Advil #Reliefinaction

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After many months of uncertainly, changes in direction, meetings about meetings on tweaks to tweaks, the Advil #reliefinaction campaign finally kicked off at the Barclays Center last night in Brooklyn. Advil honors and provides relief to volunteers who don´t let pain get in the way of helping others. And they announced that to the public at an NBA game. Nets vs Bulls, branded in Blue and Yellow. Aziz Ansari (although I’m admittedly not much of a Parks & Rec fan) private stand-up show for 100 volunteers who have helped their communities. Happy agencies and happy clients. Relief in Action has been a labor of love for so many people for so many months and last night kicked it off in style and grace.
There is no one outside of the proverbial target consumer for Advil so I urge all of you to join the cause on Instagram and Twitter. Upload your own picture of how you demonstrate active volunteerism, how you rise above your own pain to help relieve the pain of others. Or anything else that so inspires you in the spirit of the campaign. It’s @reliefinaction, #reliefinaction. Go there. Join the conversation. Upload. Be inspired. Get involved.

Multi-Screen Pathways Reveal New Opportunities

in Advertising, Browsers, Creativity, innovation, Internet, Just for fun, Mobile, Online, Social Media, Technology, Television, Uncategorized No Comments

If you have read my previous posts on how we are gradually switching our attention to multiple screens, the latest research study coming out of Microsoft confirms that we are indeed on our way there. According to Microsoft Advertising and Flamingo Research, multi-screen pathways reveal new opportunities for marketers to reach and engage consumers. The 41 page research study goes into great detail on how consumers attentions are switching to the “always-on” screen by combining devices in new ways to multi-task. By doing this we can amplify experience, share, connect, browse, engage, and be more efficient. “Understanding the motivations behind these behaviors can help marketers gain digital advantage through authentic interaction with customers under a new set of ‘always-on’ rules.”

Below are some of the key takeaways from the study. There are four pathways of multi-screening behavior, which include Content Grazing, Investigative Spider-Webbing, Social Spider Webbing, and Quantum that are explained below:

1. Content Grazing is the most common of the pathways and is described as when consumers use two or more screens simultaneously to access separate or unrelated content.

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2. Investigative Spider-Webbing is the simultaneous journey where consumers view related content on two or more devices at the same time. For example; watching “The Walking Dead” and engaging with the “Story Sync” feature of the show on your tablet.

Spiderweb

3. Social Spider-Webbing is the same as Investigative Spider-Webbing, but focused on sharing and connecting. For example; taking a picture with your phone, but sharing it on your tablet because all your photo editing apps are on your tablet.

social sharing

4. Quantum consumers start an activity on one screen and continue it on another. Efficiency is the main factor for these consumers, such as working, shopping, or completing tasks.

quantum

One other key takeaway from the study explains how multi-screening consumers are more open to the idea of the right kind of advertising. 74% of the people they questioned agreed that “Advertising can be helpful in telling me about new products or brands that might interest me,” while 87% of consumers agree that “It’s great that I can check out products or brands that interest me whenever or wherever I see them.”

I really suggest if you have some spare time to read through the entire study, which can be downloaded HERE. This study definitely sheds more light that the future of advertising is constantly evolving and taking new shapes by studying peoples content behavior, habits, and overall reception of products.

Pepsi MAX and Jeff Gordon Pull Off Test Drive Prank

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Last week Pepsi MAX posted their newest commercial with Jeff Gordon. Instantly going viral with over 25 million views on YouTube, Jeff Gordon pulls off the ultimate prank. Disguising himself as an average Joe who is not very familiar with cars, Jeff lures in an unsuspecting salesman for the ride of his life. For those who don’t know, Jeff Gordon is a professional NASCAR driver. This short 4 minute video really takes you for a ride, and gives you a real appreciation for Pepsi MAX to have pulled this off. These types of branded story telling really gives the viewer an emotional reaction, which I think is the best way to create brand equity.

This isn’t the first time Pepsi MAX has pulled off a branded prank. Last year they got NBA star Kyrie Irving to play the role of an old man past his prime, but throughout the game gradually getting better and better. Watch below!

Not So Master-ful

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Due to my intrigue and love for Philip Seymour Hoffman and as a post-mortem Oscars tribute, I recently made the decision to rent The Master on demand. After all, two hours rife with PSH and Amy Adams couldn’t possibly be anything but fantastic, right? The Master is their second of two films together, the first being the deeply philosophical and dry-humor infused Doubt. Doubt was two hours of pure on-screen brilliance and not attributed solely to its all-star Meryl-inclusive cast. The film was thought-provoking, raw and real. It penetrated the core of the best of us, making us ponder the essence of the most seemingly mundane human emotions. We left Doubt questioning what was truth and what was fiction, finding ourselves stuck in the mental space in between. It had that tangible intensity that gives dramatic films their heart.
The Master, on the other hand, embodied nearly none of the aforementioned qualities. While I can partially appreciate what the film set out to accomplish, when the final credits rolled, I was left not so much in the space between fact and fiction but instead at the crossroads of confusion and annoyance. Joaquin Phoenix plays Freddie Quell, an alcoholic World War II veteran who we watch morph from fragile at the film’s inception to completely broken. During his nearly two hour demise, we watch as Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s preacher/motivational speaker Lancaster Dodd attempts to stop him from crumbling. In scene after scene, we hear Hoffman hypnotizing and preaching to Phoenix as well as  other groups of people on the likes of free will, attempting to heal their deepest set problems and dry the tears of their damaged souls. I’ll be honest, there were times during this film when I was not sure whether I was watching a documentary on Scientology, witchcraft, or any of several other illegal religious practices. Perhaps the most intense scene came when Dodd (Hoffman) hurled a rapid-fire sequence of personal inquisitions at Freddie, mandating that he not blink all the while. It was a clear attempt on his part at hypnosis but which came across more like an exorcism to the common viewer. By the time the strangely intense scene came to a close, I was completely exhausted. And not in a good way.
I really cannot concisely sum up an overall take on the film in my usual last witty sentence or two…it was simply too out of the ordinary to do so. What I will say is this — if you are in the mood to be confused, stupefied, and mildly disturbed all at the same time, The Master is definitely for you. Seriously, go run and rent it right now. If you’re not, though, I would advise that you steer clear of this adeptly-cast-but-poorly-done docudrama. All that said, I am cutting PSH his losses on this one and will optimistically wait for his next sure bet…no doubt.

Innovid Aims to Make Multiplatform Interactive Video Ads

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Our friends at Innovid are making big moves in the online video ad space. If you haven’t heard, earlier this year they announced a partnership with Flingo to make traditional video advertising more interactive.

Flingo utilizes a platform called Samba, which allows users to connect their TV’s and mobile devices through automatic content recognition. ACR is pretty cool because it allows the user to be simultaneously targeted through the users TV and mobile device. Say you’re viewing a commercial on a TV network and playing with your iPad, which most of us do anyway. If I am in an ACR supported app, it will recognize the TV commercial and then I can be served a display/interactive complementary ad on my iPad.

As we all know, we are consuming more and more content through different devices. Streaming video has expanded to connected TVs, video game consoles, tablets, phones, and Smart TV interfaces, which all have different ad-serving capabilities. Innovid aims to capture the video ad market for all these cross-platform video platforms by using this ACR technology. This will create scale, and will allow advertisers to create interactive experiences that run alongside our streaming content. They have managed to raise $11 million in funding to make this all happen.

To read more about Innovid’s plan on the matter, click here and to get a better understanding about their partnership with Flingo, click here.

Google Glass

in innovation, Technology, Uncategorized, Video No Comments

Just take a look at how awesome this is!

OUYA Brings Video Games Back To The TV

in Creativity, Games, Gaming, innovation, Technology, Uncategorized No Comments

OUYA is bringing the fun and excitement of video games back to the TV. Most of my generation grew up playing on a console, whether it be Nintendo, Xbox, or PlayStation. In the past couple of years we have seen a switch from console to mobile devices. Smartphone, tablet, and social games have been a huge focus for developers to create today’s top titles. OUYA is now bringing an affordable Android based TV video game console to the market, and the best part about it is the games are all FREE!

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The fundraising platform for creative tech projects, Kickstarter, helped OUYA raise over $8.5 million. They invited developers to experiment, tweak, and create new ways to make the console better. Don’t feel like waiting 5+ years for the new Xbox/PlayStation and paying $500+ for it? They recently pledged to release a new refresh of the console every year, and it is available to buy for $99 in top retail stores. Don’t feel like paying $60 for a new title game? OUYA offers free games to all users including shooters, RPG’s, and classic arcade games.

OUYA is truly a gamers console.

Check out more HERE!

An Apple is Still an Apple

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As a self-proclaimed techie, I’ve been taking notice recently of a fair share of “Apple: the new uncool”- esque articles. Just this morning I came across a post on a tech site that will go unnamed entitled “Your Grandpa’s iPhone”.  While I tend to believe consumer reports and internally position CNET as the technology guru, I am sorry but I’m just not buying this anti-Apple hype.
I would be remiss to deny the fact that the absence of Steve Jobs is both tangible and apparent. It is. I tend to feel that the world at large no longer gleans that all-encompassing sense of innovative brilliance from today’s Apple as they did from Jobs’ Apple. While iPhones and iPads under the reign of Tim Cook appear the same on the surface as they did when released during Jobs’ era, I think consumers have lost that feeling of magical optimism of years passed. The tech sphere was a different place when Steve Jobs inhabitted it.  No matter how advanced the current generation of iPhones was, consumers knew that the subsequent generation would be just that much more awesome, that much thinner and lighter, and would provide that surprise “it” factor no one saw coming.
The above being said, much of the population does still own iPhones. They are still partial to iOS over Android’s constantly evolving, name-changing Jellybean/Ice Cream Sandwich operating systems. (I’m sorry but are childhood favorite desserts really the best Android could do on that?) Apple, from my perspective, still offers the sleekest, cleanest, and yes, most user-friendly smartphone platform in the market, and clearly a large proportion of the smartphone consumer base concurs.  While no longer a twenty-something myself, which took me quite a while to embrace, I do still consider myself on the semi-cutting edge of technological advances. I consistently visit CNET, Engadget and countless user Apple forums on a weekly, if not daily, basis. I am typically abreast of upcoming product innovations or releases before they occur and, if I had to answer a focus group multiple-choice question, would place myself in the “People come to me for tech advice” bucket. The knowledge aforementioned in hand combined with the advantage of living in a top United States urban DMA, I do not understand nor believe the hullabaloo over Apple’s “downward-spiraling” market share.
No less than 50% of fellow Manhattan dwellers I observe on a daily basis are touting around an iPhone 4 or 5…and I pay attention. Facts are facts. While I do take note of the occasional much-too-large -to-be-practical Galaxy Note, these are pretty few and far between. The headphones stemming from most hoods I’ve seen this winter tout the signature Apple on-wire remote, and I am not convinced all these headphone-wearing folks purchased them separately from an Android. Where the smartphone market lands in coming years of course remains to be seen and I will be attentively watching. But for now, I think I will mentally abandon the constantly cropping-up “Android as leader” gospel. Now please excuse me while I power off and upgrade to iOS 6.

Resolutions Shmesolutions

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New Years is fun. I love getting dressed up in sparkly outfits, imbibing in bubbly cocktails in champagne glasses while donning an absurdly ugly hat with the year prominently written in silver glitter. There’s nothing better than kicking off a new year with a festive, friend-filled evening and a subsequent blank slate (well maybe a few things but I like to be absolute in my written assertions). But I digress. What I in fact do not enjoy annually about New Years is the widely accepted human practice of making resolutions for the coming 365 days. I find the whole idea to be idealistic but quite frankly more so than that, lazy.
Life exists for 365 days year after year, and I believe it should be lived the way we aspire to live on every one of those days. Although New Years Eve is enjoyable and the notion of receiving a blank slate is somehow encouragingly uplifting, that in no way gives us the privelage of being lazy during the rest of the year.  Bad things happen every day, cutting lives short, inflicting life-altering incidents on the most unknowing of us. One day, everything could change for any of us at any time. God forbid this ever occur, however I would hate to look up one day wishing I had run that 5K and knowing I no longer could, dreaming of that trip to Hawaii I never took, only to try to convince myself that I had “saved it for a resolution one year.” To those who insist on living a less-than life for most of the year sans a few weeks, I wish you the courage to (at the risk of sounding like Oprah) live your best life more  consistently. Resolutions may seem grand on January 1st, but life itself gets no do-overs so live it now and live it well.

Tis the Season…Again!

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Well well well, here we are again. Back in the joyful delight of holiday season in media. Cookies abound when we are not remotely hungry, drinks flow when we feel no trace of thirst, iTunes gift cards rain from the sky. It’s a good life as an overgrown college kid in the fun-filled place we call media this time of year. I love the holiday time – even though it happens each and every year, there really is always something seemingly fresh and new about the season despite how many times I have lived through it. It feels somehow innocent and childlike – a chocolate kiss has never tasted better than when wrapped in green foil taped to a red Seasons Greetings card. Every time I see the dancing Hershey Kisses commercial on TV, try as I might to feel cynical about the worn out longevity of the TV spot, it never fails to warm my heart.  So said the nice Jewish girl from Chicago. Hypocritical as it may seem for me to sit here waxing about the joyfulness of the Xmas season, I don’t see it that way. To me, the season is not so much infiltrated with religion as it is permeated with fun that crosses all boundaries. It is a particular breed of fun: fun for the human spirit. And, of course, I would be remiss to omit the obvious…the free swag doesn’t hurt either. Thanks, media, for keeping me young, fresh, and always ready to embrace the holiday spirit.  Cheers and happy holidays!

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