Friday, January 23, 2015

McDonalds - Signs

This was much more emotional than I expected it to be -

You can see some of the individual stories behind the signs on their Tumblr here

E.g. -

“We currently support our local community by providing some of our most loyal customers with a 10% discount and appreciation weeks a couple times a year,” said owner-operator Luke Humbard. “During those days we offer free desserts and make sure to tell them we appreciate them coming to us on their thirty minute lunch breaks. What prompted the message was a press conference that signaled a factory line might be moving out of the city of Toledo. This could mean a loss of jobs for the city of Toledo.” If you spend any time in northwest Ohio, you quickly grasp how important manufacturing is to the local economy and so many of the city’s residents."

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Gillette uses Tinder to show that women like well-groomed men

Gillette has done some research with Tinder to show that women prefer men with well-groomed facial hair over more unkempt ones.

Tinder was able to analyse 100,000 men's profiles, first taking ones with 'hairy, unshaven photos' and then ones with 'well groomed' ones, and found out that well groomed men got 37% more matches.

See the full site ShaveTest here - with lots of shareable images.

I'd love to know if money changed hands for this trial!  I also think it's interesting that Tinder are mining their data for things like this, in a way pioneered by OK Cupid - Tinder is also owned by IAC.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


One of the trends in my 2015 trends deck was 'Voice' - that is, the rise of voice search, people speaking to objects and more, and generally using voice rather than a keyboard.

This is fine if your brand's name is easy to pronounce, but if it's not it could bring problems.

What if it sounds like something else?

(For quite a while I had the Two Ronnies' 'Four Candles' sketch in my mind when I was thinking about the trend)

What if people don't know how to pronounce it?  In an episode of The Sopranos, Tony talks about 'Hermeez' (it's 'ermez).  I had a Chinese colleague who was crazy about Aquascutum, but couldn't pronounce it - and I think this is quite a common problem in China.

What about Mui Mui?  Chloe Sevigny?  Nike?  (Nissan) Quashqai?  Xiaomi?

I think some of these brands may start to produce films like these, or consciously work the pronunciation into their ads

Friday, January 09, 2015

Uber CARGO - Man with Van

Uber CARGO is an 'of course!' extension / experiment from Uber in Hong Kong.  Instead of ordering a taxi, order a man with a man to take you and your bulky items anywhere, e.g. if you've bought some furniture, or you want to go surfing.

Initially just in Hong Kong, but I can see this taking off.  I'm sure almost every major city in the world has lots of 'man with van' operators - why not formalise it?

Uber blog post


Wednesday, January 07, 2015

iDevices Switch - Control your lights with Siri

I'm surprised that this has taken so long to arrive, but iDevices Switch is the first Apple HomeKit-enabled plug, which you plug other devices into, meaning that it can turn on lights and devices from commands from your phone, including spoken commands via Siri.

A good example of the 'Voice' trend from my recent 2015 trends deck

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Buzzfeed's 'Dear Kitten' Video Ad for Friskies

One of my 10 Trends for this year (now at 30,000 views on Slideshare) was the rise of new news organisations, and probably the most powerful of these is Buzzfeed.

Everyone thinks of lists and fun stuff with Buzzfeed, but did you know that they're also making video ads for clients, using their editorial skills to make engaging films that people will want to share (& potentially cutting out agencies).

Here's one example - a film for Friskies that has had nearly 20m views in 6 months:

A follow up, 'Regarding The Dog' has had nearly 10m

Other examples (with admittedly fewer views):

JC Penney - 'Women reveal the truth about growing up'

Nestle - Life-changing baking tricks everyone can do

Luvs Daipers - Tips & tricks for travelling with your baby

Hasbro - How to win at Scrabble

Monday, January 05, 2015

Google's Store Visit Analytics

In December Google announced that it was rolling out store visit measurement to some businesses in the US.  Essentially it allows advertisers to see if people exposed to their ads then visited their stores.

They've clearly been testing it for a while - they quote two examples:

PetSmart - 10-18% of clicks on search ads lead to a store visit
"PetSmart, the nation's largest specialty retailer of pet supplies, uses store visits data to improve its customer shopping experience -- today, this often starts with people researching online and then visiting a store. Based on the insight that 10-18% of clicks on search ads lead to a store visit, PetSmart is now investing more in ads that reach customers across screens. For example, PetSmart has increased use of location extensions in their ads to show maps and directions to help people find nearby stores when they are searching for products like puppy treats or aquariums."

OfficeDepot - which products drive visits to which stores?
"Office Depot, Inc., formed as part of the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax, is a leading global provider of products, services and solutions for every workplace -- whether your workplace is an office, home, school or car. The company uses insights from store visits data to understand which products, such as laptops, printers or backpacks, are driving people to visit one of its 2,000 Office Depot and OfficeMax retail locations. These insights help Office Depot, Inc., decide which products to include in its local inventory ads. These ads show whether or not a product is available in a nearby store and where the nearest store is located. This makes it simple for customers to discover what products are in stock as they’re shopping and researching online."

As with lots of these things it's US-only so far, but I'm sure it will come to the UK soon (ish), and Google will start to get closer to discovering the link between online advertising and in-store sales.  (Note that this is tracking visits to the store, not any purchased within the store).  I'd also expect there to be lots more interest in other companies in a similar space, like Place IQ, and Placed, and also for Facebook to develop something similar.

The Reply All Podcast

Reply All is a new, weekly podcast that is 'a show about the internet'

I really like podcasts, but some of them fail to capitalise on what is different about podcasts to blogs (you can discuss things), and generally let the participants go on & on for too long.

ReplyAll suffers from neither of these faults.  So far we've had 7 fascinating episodes of about 15-20 minutes each, covering lots of diverse subjects.

My personal favourites are:

Jennicam - whatever happened to one of the web's first stars

This Website for Sale - The business behind domain auctions

Follow The Money - Storytelling through tracking transactions on the payment platform Venmo (which then turns into a completely different show at the end)

& This Proves Everything - Looking at the murky world of the 'Larry Shippers'

I think it's a terrific show and long may it continue.  (I also like how they do their ads - good examples of 'native' podcast ads)

While I'm on the subject...

Serial ended a couple of weeks ago, and while I found it interesting and really enjoyed it, I have strong misgivings about it.

I - It was too much of a discourse.  I don't think we learned more from it being a week by week examination than we would have if it had been a retrospective look (& bear in mind that they'd been working on it for a long time before any of it was broadcast).  I know it's a different sort of show, but I think Rough Justice, where you saw the whole story, was much better.

2 - The best episodes were ones with external experts giving their views, rather than the presenter theorising, for example episode 7 with Deirdre Enright, or episode 8 where they talk to a former detective about the case.

3 - The experts made points that they'd missed, or wouldn't have thought about for weeks, the most obvious example was Enright's team's discovery of a credible potential suspect that the Serial team hadn't even heard of, which was introduced in the final episode.

I will listen to series 2 of Serial, but I hope that they can structure it better, and spend more time talking to credible third parties.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Skype Translator

This seems straight out of a sci fi film (and in fact is similar to Douglas Adams' Babel fish).  Skype has just released a demo video of its live audio translation in action.

I'd love to play with this (translation - try to break it), and I'm sure that bits where it didn't work have been edited out, but how brilliant the potential is, especially for a nation of terrible language students.

Earlier - Word Lens - written text translated, from 2010 (now owned by Google)

Friday, December 12, 2014

10 Trends for 2015

Each year we produce a trends report to help us think about how the worlds of technology and media will change over the next few years.
There are lots of things happening, and we hope we have chosen some the most interesting
This year we look at:
App Simplification & Integration
Video Ads
Connected TV
Paying to go Ad-Free
New News Sites
Start-ups Going 'Full Stack'
Symbols & Emojis
Virtual Reality

Please have a look!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

YouTube with Ads on Apple TV

The new YouTube app on Apple TV brings lots of functionality (lots of it things that you'd have thought would already be there), plus it now supports advertising - so you can target ads in YouTube at people watching on an Apple TV.

I'm sure this much be coming to Chromecast too - this data shows that Chromecast has now overtaken Apple TV in share in US broadband households (but both are behind Roku).

Connected TV, with ads that you can target like online ads, is coming.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2014 End of Year Reviews



2014 Year in Review from Facebook on Vimeo.

Google - Year in Search

Twitter - Moments - Key events in News,. Entertainment & more

Twitter - Perspectives - Top 5 tweets from people like JK Rowling, Neymar Jr and more

Spotify - The Year in Music

Tumblr - Year in Review

Google Ventures - Looks at the companies they invest in, including Uber

Slate's Year of Outrage - what people got angry about, day by day

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