Forgive the moment of self indulgence, but this is turning into a fun week around here.
First, my new book is out this week.
I say that (very) loosely because this time out, I was part of a team with Luke Sullivan ("Hey Whipple, Squeeze This"), Bruce Bendinger ("Copy Workshop") and an army of others, with each of us contributing a chapter on a different topic related to helping young people launch careers in advertising, marketing, branding and more.
Special thanks to publisher Bendinger and Laurence Minsky, associate professor at Columbia College Chicago, for bringing us all together for the project.
To top it off, I opened up the paper today to read congratulations to myself and other finalists for the Sage Group/Wall Street Journal's "Marketers That Matter" for 2013.
As they say, it's an honor to be nominated among a list that includes Julie Washington, SVP/Chief Brand Officer for Jamba Juice; Laura Fay, VP Integrated Campaigns and Strategy for Cisco; Meredith Hoffer, Director of Marketing for Google; Sandra Lopez, Marketing Strategy Director, New Business, for Intel – and many others.
Okay, so it's not very logical - but it's still a fun way to promote "Star Trek: Into Darkness."
I'm not sure how many people would have recognized it beyond the film's core fanbase - which, let's face it, wouldn't miss this movie for any number of worlds. Then again, it never hurts to get them amped up ahead of time - and this effort by Ars Electronica FutureLab and Ascending Technologies is certainly a bright idea to promote the film and show off some way cool helidrones.
A famed breakfast brand is using AR to live up to its magical moniker.
Lucky Charms has launched an augmented reality campaign that centers on a new "Chase the Charms" mobile app that lets you scan specially marked boxes in search of 8 lucky charms that lead to a very real pot of gold.
I don't know how many grade schoolers will have the smart phone to do this. But munchie-crazed teens and twentysomethings are going to find this is worth its weight in well, you get the picture.
Check out the trailer above - and read more about the campaign here.
Don't look now, but Dove may be undoing all your Photoshop work.
As part of its long-running "Campaign for Real Beauty," the brand has launched a nicely-subversive new branded Photoshop action that secretly reverts your images back to their original state.
Which means all the baggy eyes, moles and muffin tops you spent so long "airbrushing" away suddenly reappear, returning your models to their true selves – wrinkles and all. (Designers, don't worry: It's easily undone.)
"Don't manipulate our perceptions of real beauty," admonishes an advertisement for the effort (from Ogilvy Toronto) which is aimed at "shaming the body-shamers," as Co.Create recently put it.
In my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, I take an in-depth look at this venerable campaign and its history of innovative marketing initiatives, digital and otherwise. It isn't every day, after all, that you see massive global campaigns aimed at seamlessly pitching Dove products like Firming Cream and Exfoliating Body Wash - while promoting healthy body image and encouraging girls and women to eschew beauty industry stereotypes.
Among my favorites: Times Square billboards that let passersby vote on whether a model is "fat or fabulous," "wrinkled or wonderful," and "oversized or outstanding" via mobile voting. And, more recently, an initiative that enabled women to switch out Facebook ads that are downers (beauty ads that feature negative or unrealistic visuals) with uplifting ads that encourage women to define their own ideal of beauty.
It was all enough to see the campaign become the first ever to win both the TV and cyber Grand Prix Awards at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.
(You can listen to my interview with Unilever's then-SVP of Global Media, Laura Klauberg - about the astonishing results the campaign has been generating, and how digital in general, and social media, online video and mobile, in particular, have reshaped the way Unilever markets its personal care brands – here)
Until now, the campaign has been aimed squarely at end-users who must embrace or reject harmful beauty stereotypes. I believe this is the first element to target those who craft images that can warp our perceptions of beauty. The action was surreptitiously placed on design tool sites as a free download, without mention of its true purpose. Which could be a little cruel. But for many, the turnabout may be very fair play, indeed.
Google and Adidas teamed up to develop the "Talking Shoe," which made it's debut at SXSW this week.
According to reports, these shoes were made for talking - and that's just what they do, tracking your speed and performance - and proffering its share of smack talk or props depending on how you're doing. It even syncs with your mobile phone to provide words of encouragement, advice and more. All of which is sharable on our soc nets, of course.
Don't go bugging Zappos just yet - the shoes aren't for sale. It's all part of Google's "Art, Copy & Code Initiative (the whole Project Re:Brief thing). But the tech could go open source, so you never know.
You have to love this interactive display, which enables passersby to race one of three finely detailed miniature Audis using a iPad to demonstrate just how well Audi hugs the road (positioning undercut, unfortunately, by its share of wipeouts) - and memorialized by Facebook shares of personal video.
As Adverblog points out, the fun is in the details: Pay special attention to the miniature roadside billboard that reads "BMWho?"
Get the full scoop (including a great 15-minute making-of documentary), here.
Wow this video is tough to watch - but the innovation behind it is fun.
Domino's Japan has launched an iPhone app featuring Hatsune Miku, a hugely popular, yet completely make-believe, virtual music star.
Via the app, users can place their pizza orders directly from Miku, check order status in real time, review Miku-inspired uniform designs created by the Domino's staff, shoot their own photo ops with Miku, and much more.
But the best feature comes once your pizza is delivered: Point your phone at the box and enjoy a special augmented reality performance from Miku, right on the box itself.
In my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, I look at Domino's long history of innovaton - including the ability to order pizza right through TiVo, a personal favorite.
While this particular AR initiative is uniquely appealing to its market, you an see how similar experiences could be deployed here.
In fact, as I write in the book, Papa John's has already done it: The brand recently affixed AR marketers on 30 million pizza boxes, enabling users to hold the boxes up to their webcams and use their keypads to drive an animated 1972 Camaro to commermorate the car CEO John Schnatter sold in 1984 to raise money to open his first pizza parlor.
Okay, it's not Hatsune Miku.
But it's a start.
Read more about Domino Japan's AR experience here.
Adweek has this great case study on how French televison network NT1 used social to promote the premiere of "Walking Dead" in a tough market for crazy-ass TV shows (video above).
The effort, from an agency called Darewin, involved a #WalkingDeadNT1 hashtag that people were advised against using. To which thousands promptly did just that, subsequently finding themslves attacked by zombies via Twitter, Facebook and blogs.
According to Adweek, this er, viral campaign infected 30,000 users in under two weeks, with 550,000 exposures tallied.
Then again, are tweets like "Aaaargh" any more brain dead than most of the other posts you read these days?
But what's your view: Is this one lively campaign - or is it DOA?
It may come as a complete shock to you, but Microsoft's vision for the future involves a lot of Microsoft products.
According to a video released by Microsoft's Envisioning Center this last Friday, our home and work lives will indeed be Surface deep - with touchscreen and even voice-activated walls and appliances that interconnect and hopefully never break because it'll be a bitch getting them fixed.
I have no doubt that the future will looks something like this video because it pretty much looks like today, only writ larger. Yes, grandma will read stories to her grand kids from thousand of miles away - something that she can already do via Skype. And yes, Dad will pull up recipes while he cooks the family a meal - something many of us do every day on our iPads.
(Sidenote: Why do so many of these devices have to be tapped on another to send content to it? In the wireless future, one would assume all of this content is stored and accessible via the cloud on all devices in real-time)
But all of that aside, the future is quickly taking shape and cool as all this is, I ask a related question: If this is how we'll all interact with each other and the world, how will you as a marketer take advantage of it to promote your company's products and services via a new generation of digital home/work/life devices?
How will you use these new touch- and voice-enabled technologies to create experiences instead of just messages about your brand?
And how will your social media strategies evolve as social media is less and less posts on a virtual wall and more and more digital post-its on a real one?
Tomorrow's waiting - better get cracking.
On second thought, let's use a different word. All these big, expensive, built-in touchscreens are making me nervous.