Archive for July, 2012

DJ (Your Name Here)

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Screen shot 2012-07-25 at 4.53.26 PM

Photo Credit: Youtube.com

With apps like Pandora, 8tracks, Shazaam, turntable.fm and many more continuing to change the way that consumers listen to and share music, one could argue that the music industry has reaped some of the greatest benefits from the world of apps.

While most apps thus far have focused on music discovery and content sharing, some (relatively) well-known bands are choosing to focus more on interactivity and empowering the consumer to do more than just listen.  First up is Passion Pit’s Gossamer app, which lets fans create their own music videos via artwork from the band, while also providing an opportunity to remix certain tracks from the new album.

On the darker side of things, System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian recently launched a narcissistically-titled iPad app dubbed “I am Serj“, which allows fans to remix tunes from his 3 solo albums using a beat-sequencing app complete with “billions of loop combinations”, tempo and pitch effects and more.  On the even darker side of things, Slipknot recently released a new app entitled “Wear the Mask,” which blends gaming, social media, and photography, and invites users to design their own Slipknot masks and find out what type of “maggot” (or Slipknot fan) they are” (via Rolling Stone).  Note: This app is only intended for males between the ages of 14-18 who like clowns and hate their parents.

While it certainly can be argued that the reach of these apps will be limited to their existing fanbases (you probably won’t find the casual music fan eager to find out what type of “maggot” they are), it’s interesting to note the music industry leveraging the benefits of a digital world that they once set out to destroy (see: Sean Parker/Napster).  In the age of Guitar Hero where even the most musically-challenged can rock out in their living room, empowering the consumer to be a part of musical creation creates a more active and engaging experience in a previously passive world.

*~*~*

For a great example of bringing music to the digital world and to a new audience, check out our post on Paul Simon’s #Graceland25 promotion.

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

July 25th, 2012 at 8:57 pm

JCPenney Reimagines Department Store Shopping

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LevisDenimBar

It was only a year ago that Apple Retail Chief, Ron Johnson, was announced as the new CEO of JCPenney.  A year has passed and Johnson’s vision for  the fledgling department store has come under fire, specifically from its pricing structure and the removal of the word “sale” from its vocabulary.

The company’s next initiative is to create smaller shops within the store. In time for back to school season, Levi’s, Arizona and Buffalo are the first concept shops to go live.

Levi’s shops will be in all JCPenney stores by the end of the year. Shops will include mobile checkout, a denim bar, and iPads to be used as another resource for shopper and staff including additional fits and product videos.

JCPenney plans for more store-within-store concepts for brands including Izod and Liz Claiborne. The retailer will also look into creating lifestyle shops (i.e. active sports).

Can JC Penney reimagine the department store?

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July 24th, 2012 at 8:37 pm

iPad Mini, you complete me.

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iPad MiniPhoto Credit: Cult of Mac

Every time Apple launches a new product, the rumor mill starts speculating when the company will launch a “mini” version. It happened with the original iPhone and even after five years, there is no sign of a smaller version. They did it with the MacBook Air and we saw an 11-inch version a few years later. Even with the iPad selling as fast as they can make them, everyone is still waiting for a smaller form factor.

According to a report from the New York Times, Apple will in fact be announcing a smaller version with a 7.85-inch screen and we can expect it by the end of the year. End of story.

Well not quite… There are two challenges that a 7-inch screen faces on being successful and those are differentiation and app development.

First off, I have been skeptic about something smaller than a 10-inch screen; I mean that is why I have a smartphone. In October 2010 Steve Jobs even shot down the idea when he said, “It is meaningless, unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of the present size.” (A little bit of a fanboy here.)

It has been two years and no other tablet or size for that matter has been able to overtake the 10-inch iPad. Things are changing though and much like the PC industry, various screen sizes will meet different needs for different types of consumers.

I got my hands on the newly announced Google Nexus 7, which Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal called the first challenger to the iPad, and the size makes sense. It feels great in your hands and with the upgraded Google Play store, it is perfect for watching video, checking email, reading magazines and books, etc.

We might be at a point in the evolution of the tablet where smaller sizes make sense for consuming content and a larger screen is reserved for content creation. Will people purchase both?  Some people own a desktop and notebook computer, so we shall see…

The other challenge that Apple faces is fragmentation of screen sizes. More screen resolutions and sizes affect how developers create apps. Apple has a very strong developer community whose applications are one of the reasons for the iPad’s success. Will it be possible to throw a 7-inch iPad into the mix and make it easy for developers to build for that screen?

In the past, Apple has done a great been job at eliminating fragmentation by creating tools that help developers build for new screen resolutions. When the time comes to make an official announcement on a smaller iPad, we will see how Apple handles this. One hint was when Apple announced iOS 6 at their WWDC conference in June where one of the new features of the operating system was an Auto Layout API, which could be a clue to new screen sizes coming…

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Written by Admin
Admin

July 24th, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Posted in Design,Technology

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Gold Fronts: Team USA Gets Final Send-off at Nike World Basketball Festival 2012

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Photo Credit: SLAM

Photo Credit: SLAM

As their final home-cooked tune-up before heading overseas to prepare for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games, the USA Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams took part in a hoops-centric celebration known as the Nike World Basketball Festival in Washington, DC.  As a follow up the 2010 celebration in New York City, MKTG INC once again had a hand in celebrating the game’s finest ballers from around the world.

The events kicked off on July 13th in front of the U.S. Capitol, where Team USA posed for an official photo shoot prior to the weekend’s festivities.  MKTG INC was responsible for finding and selecting the venue as well as overall management of the shoot.

Nearby at the D.C. Armory, Nike, MKTG INC and others were busy converting a former Military training facility into a full-fledged basketball mecca.  In addition to the hardwood, a Nike+ area was created on-site to allow consumers to trial and showcase the revolutionary Nike Hyperdunk+, while the Jordan brand offered a chance to create and share your very own Jumpman photo.

Both the Men’s and Women’s USA teams got things rolling on-court with intrasquad scrimmages on Saturday morning, with Jay Bilas providing color commentary throughout. The City Challenge was up next, which featured teams from all of the major cities in a battle for territorial bragging rights.  To cap off the night, we celebrated local talent with an amazing performance by the Howard University drumline, into a 4 song set from Wale.  In case you’re wondering, yes, he still has his Nike boots.

On Sunday the Armory played host to the Global Challenge, which featured the top high-school players from around the world on the court, and a who’s who of college coaches in the stands.  Once the champ was crowned, it was time for the Nike+ Dunk Contest on Sunday night, where this happened.

The final event day on Monday saw things come full-circle on-court with a series of youth and community skills clinics.  From Team USA to youth clinics in three days, the 2012 Nike World Basketball Festival celebrated the game for all ages in a fitting send-off for Dream Team 2.0 to try and live up to their name in London.

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

July 23rd, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Miami Heats Up With Nike 7-on-7 Football Tournament

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Nike7on7Photo by: Jordan Zuniga

Every year major Division 1 football programs dip into the state of Florida to recruit the best athletes in the country. South Florida in particular is said to be a hotbed of the best high school talent where many players are college ready at young ages. For this reason, Nike has made a concerted effort to become the brand of choice for these players that will eventually be suiting up on Saturdays.

MKTG INC recently assisted Nike with this years installment of the 7-on-7 football tournament in Miami featuring 32 teams in the ultimate showcase of skill and athleticism. In line with Nike’s current marketing strategy, MKTG INC brought the new Nike+ trial zone to Miami where players could compete against each other in vertical jump, foot-fire races, and jump rope drills while trialling the newest Nike footwear technology.  The event was a huge success as the athletes competed at the highest level while being exposed to everything Nike has to offer.

With the positive endorsement of the event from everyone involved, it is possible that the Nike 7-on-7 tournament will become a benchmark for players to strive for in years to come.

Written by: Drew McAvoy

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July 23rd, 2012 at 3:51 pm

2012 NIKE World Basketball Festival Takes Off

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USAB_Men_WBF2012

From July 13-16, as their last stop in the ‘Land of the Free’ before heading over to London to compete in the 2012 Olympic Summer Games, the 2012 USA Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams celebrated in Washington, DC.  Overseas, the teams will train, compete and participate in youth skills clinics and community events in Manchester, Barcelona, and London. As part of the 2012 World Basketball Festival, the teams joined with NIKE to celebrate the performance and culture of the sport.

Looks like they had a ball!

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

July 19th, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Yahoo! Fights Back With A Googler As CEO

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Marissa-MayerPhoto Credit: Fast Company

Many of us have forgotten about Yahoo! as the company has struggled to innovate. The fiasco with the last CEO Scott Thompson having fake credentials wasn’t a confidence boost for the public either.
Possible replacements were being thrown around and it was speculated that the interim CEO, Ross Levinsohn,  was expected to be announced any day. Hulu CEO publicly came out and said he was not interested in the position.
Monday came and out of nowhere, Marissa Mayer of Google was announced as new CEO. She was an early Googler (#20) and has been involved in many of Google’s hit products. Marissa was responsible for keeping the Google.com homepage simple and easy to use.
Big things are expected of her as she is seen as a product visionary. Some are hoping she can pull a “Steve Jobs” turnaround for the company.
Did I mention she is also expecting a baby. Congrats Marissa!

Many of us have forgotten about Yahoo! as the company has struggled to innovate. The fiasco with the last CEO Scott Thompson having fake credentials wasn’t a confidence boost for the public either.

Possible replacements were being thrown around and it was speculated that the interim CEO, Ross Levinsohn,  was expected to be announced any day. Hulu CEO publicly came out and said he was not interested in the position.

Monday came and out of nowhere, Marissa Mayer of Google was announced as new CEO. She was an early Googler (#20) and has been involved in many of Google’s hit products. Marissa was responsible for keeping the Google.com homepage simple and easy to use.

Big things are expected of her as she is seen as a product visionary. Some are hoping she can pull a “Steve Jobs” turnaround for the company.

Did I mention she is also expecting a baby. Congrats Marissa!

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Written by Admin
Admin

July 18th, 2012 at 4:06 am

Politics Aside

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Lets talk politics. And social media.
The 2008 election was the first time that social media was influential in driving support for either candidate. While the 2012 election results will be heavily influenced by conversations online, it is hard to believe that prior to the 2008 elections, Facebook had yet to expand beyond a small number of colleges and Twitter didn’t even exist.
We aren’t here to predict elections, that is another industry. We are here to help brands leverage social media to amplify their experiences and we think there is something that brands can learn from how political campaigns use social media.
After President Obama won the 2008 election, many pundits looked at how his team utilized social media to rally support. His biggest asset was Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, was the architect behind Obama’s social media efforts. Here are three strategies that can help any brand in organizing and amplifying their experience.
One Message, Multiple Networks: Depending on multiple factors, voters consume and digest information in various locations. In 2008, Obama used MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to reach his audiences. Facebook was used to rally consumers for One Million Strong for Barack. LinkedIn to answer questions about demographics and issues. Twitter to announce spontaneous visits and share campaign messages.
Tip: Not all consumers are on every network.  Brands can’t miss out on attracting consumers by not leveraging text, photos, and video. With one message, brands need to tailor the message for that network.
Centralized Information, Anywhere:  While broadcasting and engaging on multiple networks is important, having one centralized location to drive traffic back to was key for Obama. Hughes developed mybarackobama.com to become the foundation behind all supporter  communication. It connected supporters to each other for online and offline activities.  Mybarackobama.com was also an iPhone application that helped activate groups on the go.
Tip: Provide consumers one destination for everything about your experience. Whether it is on your website, a microsite, or a mobile application, consumers don’t want to hunt around for information. Give them options to amplify your brand!
Target Naysayers, Amplify Supporters: Obama’s team used keywords that weren’t necessarily targeted at the campaign’s supporters. They instead went after keywords that would show up on a non supporters Facebook profile. This was important in driving traffic back to the website and the Facebook page.
Tip: While brand loyalists are important remember to engage consumers that haven’t paid attention before. Healthy candy bar? Target candy bar eaters, not healthy eaters.
Brands are finding that content and information is becoming one of their greatest assets, but discovery and dissemination of that content can be difficult among everything that is being put out there. Making it easy and fun for consumers is the key.

SocialMediaElectionsPhoto Credit: CNN/Mashable

Lets talk politics. And social media.

The 2008 election was the first time that social media was influential in driving support for either candidate. While the 2012 election results will be heavily influenced by conversations online, it is hard to believe that prior to the 2008 elections, Facebook had yet to expand beyond a small number of colleges and Twitter didn’t even exist.

We aren’t here to predict elections, that is another industry. We are here to help brands leverage social media to amplify their experiences and we think there is something that brands can learn from how political campaigns use social media.

After President Obama won the 2008 election, many pundits looked at how his team utilized social media to rally support. His biggest asset was Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, was the architect behind Obama’s social media efforts. Here are three strategies that can help any brand in organizing and amplifying their experience:

One Message, Multiple Networks: Depending on multiple factors, voters consume and digest information in various locations. In 2008, Obama used MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to reach his audiences. Facebook was used to rally consumers for One Million Strong for Barack. LinkedIn to answer questions about demographics and issues. Twitter to announce spontaneous visits and share campaign messages.

Tip: Not all consumers are on every network.  Brands can’t miss out on attracting consumers by not leveraging text, photos, and video. With one message, brands need to tailor the message for that network.

Centralized Information, Anywhere: While broadcasting and engaging on multiple networks is important, having one centralized location to drive traffic back to was key for Obama. Hughes developed mybarackobama.com to become the foundation behind all supporter  communication. It connected supporters to each other for online and offline activities.  Mybarackobama.com was also an iPhone application that helped activate groups on the go.

Tip: Provide consumers one destination for everything about your experience. Whether it is on your website, a microsite, or a mobile application, consumers don’t want to hunt around for information. Give them options to amplify your brand!

Target Naysayers, Amplify Supporters: Obama’s team used keywords that weren’t necessarily targeted at the campaign’s supporters. They instead went after keywords that would show up on a non supporters Facebook profile. This was important in driving traffic back to the website and the Facebook page.

Tip: While brand loyalists are important remember to engage consumers that haven’t paid attention before. Healthy candy bar? Target candy bar eaters, not healthy eaters.

Brands are finding that content and information is becoming one of their greatest assets, but discovery and dissemination of that content can be difficult among everything that is being put out there. Making it easy and fun for consumers is the key.

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Written by Admin
Admin

July 18th, 2012 at 1:30 am

Posted in Social Media

Tagged with ,

GYMKHANA FIVE

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kblockgym5promo

Gymkhana is not a new fitness class being offered at that place you pay for monthly but don’t actually attend. Rather it is the fifth installment of a concept created by Ken Block, owner of DC shoes. So what is Gymkhana all about?  Gymkhana is a series of sick viral videos used by DC Shoes to market the brand, the owner and select athletes they endorse (I.e. Travis Pastrana in this instance). In addition to being owner of a well known skate brand, Ken Block is also a rally car driver and a good one at that. This video showcases his talent as he rips through the streets of San Francisco in his highly branded Ford Fiesta turning the urban landscape into his own personal rally car course.

In typical Gymkhana fashion the video is well edited and I highly recommend you plug in your headphones, crank up the volume and strap yourself in for the ride. I don’t know what is most impressive. The fact that this video has only been up for almost 2 days and has over 8 million views. Or that they were able to shut down half of San Francisco to shoot this video. Either way this thing is dope.

Source: YouTube/DC Shoes

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

July 12th, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Lower Energy Bills = Happy Homes

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1280-Nest-happy-homePhoto Credit: FastCompany.com

Apple advertising usually makes the top of most lists for great advertising. We wouldn’t expect anything less especially from companies that have Apple veterans running them.

Nest, a smart thermostat company, was founded by Tony Faddell, the father of the iPod. The company has partnered with Goodby Silverstein & Partners for a new Happy Home campaign that includes TV spots showing homes that are happy from the outside due to the energy savings going on inside.

The campaign is also promoting the campaign on Pinterest where the company is holding a contest for followers to post pictures of “Happy” homes. What a good use of Pinterest!

If you haven’t had a chance to check out what Nest is doing, check out their website and the TV spot.

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Written by Admin
Admin

July 11th, 2012 at 5:22 am