We didn't see the dancing hotdog on Snapchat until this last weekend, and we've been having fun with it ever since (see this YouTuber's video above to see what it looks like). Simple and subversive at the same time.
Longtime readers know we're huge fans of Coca-Cola marketing (though we're NOT happy to hear Coke Zero is getting replaced by Coke Zero Sugar ... but we digress).
Check out this new website, where you can enter a friend's first name and send a personalized video to them. Coke created 1,000 custom videos for the effort, from Ashley to Abdullatif and beyond. There's even a song if they haven't added a name you're looking for yet.
We know "Open Happiness" is long gone, but this would have fit perfectly.
As goes Whole Foods, so goes the future of grocery stores?
A lot has been made of Amazon's recent announcement that it will acquire Whole Foods for a whopping $13.7 billion (insert your own "Whole Paycheck" joke here).
Many have speculated the brand will continue to operate as it has, with enhanced pre-ordering and home delivery. But Amazon may have something far bigger in mind.
As Business Insider recently pointed out, Amazon released a video back in December on a concept it calls 'Amazon Go'.
Here, shoppers use an Amazon Go app to pre-order items in a virtual cart. When they get to the store, they simply walk in, scan the app at a turnstile, pick up the items they want, and walk out the door, without ever digging for cash, writing a check, swiping a card—or ever standing in line.
Using what Amazon calls "Just Walk Out" technology, Amazon Go leverages "deep learning algorithms, computer vision and sensor fusion" to keep track of what you pick up in-store. It'll even know if you put something back, or picked up additional items, and update your order. Everything's automatically charged to your account when you walk out the door.
It's a fascinating and compelling vision. It's also one shared by many others, of course.
It's been well over a decade since I started chatting with Seth Godin, Tom Nicholson and others about the concept—and how elements of it have already been applied for brands such as Prada and Tesco—as showcased in my books, The On-Demand Brand and Branding Unbound.
What I think is especially elegant about Amazon's concept is that it at least appears to remove the need for things like RFID tags to be applied at the item level, and for readers to be set up throughout the store—something that has so far proven costly and impractical. At least from this video, the technology appears to be completely invisible to the customer. The first Go location opened for Amazon employees in Seattle earlier this year.
It'll be a blast to see how the concept develops, and what role if any Whole Foods ultimately plays in its evolution.
However things play out there, it's hard to imagine some version of this concept is not just the future of Whole Foods or even just the grocery category.
KLM Airlines is thinking beyond the flight to help visitors to Amsterdam make their way around town.
Its new audio-enabled, location-aware "Care Tag" offers audio tips on things to see and do, based on where you are at any time. What's interesting is it consists of a speaker and an offline GPS module, so there's no telephony or Internet connection required. The voices even come from KLM crew members.
"At KLM we always go the extra mile to give you the best personal service during your flight," the airline says on a special site set up to promote the tags. "And now we are also looking after you during your stay. With the Care Tag, it feels like our crew is always with you to help you around."
Indeed, it's a perfect example of a travel brand using digital, data-based technology to extend the brand experience in a unique and compelling way.
Not exactly turning turning swords into plowshares, but perhaps it's even better.
The Humanium Initiative recycles metal from illegal weapons busts and forfeiting programs and then makes it available for commercial production by brands. As FastCompany reports, the idea is to make your products "a symbolic result of a less violent world."
Small wonder it won the Innovation Lions Grand Prix at this year's Cannes Lions Festival.
We're still loving "Fearless Girl"—the diminutive statue created by State Street Investors as part of a special fund for women leaders in honor of International Women's Day. It's great to see she won so many accolades at Cannes this year. Congrats to everyone behind #Fearlessgirl.