Rick & Rick: The One with the Super Bowl Ad Trends 2018 (Podcast)


It's a Rick & Rick Rewind back to Super Bowl Sunday and the show we recorded the morning of the big game. In a special expanded episode, Rick Mathieson and Rick Wootten tackle:

  • Who we think will win the year's biggest games—football and advertising
  • Whether the estimated $5.2 million cost to run a 30-second commercial is even worth it
  • What research says about Super Bowl ROI and what the money would buy you in digital media
  • Super Bowl ad trends leading into kick-off—the viral videos, social media plays, teasers and more
  • Digital game plans from Pepsi and Mercedes—from virtual reality to branded mobile games
  • Our favorite spots and what we make of them

Some of the spots we talk about in this episode:

Amazon: Alexa Loses Her Voice

Doritos Blaze vs. Mt. Dew Ice

Avocados from Mexico

Jack in the Box: Martha Stewart

Toyota: Good Odds

Pringles: Flavor Stacking


Video Game Movies & Robot Buddhist Priests (Rick & Rick Podcast Ep 1/Pt 1)




Welcome to 'Rick & Rick Rule the World!'

In this all-new Gen Wow iTunes podcast series, everybody's favorite Rickheads rant, rave and otherwise ruminate on whatever's hitting their Geeks-&-Mad Men radars these days.

Our Ricks include Rick Mathieson—writer, author and executive creative director at iMathieson, and Rick Wootten—vice president of marketing and sales operations at 24/7.

Their mission: To share a little of their ongoing stream-of-consciousness about all things cool in movies, TV shows, comics, video games, media, marketing and advertising. You name it, they've probably got something to say about it. Either way, it's going to be fun.

All the Ricksomeness starts here:






Like Playing 'Call of Duty' in Your Backyard (Video)

We're seriously digging the looks of Recoil, a mixed-reality "Call of Duty"-meets Laser Tag -style first-person shooter from Skyrocket that you play in the real world.

Judging from the video from IGN at ComicCon, it's kinda like I'd imagine Pokémon GO would be, if it were cool and fun. Read more (and check out an even better video), here.

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ARKit AR-Enabled Dance Practice (Video)

A simple, smart application of AR to learn how to do something we personally have had no hope of learning through any other mechanism thus far.

This particular effort uses Apple's ARKit, and so far at least, it looks promising. Though they could go ahead and just add an option for two left feet for us.

Read more here.

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'Ghostbusters' Hyper-Reality Gameplay from THE VOID Looks Hyper-Cool (Video)


It's hard not to get amp'd over this trailer for the "Ghostbusters: Dimension" AR game.

I can't tell how much of this is just video or actual game play, but if it's anything like this promo fro THE VOID and Sony Pictures, this game looks hyper-righteous.

It's important to understand that THE VOID develops experiences at specific venues, versus video games for home.

This is a critical difference, since the experience can be controlled within a locked environment. As the New York Times reported a couple weeks ago, THE VOID has also developed a vest that provides smells and haptic feedback within game play.

It also makes up for the lack of interest consumers seem to have over buying AR & VR gaming equipment for home.

It is interesting how Wired ad the NYT call this VR; from this video at least, it appears to be AR-based, which helps explain how people move about without the disorientation that comes with VR goggles.

THE VOID, of course calls it "hyper reality."

We'll go with that, just so long as it's as fun as it looks.

Pokémon Go—to Switzerland: Funny Promo for Town of Basel Features AR (Minus the 'A')


Still loving this hilarious video promoting the town of Basel, which capitalizes on the Pokémon Go craze with a fun stunt. Hey, the game's supposed to get you outside, right? Why not make a vacation out of it. I want to shoot a prank like this just for fun.


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Virtual Reality Check: Q&A with Charlie Kraus of Limelight Networks (Pt 1)

VR_AR_GUYIt turns out the promise of virtual reality bites when compared to long-term prospects for augmented reality.

At least that’s according to research from Manatt Digital Media that estimates the market for VR-based solutions will account for only $30 billion of a total $150 billion combined AR/VR market by 2020.

But there’s always a “but,” right?

In this case, that “but” is followed by a question: How are we supposed to square Manatt’s research with seemingly contradictory estimates like those from Gartner, whose ever-popular Hype Cycle chart shows AR far behind VR—indeed, far behind even autonomous vehicles—in its advance toward true market traction?

Short answer: You can’t. And in my view, it’s VR’s fault.

A Virtual Conundrum

Charlie Kraus 10-2-15To get to what I mean, I went to Charlie Kraus, senior product marketing manager for Limelight Networks, which is a leading content delivery network (CDN) provider.

CDNs, of course, are used by carriers and others to deliver all that content you consume online—text, graphics, videos, games, music, etc.—with a high level of availability and performance.

As you might imagine, AR (content superimposed on the user's view of the physical world) and VR (content that immerses the user in a simulated world) can only be as good as the networks through which that content is delivered.  

After all, if you think buffering at a key moment on “House of Cards” is innervating, just wait until you miss a critical turn as you make your way around an unfamiliar city using AR-based navigation, or find yourself frozen and subsequently fragged by opponents within VR gaming worlds, due to network congestion.

So while most of the focus is on manufacturers producing devices like Oculus Rift and app developers for more common devices such as iPhones, I figured content networks may have actual usage patterns from which to base projections.

In pLimelight networksart one of this Q & A, I ask Kraus to spell out the differences between VR and AR for listeners who may be confused by the terms (and no wonder—look at this article out today that seems to equate the two), and why Limelight is especially bullish on AR.

Then I ask about what I see as a key problem with reconciling contradictory projections about adoption rates for both AR and VR.

Sure, AR seems pretty well defined. But VR is an entirely different matter.




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Play 'Buzzword Bingo'—CES Edition







This is one game that's easier to play than avoid.

We're all guilty of overusing tech industry buzzwords. And why not? They play a useful role as common shorthand that (conveniently) confers an aura of "cool" to those fluent in the lingua franca of 21st century business.

But as CES 2016 reaches its climax, many of us are finding ourselves facing buzzword burnout over what feels like an egregious level of noise pollution emanating from Las Vegas over the last few days.

“Disruptive.” “Influencer.”“(Anything)-Hacking.” “Unicorn.” I'm sure we've heard them all this week, many times over.

Never mind that some of this lingo could be headed for limbo faster than Kim (or any other) Kardashian can “Break the Internet.”

“Unicorn,” for instance, is quickly morphing into “unicorpse,” as concerns grow that companies like Gilt, Tango and SFX Entertainment may prove emblematic of some of these hard-to-find beasts with billion-dollar valuations may ultimately fare.

In the meantime, GEN WOW found some catharsis in a piece this week by Shawn Paul Wood in PR Newser, lamenting some of the most irksome buzzwords found in news stories and press releases.

When we mentioned the article in our GEN WOW LinkedIn Group, member Rick Wootten, senior director of global marketing for Seagate, mused about having some fun with it all—in the form of a game of "Buzzword Bingo."

That sparked an in-group and subsequent email conversation about developing a mobile app for facilitating a decidedly tech industry-centric version of the game at events such as, well, CES.

"It's natural for industry buzzwords to come and go in cycles, but sometimes enough of them peak at the same time to create Lingo Overload," Wootten says. "We're experiencing one of those times right now—and I think we should make the most of it!"

It's a great idea—and one that might prompt us all (myself included) to be a little more judicious about how often (and how accurately) we use these phrases.

Best of all, while it could take even the most agile development team (another buzzword) days or weeks to produce a full-blown app, we figured we'd just mock up a bare bones Buzzword Bingo card so you can start playing today.











How to Play

  1. Each time a news story or press release using one of these painfully overused words or phrases hits your inbox or browser window, mark off a square.
  1. Capture the link to the story or release for validation.
  1. Mark off a solid horizontal, vertical or diagonal line of lingo—and BINGO!

If the mood strikes us, we'll try a formal round this coming Post-CES news week. Who knows, there might even be a prize involved.

That is, if the game doesn't go too fast. A three-minute audit of my inbox and news feeds this morning produced plentiful junk jargon, including:


A particular pet peeve. Not merely because it’s so overused, but because there’s no such thing.

So far as I can tell, the total number of so-called “sharing economy” companies that are “sharing” anything comes to zero.

That Uber driver isn’t “sharing” her car. You have used an app to request a ride that you will pay a fee for using. The only thing that may get "shared" is polite conversation on the way to your destination. The far more accurate term is “the on-demand economy,” since that’s truly the distinction separating many of these new services from what has come before. Then again, I'm biased.

Perp:  Business Insider (quoting a car company executive). Again, I am including links not to call out the pub or its sources—we're all guilty of geekspeak—but rather to document buzzword use so I can claim my square.

 "IoT" & "IoE'

Ah, "The Internet of Things" or "The Internet of Everything." Whatever variant you want to use, it’s surely vying to be #1 biggest buzzword at CES this year. Perps just today include EE Times, ZDNet and EWeek.


Actually, I take back what I just said about "IoT;" this one could very well take the cake, with numerous entries this morning, ranging from Forbes’ look at “The Five Most Disruptive Innovations at CES” to WIRED's "Best of CES" and beyond.

And this is all in under three minutes.

What do you think your card might look like in the same amount of time?

Could games like this raise our awareness and encourage us to seek other terms and phrases?

Or are these words, flawed as some are, just too useful and compelling in (catchphrase alert:) the marketplace of ideas?


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Mobile is where it’s at again this year, though we quibble with its definition these days.

For instance, Facebook says nearly 80% of its ad revenue come from mobile advertising. But in our humble opinion, just because an ad is experienced on a mobile device doesn’t mean it’s “mobile.”

Small wonder then, that as in year’s past, most of our top pics for 2015 bring something more to “mobile” – by in fact, relating to place, or the specific capabilities or key functionality of the device in which they are consumed.

Here's 10 of our favorites from the year that was.


This wildly popular (and widely spoofed) holiday campaign from UK retailer John Lewis includes a mobile app featuring augmented reality that lets you point your phone toward the moon to unlock daily facts about each phase of the moon. There’s also a game in which the player has to avoid obstacles and collect power boosts to get a specific item up to the man on the moon.


Despite the fact that we're never ones to require any additional prompting to drink Coke Zero – we live on the stuff – this year’s “drinkable advertising” caught our notice. The campaign’s TV spots featured Coke Zero being poured from an onscreen bottle – before migrating to viewers’ mobile phone screens before transmogrifying into a coupon.


What’s not to love about the World Wild Life Fund’s “Last Selfie” promotion with Snapchat, which takes advantage of the fleeting, transient nature of Snapchat snaps with short ads that show just how quickly an endangered species can be wiped off the planet. Powerful, and perfect for the platform. In just its first week, consumers posted 40,000 tweets about the initiatives to 120 million timelines. And in just three days, WWF reached its fundraising target for the entire month.


This year, Guess's special mobile ad units enabled users to snap selfies and then “try on” sunglasses via augmented reality, complete with pointers on which styles work best for your face shape. The user takes or uploads a selfie, adjusts the placement, applies from a wide selection of sunglasses and can even share the image for feedback from far-flung friends via their social platforms. Add a "buy" button and this could be m-commerce magic instead of just promotion.


How do you get shoppers into store locations during the Easter season? Launch an augmented reality Egg Hunt for the chance to win store gift cards. Here’s a brick & mortar retailer (in Australia) that refused to shy away from mobile and instead embraced it to enhance the retail experience.


This summer, the online music streaming service rolled out a "Found Them First" microsite that lets users see which musicians the system knows they heard before the artists became megawatt sensations. Users can then build and share a playlist built on those early discoveries. In exchange, Spotify will offer them a new playlist with other new acts they might help “discover” as well.


MINI USA is big on short online films featuring its cars, so it made since that the brand would be among the first to take 360-degree video for a test drive. Two such films, “Backwater” and “Real Memories” are definitely worth a gander—and could mean big things for the road ahead.


Let’s face it: You’re not quite you when you’re hungry, are you? Which is why the latest installment of Snickers’ long-running "You're Not You" campaign includes a mobile app that enables consumers to create images related to their particular hunger symptoms and share them socially. The key isn’t to show off what kind of hungry you are, of course. It’s about calling out family and friends for acting “snippy,” “loopy,” “cranky,” “confused,” “spacey," or ... insert your own adjective here.


Yes, I’m still fixated on this VR initiative from Qantas, which enables you to go on a eight-minute, 360-degree virtual vacation to Hamilton Island. In fact, it was really hard to decide between this and our #1 pick this year. It is, after all, either instant justification for the VRevolution, or a sure sign of the Apocalypse. Once companies start producing VR content like this that lasts not minutes but for hours on end, the human race may just opt out of the “reality” part of the equation all together—at least when they aren’t physically going to these amazing locales.


Okay, there's rarely a moment when a large TV screen is much out of arms reach these days. So maybe this is the solution to a problem that few will ever face. But it's still hard not to dig the Pizza Hut Blockbuster Box - a pizza box that's also a movie projector. Throw in a cold one and this could be the best thing to happen to pizza since pepperoni.


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5 Top Forms of Content Marketing: Author Rick Mathieson on the Jim Blasingame Show (Concl)


Games can be good for business—even (perhaps especially) when it comes to B2B marketing.

In the second half of my recent appearance on the Jim Blasingame Show, we continue our conversation on 5 of the top forms of content marketing. Not so much about channels—blogs, shared social media platforms, email, landing pages, websites and so on—rather, what kind of content makes for, or enhances, posts in those channels.

While Part One focused on video and touched on case studies, this second half addresses infographics, webcasts and branded games.

...Wait, branded games?


A content marketing report from Hubspot earlier this year finds 64% of B2B marketers rank webinars/webcasts as the most effective kind of marketing content, followed by video at 60%. Old-school case studies are close behind, at 58%. And posts and articles that contain infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than ones without.

Indeed, while specifics (and content categorizations) vary from survey to survey, the five we discuss are at the top end of most surveys in terms of both adoption and effectiveness.

So what content type is missing in most of these studies?

Games—which are used by just 1% to 12% of B2B marketers, and don't tend to show up in even the top 20 in terms of most effective content types.

But does that mean it doesn't work? Or that it's untapped opportunity?

For his part, Jim sounds as if he might be at least a little perturbed by the whole rise of gamification in our lives—and perhaps a little skeptical about its use in B2B marketing.

But as you'll hear me tell Jim, key research on gaming among white collar workers informed an engagement with one B2B client that resulted in a branded game that was played over 1 million times, resulted in 5,000 leads, and over $1 million in direct sales in its first six months (see case study video above).

Not only did the initiative earn coverage in a report on content marketing in The Wall Street Journal, but I include it in a chapter on branded games in my second book, THE ON-DEMAND BRAND.


As Jim wisely points out, this is not the kind content that you should necessarily deliver directly to just any B2B prospect or client.

Indeed, as I say here, it's better that your communications should point to a game, and let interested parties come to it.

It's also important to point out that Jim's show is targeted to SMBs, which, as we discuss, would impact the types of games that are truly feasible. Think knowledge games versus full, high-concept productions.

And while I touch on it in the interview, I want to add that in my view, whether it's B2C or B2B, and whether it's large brand or small, there are three key rules of the game, so to speak:

  • The best games are built around, and clearly communicate, your value proposition. They are not just games for the sake of games.
  • Branded games are best played with others—meaning they should have built-in incentives to make the games social and viral, creating a multiplier effect in communicating your value proposition.
  • They should always include a call to action to continue the conversation about your offerings. Before you even start developing a game, define what it is you want your audience to do, feel or think about your brand once they play it.

So is gaming and/or gamification right for your content marketing operations—B2B or otherwise?

You won't know until you try.

But make no mistake: B2B marketers at Microsoft, Dell-SonicWALL, IBM and other brands long ago discovered that they can turn fun and games into serious profits.

Why not play with the possibilities—and see how well you score?



 (Approx 5 min)



 (approx. 6:16)


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