And we aren't just talking photos from say, Instagram, here - it could be a message from a friend, a fun quote, a comic strip, today's weather - or really anything at all.
It's a cool concept called a Paulig Muki (by way of Creativity). And it's an experiment from TBWA for Helsinki coffee brand Paulig that uses heat from coffee and a mobile app to produce a picture on the side of the mug.
Making each new cup of Joe a new experience. Which is sure to bring a smile to your mug - or something else entirely - every single morning.
Call it "subli-motion" - "subliminal emotion" - designed to create "theater of the senses" at one of the world's most expensive restaurants.
PSFK had a cool piece today on how Hard Rock Ibiza is using responsive projection mapping to enhance the dining experience at the intersection of gastronomy and technology. (For a peak at what we recently did with the out-of-doors for attendees to a brand event, watch this.)
If this is what we can achieve today - albeit at a $2,000-a-meal restaurant - just think how brands will shape the environments and experiences of tomorrow. Key point: It's all happening in the physical world, without a consumer mobile device in sight.
GEN WOW readers may recall my recent interview with James McKinney, CEO of SimpleDeal - which looks to be a promising new hyper-local mobile app that connects restaurants with customers at the point of maximum interest.
Unlike apps for setting reservations, receiving daily deals, pre-ordering meals and so on, SimpleDeal acts as a kind of digital wingman, enabling passersby to point their mobile phones at a restaurant and see the menu, find out about its offerings, review any special deals and make a dining decision.
What sets SimpleDeal apart is that it's run for the restaurant. There are no Yelp-style reviews. The restaurant gets the stage, and they can use it to sell you on coming in and having a great meal - right now.
When McKinney and I spoke, SimpleApp had launched in Long Beach, CA - and he started to lay out expansion plans into Orange County. And now, the company is launching an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for the effort. And he's framing the story as something very much in the interest of the restaurant industry - and as a kind of counterattack against the daily deals industry.
Watch the video above and take a look at the Indiegogo page. And listen the my interview with McKinney, which I'm re-posting here.
If you're like me, you'll find yourself rooting for SimpleDeal's success.
But what's your view? A tasty new app that finally puts digital technology in the hands of restaurants?
Or so ambitious, it's biting off more than it can chew?
If it's the former - here's your chance to get in on the ground floor - and help save the restaurant industry while you're at it.
INTERVIEW: JAMES MCKINNEY, CEO OF SIMPLEDEAL: A Restaurateur's Best Friend (Pt 1)
Will "Dove: Patches" result in the first real blemish for the "Campaign for Real Beauty"?
Longtime readers know I'm a big fan of the decade-long campaign, having written extensively about the program's efforts to boost women's self-esteem and perceptions of beauty in my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND.
And I frequently cover updates to the campaign here at GEN WOW – most recently with the outstanding "Beauty Sketches" effort.
But while I know "Real Beauty" has always had detractors, "Patches" is the first time I've actually seen press coverage of a blowback.
The video generated a lot of attention last week for essentially pranking women into believing they were participants in a new research study for a new "beauty patch" that was "developed to enhance the way women perceive their own beauty."
Yes, it really does sound that ridiculous.
But the women featured in the video bought in, and we get to see how their perceptions change while wearing the patch – only to find out that it's a placebo.
As is often the case, the video (from Ogilvy) hits you squarely between the eyes with a poignant reveal - and immediately generated 15 million views across 65 countries.
So why the fallout over a fake patch?
According to Advertising Age, many commentators in both mainstream and social media complained that this particular installment seemed to be more about promoting Dove than women's self-esteem. New York Magazine called it "garbage." And Gawker found more colorful language for it.
I personally didn't find the video too self-serving. In fact, if anything, this is once again the unexpected example of a beauty brand pointing out how preposterous it is to depend on beauty products to make you beautiful.
Real beauty, as the campaign drives home time and again, comes from inside - not a bottle (or a patch). Which is, you have to admit, as counter-intuitive a message as any to come from a brand trying to sell you beauty products.
If I have a problem with the video, it's only in how far-fetched the faux patch scenario is on its face - which for me does indeed call to mind New York Magazine's particular choice of descriptors.
But has Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" really jumped the shark?
Hardly. As Ad Age points out, for all the buzz about negative perceptions, 91% to 92% of social media sentiment is positive.
Haters gonna hate, as they say. But as we've seen in many high-profile social media storms over supposed brand missteps, the snarkier segment of the social media echo chamber may be especially vocal - but that doesn't mean it's persuasive.
So what's your view of "Dove: Patches"?
An unbecoming setup that ends with a beautiful message?
Okay, so it's a little gimmicky, but this SELFIE Mirror - "Self Enhancing Live Feed Image Engine" from iStrategy Labs, ostensibly enables the perfect, hands-free selfie every time.
Though the practical applications for most consumers may be a bit of a head scratcher, I can imagine this kind of technology built into clothing store images similar to those developed by To Nicholson at Nicholson NY. This would enable social shopping experiences where users could solicit real-time feedback on whether an outfit is say, "fly" or "forgettaboutit" from their extended social networks.
And either way, it's cool and kind of fun - so kudos to the team behind it.
Somebody at Hootsuite really loves "Game of Thrones" (and really, who doesn't?).
Just in time for last night's Season 4 premier, Hootsuite has put out this video of the show's opening sequence re-imagined as the battle between House Facebook, House Twitter and so on, by way of Mashable. I just wish it had the actual show theme music.
You just know somebody's going to do this to the 2016 presidential campaign - especially if Hilary and Jeb both run.