promote the launch of Apple Music.

I think the battle between Apple and Spotify (& Google and others) for music streaming will be very interesting.

Apple is striking its own path - no free level, and curated radio, appealing to the more creative and richer end of the market.  I think their idea of curation is very interesting, hiring Zane Lowe and others from the BBC, and letting them make shows and pick music.

Spotify, on the other hand, is all about big data, and trying to use your past choices and the context you're in (time of day, location) to suggest music to you.  Google will I'm sure do similar things when they properly launch their YouTube music offering.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Ten Years of YouTube - an A-Z

YouTube has produced this to mark their tenth birthday.

Some are obvious - A is for Animals, G is for Gangnam - but M is for Memes, R is for React, and X for Xperiments.

& well done to Old Spice on being the 'O'!

PS - there's something quite magical 1 minute 36 seconds in.

Plus - There's a game to play here - test your knowledge of classic videos

Friday, May 29, 2015

Vertical Video

One of the most unlikely trends over the past couple of years has been the rise of vertical video - that is, video shot to be viewed vertically, rather than horizontally.

It's come about through the smartphone being overwhelmingly the main method of taking both photos and videos, and people being more comfortable holding the phone as they would normally rather than turn to to shoot in landscape mode.

This chart, from Mary Meeker's most recent Internet Trends presentation shows the rise of time spent with screens that are generally viewed vertically.

At first vertical videos looked a bit ridiculous - and they still do on YouTube.  But with lots of ways of viewing vertically, most notably Snapchat and Periscope vertical video has now found its place.  Snapchat is now persuading brands to make vertical video - users are watching 2bn videos a day - and I'm sure someone will enter a vertical movie to Sundance before too long.  (There have already been episodes of TV shows filmed on phones).

Horizontal video is generally professionally produced, with high production values, and often made for big screens - anything from film blockbusters down to music videos, to TV, to videos you made on traditional digital cameras

Vertical video is generally amateur, user-generated content, and produced exclusively for mobile and on mobiles.

Each has its natural expectations associated with the form, but within this there's scope for expectations to be confounded.

(Instagram and Vine get around this by being square formats, of course)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Food pictures, and unintended consequences

I take food pics.  You take food pics.  Lots of us take food pics.  I'm such a food pic geek that when I order at some places I ask them to 'make me a photogenic one'...

(I even know a cake company who directs you to their Instagram page when you want to order something from them)

So as a pretty logical, and a good example of 'thinking 6 moves ahead' that Chili's restaurant in the US should tweak its menu items and change ingredients so that the food looks more photogenic.

"Chili’s recently committed to making its food more “shareable.” No, they’re not further increasing the size of their portions. Rather, they’re spending millions to make their food look more photogenic.

Nearly a million dollars for an egg wash to give its buns a photogenic glaze, that “glistens,” to use an adjective from Wyman Roberts, CEO of Chili’s' parent company, Brinker International. A new way of stacking ribs to look better in photos. Sexy stainless steel baskets to fetchingly hold its fries."

You can see some examples on Chili's Instagram account here

I love this example.  I love the ridiculousness but also the logic of it.  But mostly I love how it's rooted in a mass experience, because this is how smartphones have changed the world - fundamentally, but in lots of unintended ways
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