Archive for the ‘Technology’ tag

Move Over Millennials

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Most of us are still amazed with how much we can do with technology these days. Whether it is paying for Starbucks with your iPhone or adjusting the temperature of your house from any Internet-connected device, screens of any size are changing how we interact with what is around us.
For the children born in the last three to five years, they will never remember a world without a mobile phone or a touchscreen of some sort. Welcome “Generation Screen,” the generation that is always connected and served information on displays everywhere around them. Are you ready?
Not even the largest companies are taking this as seriously as they need to. According to IAB, only 45% of Fortune 500 companies have a mobile optimized site.
Read the full article on AdAge.

Kids_iPads

Photo Credit: kiddytrack.com

Most of us are still amazed with how much we can do with technology these days. Whether it is paying for Starbucks with your iPhone or adjusting the temperature of your house from any connected device, screens of many sizes are changing how we interact with the world around us.

Welcome “Generation Screen,” the generation that will never remember a world without Internet connectivity and touchscreen interfaces. While this generation is only three to five years old now, they will be the audience brands will cater to in the not far future. Are brands ready for this?

The truth is, many aren’t ready. Not even the largest companies are taking this as seriously as they need to, as IAB recently found that only 45% of Fortune 500 companies have a mobile-optimized site.

Read more on AdAge.

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August 14th, 2012 at 5:29 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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July 24th, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Posted in Design,Technology

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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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July 11th, 2012 at 5:22 am

15 Seconds of Fame

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Screen Shot 2012-06-14 at 9.11.17 AMPhoto Credit: Viddy.com

Marketers continue to discover how consumer social media sites and services benefit brand communication and amplification. It is almost impossible to think about not “Liking” your favorite brand on Facebook or following a celebrity on Twitter.  While Facebook and Twitter are staples in the digital marketer’s toolkit, additional apps and networks are emerging as contenders. One of these is Instagram, which, in less than two years, has added more than 40 million users worldwide with 58 photos uploaded every second.

What makes apps like Instagram so popular is the ability to engage with the photos either through commenting or liking. In fact, every second users perform 575 likes and 81 comments. The increased engagement factor has made brands take notice and develop their own Instagram strategy. Photos and video are an easy way to share snapshots of a brands culture and livelihood. For example, Tiffany & Co. is giving fans a behind scenes look at how their jewelry is made including the tools, techniques, and people involved. Inside access is key for encouraging fans to come back, week after week.

While online photo sharing isn’t new, the elements of mobile and social are reintroducing photo and video services as hot new brand tactics. It is natural that video is the next to get a makeover…

Viddy, the Instagram of video is considered to be the next breakout star. With over 27 million unique users and Mark Zuckerberg as a registered user, the app is making video fun and social. Users capture video and add one-click filters and effects before sharing with friends through Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and YouTube. The app lets users discover content by including a view of trending, popular and new videos.

Much like Instagram, Viddy currently has a library of effects, which it calls Production Packs, and includes music that is automatically added to the video during the upload process. Future enhancements include the opportunity for celebrities, movie studios and music artists to create premium production packs for consumers to purchase.

What makes the app creative is the 15-second limit. By forcing users to select only the best 15 seconds, you don’t have to worry about sitting through a five-minute video on your mobile device. Brands have an opportunity to create informal videos that can tease a new product or event and share among their loyal social media followers.

Whether it is a behind-the-scene video or a short customer testimonial, video is engaging and traditionally has a higher click-through rate. The sky is the limit in how brands can leverage their original mobile videos, in addition to encouraging their customers create their own.

One piece of advice for brands exploring photo and video strategies is – remember that consumers want an inside scoop. They feel a sense of brand pride when they receive a video walkthrough of a new office or the first glimpse of new product packaging.

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June 14th, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Sharing is Caring

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At the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced integration of Facebook and Twitter into their mobile and desktop operating systems.
Whether it is an fascinating article, a photo of friends, or where you are on a Friday night, Apple is making it easier to share with a click of a button and the swipe of your finger. Did I mention that Siri can help you out?
In addition to full system integration of Facebook and Twitter, Apple also announced that the “Like” button will be making its debut on the App and iTunes Store. Users will also see which friends have liked a particular app, song, movie, or TV show – bringing social influence to one of the most popular digital retailers.
Just when you thought no one would find out that you purchased Justin Bieber’s new song, now your whole social graph knows…

Facebook and Twitter iOSPhoto Credit: Apple.com

At the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced integration of Facebook and Twitter into their mobile and desktop operating systems.

Whether it is an interesting website, a photo of friends, or where you are on a Friday night, Apple is making it easier to share with a click of a button and the swipe of your finger. Did I mention Siri is there to assist!

In addition to full system integration of Facebook and Twitter, Apple also announced that the “Like” button will be making its debut on the App and iTunes Store. Users will also see which friends have liked a particular app, song, movie, or TV show – bringing social influence to one of the most popular digital retailers.

Just when you thought no one would find out that you purchased Justin Bieber’s new song, now your whole social graph knows…

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June 12th, 2012 at 7:00 pm

MKTG @ E3

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E3Photo Credit: nintendolife.com

June means many things to many people; end of the school year and beginning of summer freedom, less work and more vacation, longer days and warmer nights.  But when it comes to gamers, June only means one thing… E3.

From June 5th – June 7th, downtown Los Angeles transformed into a gaming mecca where industry insiders and professionals went to experience the future of interactive entertainment.  A reported 45,700 attendees made it out to the convention this year in search of the next big thing, and you bet MKTG INC was there to check it out.

Gaming giants Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony each made some big announcements during their pre-convention conference.  Nintendo followed up on their 2011 E3 announcement of Wii U, the successor console to the hugely popular Wii that incorporates a touch pad controller.  The conference unveiled a 23 title software line-up and visits from top video game publishers and developers.  A separate online conference was held to discuss the latest and greatest in store for the Nintendo 3DS platform coming this year including New Super Mario Bros. 2Scribblenauts Unlimited, and the highly anticipated Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon.

Everyone expected Microsoft to unleash updates around Halo, their biggest and most successful franchise, but the big shock came when they announced the next big thing on the XBOX horizon…SmartGlass.  SmartGlass will essentially be a collection of apps that can be added to PCs, tablets and smart phones, enabling these devices to be used as a second screen and controller for the XBOX 360.  Additional updates surrounding Kinect and other gaming entertainment features on the XBOX 360 were also revealed during the conference.

Sony had a strong focus on software with the announcement of Beyond: Two Souls, The Last of Us, and Wonderbook: Book of Spells (a Harry Potter inspired game that turns the Move controller into a magic wand).  Far Cry 3, God of War: Ascension, and Assassin’s Creed III were also among the top titles featured in the press conference.  The PS Vita was highlighted by the announcement of plans to make use of its front and back touch screens with the PlayStation 3 console.

Once the clock hit noon on Tuesday, the show floor was flooded with people eager to experience the hardware and software firsthand.  Game developers Ubisoft, Electronic Arts and Activision showcased large booths with stunning game trailers and what seemed like endless lines test their new products.  One of the most anticipated software titles of the conference was Watch Dogs, which allowed appointment-only demos of the game in a private room.

Celebs like Danica Patrick and Snoop Dogg were among convention attendees as they promoted new software titles and strolled the convention floor in search of their next favorite game.  There was even an area dedicated to the video game history showcasing the evolution of gaming (Atari anyone?).

Overall it was a successful year at the Electronic Entertainment Expo even though mobile gaming was less prevalent on the show floor as some would hope.  Needless to say, we’ll be back again next year!

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June 11th, 2012 at 9:18 pm

NIKE Football Gets Tunnel Vision

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Screen shot 2012-05-23 at 2.00.06 PM

After previous efforts from NIKE Football (not that football) it should come as no surprise to see a star-studded, powerful commercial from the brand that brought us the ‘Write the Future‘ campaign and an epic, Guy Ritchie-directed, first-person adventure dubbed ‘Take it to the Next Level.’

Their latest effort entitled “My Time is Now,” features yet another all star player cast of Cristiano Ronaldo, Franck Ribery, Neymar, Chicharito, and many more, including a cameo from one LeBron James.  It’s the world’s game people, you should know these names…

What is different about this video however, is that it has nine hidden ‘tunnels’ buried within playback of the file.  When prompted, clicking these links transports you to an alternate space, where you can train to look like Ronaldo (if you’re into that sort of thing), explore NIKE’s latest boots, grab a tour of Barcelona’s training grounds or even give yourself a Mario Balotelli-like mohawk in the NIKE Barber Shop.  The best tunnel of all comes with the appearance of the Mercurial Vapor VIII, which connects speed with speed by channeling 1993 and bringing you straight into a Sonic the Hedgehog/NIKE video game.  Time wasters, you’re welcome.

By taking a relatively static and impersonal form of content delivery and bringing the user into the experience, NIKE has pushed forward to a new level of interactivity which can only enhance the viewer’s connection to the brand.  Not to mention the clip ends with Ronaldo in a hilariously small shirt.  You know…if you’re into that sort of thing.

Happy digging.

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

May 23rd, 2012 at 6:15 pm

DESIGNATED TYPER

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Ever had a few too many and gotten behind the computer screen to post about your epic night? Or come home from a seemingly harmless happy hour and then commented on your brother’s Facebook page on how your new nephew looks more like Yoda than a beautiful baby boy? Or maybe you overloaded…and ended up over-sharing?

Now there’s designated damage control: a Social Media Sobriety Test available from Webroot – making the Web a less embarrassing place, one post at a time.

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November 9th, 2010 at 1:17 pm