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GEN WOW AWARDS: Digital Dozen Ad Tech Innovations 2014 (Video)

Some of our favorite digital marketing innovations from the year just past, from the whimsical to the sublime.

PAULIG MUKI: MUG SHOTS

This coffee mug that uses heat from coffee to produce pictures, messages, quotes, comic strips or even today's weather, on a screen embedded in the cup, when hot drinks are poured.

SELFIE MIRROR: PERFECT HANDS-FREE PHOTOS EVERY TIME

SELFIE in this case stands for "Self Enhancing Live Feed Image Engine." 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 Tom 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.

APOTEK: SUBWAY AD DISPLAY IS A HAIR-RAISING EXPERIENCE

It's not every day a hair care ad blows you away. This digital signage from Apotek in Sweden senses incoming trains at this Stockholm subway station, and makes the poster model's hair react with dramatic flourish.

3D PRINTING CLOTHES & FURNITURE

3D printing technology has me wondering about what constitutes a "brand" in categories seen for so long now as immune to digital media disruption: Fashion and furniture.  First up, news that a company called Electroloom hopes to launch ready-to-wear clothes that you could print from your 3D printer at home. And second, a look at what happens when this technology eventually results in home 3D printers (or even "bays") capable of printing out furniture.

BRITISH AIRWAYS: MAGIC BILLBOARD

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? ... oh wait, it is a plane. Flight 186 from New York, in fact. This effort from OgilvyOne and Storm won the Direct Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival for the effective use of ground-breaking technology matched with a brilliant idea.

OREO 3D PRINTED COOKIE VENDING MACHINE

And then there's 3D-printed munchies. Oreo's experimental "Oreo Trending Vending Machine" uses 3D printing technology to print out cookies. The initiative comes via a partnership with Twitter that includes "trending flavors" based on trending social conversations, which customers can then select to watch their cookies being built. It sounds like it takes about two minutes - which seems like a long time wait - but hopefully novelty will trump timeliness in this case.

OSCAR-MAYER: BACON-SCENTED ALARM CLOCK

Yes, it's a thing. Oscar Mayer's new "Wake Up & Smell the Bacon" device plugs into your iPhone so that when the alarm goes off, you bask in the smell and sound of sizzling bacon. Fun, effective and cruel, all at the same time.

COCA-COLA: 'FAIR PLAY'

You have to love the latest installment of Coca-Cola's Happiness Campaign—involving two vending machines on opposite sides of a sports stadium, where you can't get a Coke for yourself. But you can give one to a fan of the opposing team. Genius.

FELT: IPAD APP THAT LETS YOU SEND HANDWRITTEN CARDS BY MAIL

THIS new app integrates digital and physical worlds with handwritten notes you can send via snail mail.
Let's face it, it's print and snail mail when you want to send the very best, Hallmark or otherwise. Felt, the company behind this app, understands this - and looks to have delivered a very nice app just in time for this last holiday season. How might your brand use digital to pay off in physical?

AR+INFRARED = NEW INTERFACE FOR WEARABLES

I'm digging this vision video from augmented reality player Metaio, which foresees a world where thermal heat scanning wearables enable users turn any surface into an interactive touch screen interface. Think of the implications for communications, and then think further. Gaming, mixed reality movies and shows, layered brand experiences. Entire environments and cross-reality social media, activated and annotated by a simple touch. How can your brand lead the way?

SEPHORA: 3D AUGMENTED REALITY MAKEUP MIRROR

Here's looking at you - in a whole new way. Sephora's Milan store has a new AR mirror that enables shoppers to try on makeup without applying anything. Live AR like this represents a compelling application of AR at retail - empowering the consumer to do what previously would have take a lot of time and tissues to even attempt. The tech, from ModiFace, looks to work quite well. For many other applications, be sure to pick up a copy of my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND.

DISPLAY MAPPER: 3D PROJECTION MAPPING FOR IN-STORE DISPLAYS

Called a MirrorBox, this unit from DisplayMapper is billed as the "world's first" projection-mapped display unit for retail. Best of all - it works in daylight. And content updates are managed through a cloud-based interface. Perfect for many lifestyle goods brands.

Without a doubt, digital is the ultimate sandbox. If you can dream it, you can do it. What will your brand do with ad-tech in 2015? And most important of all, how might this kind of ad-tech innovation reshape not just your marketing, but your business model in the decade ahead?

 

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