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5 Top Trends in Mobile Marketing 2013

MobileMobile marketing is going to make some major moves in 2013 - just not how most imagine.

Following up on our list of Top 10 Mobile Marketing Initiatives of 2012, it's time to look at some trends we'll see emerge and/or evolve in the year ahead. 

Among the most prominent (not necessarily in this order):

5. Mobile Advertising Picks Up Speed (For A Time)

According to Forrester Research, mobile ad spend will boom next year - to $15 billion. Why? Because consumers now spend 10% of their media consumption time on mobile devices, yet mobile attracts less than 10% of ad dollars. The firm reasons that the old school Internet's ad growth from 8% of spend to 22% of spend means mobile must follow course (even though marketers get less and less from that increased Internet spend). But, the firm says, even a small step toward closing the gap will mean big dollars for this medium.

I'm not completely convinced. As a marketer, I find mobile advertising a bore (even some of the newer, much hyped expandable ad units). As a consumer, I find it all a snooze fest.

Mobile's far more powerful than just trying to replicate ad models from the old school Internet and slapping them on a small screen of a phone, or even the larger screen of a tablet. But there's just too much potential revenues at stake so, in 2013 at least, mobile advertising will be a hot topic. Until it's someday not (or is at least recognized as one small, nearly insignificant sliver of the amazing things you can do with mobile). But as Ad Age points out today, 38% of clickthroughs in mobile are from fat, clumsy thumbs.

The pub goes onto talk about some ways mobile video and native mobile ads within apps like Foursquare may see success. But in my view, Coca-Cola's Re:Brief integrated campaign is probably the best example of mobile advertising combining with social & traditional media to work cohesively in a compelling manner.

And, as I write in my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, using mobile to not just promote but enhance your product - turn it into a mobile service, ala Nike+ and other successful initiatives - is what will define winners and losers in many categories next year and in the decade ahead.

4. QR Code Stores Proliferate (Just Not in The US)

QR code stores in subways and elsewhere seem to have been the surprise hits of 2012, and could seriously take off in 2013. According to shop2mobi, 300 of these virtual stores launched last year - and 2,000 have already been planned for the next 12 months. Still, while these are huge in South Korea, China, Germany and elsewhere, QR codes themselves still mostly elicit quizzical looks from consumers, when they generate any notice at all. I could easily see commuters in New York or San Francisco taking advantage of these kinds of offerings. But it may be a while before they stand any chance in most of the US - and by the time that happens, we'll probably be onto whatever will replace QR codes next.

3. Mobile CRM Gains Strength As Transaction Capabilities Advance

Here's a winner: Use of mobile for customer loyalty programs like Starbucks'. Look for more brands to move beyond just using mobile to replenish cards to having mobile become the entire platform for loyalty. Look for transaction capabilities to advance, and adoption rates to follow suit.

2. More Brands Make the Mobile + Social + Local Connection

The big trend here is that more brands will stop viewing mobile and social as (just) cool new ways to connect with consumers, and start viewing these channels as cool new ways for brands to enable consumers to connect with one another - moderated and empowered by the brand.

In my piece the other day on social media trends for 2013, I point to early examples of this, including Vail Resort's Epic Mix app, which connects real friends in the real world in a highly social, physical world brand experience.

This past year, one look only at Heineken's personalized concert QR codes to see how ad hoc mobile + social + local branded experiences can take shape.

Look for more of this in the year ahead (especially as it pertains to things like social television viewing) - along with a new syllable, as we move from SoLoMo to SoLoMoCo with the addition of Co, which stands for Commerce. In a mobile roundtable I hosted this last August, SAP CMO Jonathan Becher and I discuss what this new dynamic might mean to brand marketers and retailers alike in the year ahead. 

 1. Augmented Reality Gets Really Cool

One look at my list of Top 10 Augmented Reality Initiatives 2012, and it's clear that AR - while quite gimmicky today - holds great promise for brand experiences via mobile and elsewhere. One of my favorite things about mobile AR is that it gets to the heart of the mobile ad debate.

In my view, mobile is far more powerful as an activation mechanism for communications we experience in other media - in print, television, radio, direct mail, outdoor and so on - than it is as an ad platform in and of itself. Mobile AR is an experience activated by the consumer, at his or her own initiative, at the point of communications impression. And it delivers something that literally can't be achieved in any other medium.

Not that many consumers are going to go download an AR app and start using it in 2013. But as standards emerge, these kinds of brand experiences will become more common - and will make up some of the cooler components of integrated campaigns in the year ahead.

For more on these and other digital marketing trends, be sure to pick up a copy of my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND.

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BMW Projection Turns Today's Cars Into Future Cars (Video)


Okay, we have to add this to our list of top projection promos for 2012 - a BMW projection that digitally turns passing cars into the all-electric BMW i3 and other concept vehicles in real time.

Super cool and perfectly on-brand.

Hat tip to my friend Paul Flannigan for the find.

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5 Top Trends in Social Media 2013

Social_mediaNow that our "Top 10" lists for 2012 are out, we're turning our attention to top trends to watch in 2013.

First up: Five big trends to look for in the world of social media marketing.

5. Social Gets More Physical

In the year ahead, look for an increasing number of social initiatives to move away from pure-play digital to the physical world. Coca-Cola has been a leader in this, with efforts like the Happiness Truck and Happiness Vending Machines, which engaged consumers in the physical world, and helped those consumers propagate the experience via digital.

You also saw Microsoft use branded mobile game apps like "Dance Cam" to engage in the physical world by enabling folks to create dance videos on their mobile phones and then share them.

And ad hoc physical world social networks will become commonplace. Look at efforts like Heineken's personalized QR codes for music festivals, where users can create their own customized QR code stickers that other attendees can scan to spark up conversation.

Factor in augmented reality, and "liking" things in the physical world will take on all-new forms.

In a world gone mobile, having a desktop presence or experience becomes increasingly irrelevant.

4. 'Presence' Takes A Backseat to Campaigns

As I write in my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, the first question to ask about social media is not "how?" It's "why?" When you think in terms of objectives, you begin to see the value of augmenting social "presence" - that much vaunted, ongoing conversation with consumers - with specific, short term and very actionable campaigns.

Look at Mercedes' "You Drive," a TV campaign that viewers could "drive" via Twitter. Or Mustang's "Dream Mustang" social media street fight. And of course, Coca-Cola's live social Super Bowl experience - in which the brand's popular polar bears comment on the game and ad bowl commercials in real time.

These are short-term efforts designed to engage consumers for a specific amount of time, around a specific promotion. Look for more of that in 2013, especially in the form of games. 

3. Brands Bash Social Media

We're all finding ourselves starting to unfriend "friends" who aren't really, well, friends in an effort to get as authentic in our online relationship building as we are offline. With growth rates for Facebook leveling off in mature markets, attrition may come to the fore. Already, a huge bulk of brand "likes" are from inactive accounts.

Perhaps it's no surprise that more brands are using social media to poke fun at social media instead of glorifying it. Mitsubishi's "Unpretentious" app enables you to run over your most annoying Facebook friends, for instance. And DKNY recently made fun of social media by creating a fake success story to build actual buzz through social media.

Indeed, I've said this before and I think it will continue in the year ahead: For some brands in some categories, a premium will be placed on how few friends and follows you have, instead of how many. Authentic, high quality connections will begin to mean far more to brands than mass, unqualified connections.

 2. More Standalone Branded Social Platforms Emerge

To engage consumers in social, marketers have largely turned to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and so on - with good reason. You should reach consumers where consumers congregate. But as mentioned in trend #5, that doesn't mean in some desktop Internet experience anymore. It's the physical world. 

In 2013, more brands will move beyond viewing social media as (just) a cool way to connect with consumers, and start viewing social media as a cool way to enable consumers to connect with one another, enabled by the brand.

One of my favorite examples actually emerged a few years ago, when Vail Resorts launched Epic Mix, a mobile app that enables groups of real friends to connect with one another while they're skiing. They can see where their friends are physically on the slopes. They can automate status updates based on those activities. They can earn points that they can redeem back at the lodge. And once they're back home, they can review their performance and share it with the broader community.

One need only look at PlayStation Home, AMEX OPEN, and Johnson & Johnson's BabyCenter to see that social media is about lot more than Facebook & Twitter - and that brands can be the enabler of community, instead of just a participant.

1. Social Media Go Geriatric - While Teens Keep on Texting

In 2013, more brands will begin to realize that social platforms like Facebook and Twitter have profound value for reaching people over the age of 40, the fastest-growing segment of users. But millennials use social far differently.

I'll put it this way. If a parent wants to know what a teen wants them to know about, check out the teen's Facebook page. To find out what a teen is really up to, check his or her text messages.

As the Pew Internet and American Life Project reported this year, 63% of teens say texting is their preferred mode of communication on a daily basis, compared to just 29% for social media sites (regardless of which device they're accessed on).

Teens just aren't as into sharing their lives with the world as adults think they are. They're far more interested in closed loop systems like text messaging where they can connect with friends - and, sometimes, the brands they know and trust.

To read more about these and other emerging trends, be sure to pick up a copy of my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND.


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Volkswagen 'Polowers': A Twitter Race to Win New VW Polo (Video)


In its race to conquer social media, VW may have just found itself in pole position.

Overall, this is a a very nice social gaming initiative from DDB Spain that aimed at making the VW Polo the #1 topic on Twitter for a day by creating the hashtag #Polowers, which was used to power a race in which the latest person to tweet to the tag takes first position in a Twitter-powered race.

The Polower in first place when the Polo stopped won the car.

Results: 150,000 tweets in its first 8 hours, at a rate of five tweets per second - and a position in the Top 10 trending topics for the day, and "a huge amount of visits" to the Polo page at volkswage.es.

Not bad for a day's race, er, work.

Get the play-by-play here.


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Top 5 'Non-Digital' Digital Initiatives 2012 (Video)


GenWowAwards-logoThis is a little different than our other Tops lists for 2012 – a list of digital promotions that didn’t involve consumers interacting with any kind of screened device, mobile or otherwise.

Here, the interface may be your voice, your body or your brain. All that matters is the fun. 

5. Honda’s Life Size Paper Model of Its New Car

Sure it’ll crumple in a crash. But I hear it’s very light and picks up speed in a stiff wind.

4. Mini ID’s Your Driving Style & Offers You A Cup of Joe to Match

Crazy ass drivers get an industrial-strength espresso, while slow pokes may get a mild Americano.

3. VW’s ‘Up!’ Care Powered by Cheers (tie) 

How many miles per cheer can you get with the Volkswagen up!?

2. Fridge Magnet Orders Pizza for You

What's not to love about a fridge magnet that orders your favorite pizza when you push it?

1. Coca-Cola Amplifier: Magazine Ad Turns into a Speaker System for Your iPhone 

Bringing whole new meaning to the term “plug and play.” Yes, it does involve a mobile screen, but the promotional device itself is print. Brilliant (see video above).


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Top 5 Creative QR Code Campaigns 2012 (Video)


GenWowAwards-logoLove ‘em or hate ‘em, QR codes were put to some creative use in 2012. And whether they disappear by this time next year as many predict, or morph into something else entirely, they did make a mark, pardon the pun, on several initiatives over the last year.

A look at five of our favorites:


5. VW’s Creative ‘Crate Code’

You’ll love the payoff (or payload, that is).

4. QR Code Bottles Sell More Beer While Helping Singles Meet at the Bar

QR Codes play Cupid.

3. Heineken Personalized QR Code Stickers Become Ice Breakers at Music Festival

You scan me, I'll scan you.

2. Axe Body Spray Uses QR Codes ‘Peepholes’ for a Mobile+Social Sensation

Drool not included.

1.Retailer’s Shadow-Activated QR Code Boosts Sales 25%

This retailer’s QR code is credited with a 25% increase in lunchtime sales (see video above).


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Top 10 Branded Promotional Games 2012 (Video)


Brands got serious about fun and games this year - on a number of different platforms.

Among the trends we liked this year - promotional games that bridged the digital and the physical, without requiring consumer devices to play. Not that we wouldn't be amped to try Google's Ingress augmented reality game if we get the chance. And Ingress aside, Google made our list this year, along with several major brands.

GenWowAwards-logoOne interesting note: Many of our top pics this year mixed so many elements - social, mobile, location and so on - so well, that they made some of our other lists, too.

So without further delate, our list of favorite branded games for 2012. We'd love to know which made your list, too.

10. Google Wants to Rock, Tilt & Roll Your World in New Branded Game

Google wants you to go ga-ga over its new game.

9. Kit Kat Launches GPS-Based ‘Golden Ticket’-style Promo in UK

Kit Kat wants to do a heck of a lot more than just give you a break.

8. Mercedes ‘You Drive’ – A TV Campaign You Drive, Via Twitter

Call it a crowdsourced cliffhanger.

7. Magazine Cover Becomes Interactive Video Game

This is one way to make print relevant in the mobile age.

6. Kinect’s ‘Dance Cam’ Mobile App Lets You Create Music Videos on Your Phone

There are few things more entertaining (and, often, disturbing) than watching folks dance on the Xbox Kinect system on games like Dance Central. Now let’s take it mobile.

5. Social Media Street Fight: Duke It Out for Your Dream Mustang

Mustang's not horsing around when it comes to social gaming.

4. Coke Zero '007' Vending Machine Turns Passersby Into Bond

Hold the martini and make it a Coke Zero - shaken, stirred or otherwise.

3. Ford Pinball Park

Pinball wizardry inspired by the perils of parking on a busy street. And the worst driver wins big.

2. Coca-Cola’s Kinect-Powered Vending Machine

Call it the Happy Dance: Coca-Cola wants you to bust-a-move for a free beverage.

1. 3D Projection Game on Building Uses iPad as Controller

Very cool 3D projection game to promote Eristoff vodka. Absolut (or even Red Bull) should be doing this kind of thing, too!


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Top 10 Brand Viral Videos 2012 (Video)


Which brands scored big in branded viral videos this year?

On the heels of our Top 10s in Augmented Reality, 3D Projection, Mobile Marketing, Digital Outdoor and Social Media, we've put together our list for this catagory - and once again flirt with controversy for leaving out a certain elephant in the room.

GenWowAwards-logoThat elephant: Kony 2012. With 96.4 million views, it is by far the most viral video of the year, if not ever. But we aren't covering cause related virals here. This list is strictly brand territory. And on that front, while many of our picks were indeed viral sensations, we're not choosing them based on views. Rather, it's a list of our favorites here at GEN WOW.

Hey, it's a personal thing. Let us know if you agree, or if not, what virals would make your list. 

10. Procter & Gamble: Thank You Momma - The Best Job in the World

Being a mom is an Olympian task, after all. Gets you right there.

9. Red Bull: Fearless Felix Baumgartner - 'Stratos'

The pre-roll to the stunt of the year - and the second only to Kony for fastest video to reach 50 million views.

8. DC Shoes: Gymkhana - San Francisco

Anyone who's ever driven these streets would love to live this ride.

7. Irish Eyes Are (Really) Smiling to Promote St. Patrick's Day Parade

Creepy. Cool.

6. TNT Pulls Off Dynamite Street Promo

A total blast.

5. Chevrolet: OK Go

A little driving music.

4. Fake TED Talk from 2023 Part of Transmedia Campaign for ‘Prometheus’

Hey, it was better than the movie.

3. Red Bull Kluge: The Athlete Machine

Rube Goldberg done right.

2. Shafted: Elevator Riders Get Big Surprise from LG (tie)

Call it Schadenfreude in the elevator shaft.

2. The Bark Side: Volkswagen Game Day Teaser (tie)

Doesn't bite.

1. Dollar Shave Club: “F***ing Great”

Straight from the WTF Dept (see video at top).

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