author archive

Last week Facebook added the ability to tag photos with brand, product and people Pages (example photos show a woman holding a Coke and fans with Kanye West). This opens up a rich array of opportunities for brands to gain awareness outside their owned presence on Facebook—indeed, photo tags may be “the new Likes.” Meanwhile, […]

In February, Old Navy launched a music/mobile integrated TV campaign: During music video-like TV commercials (such as the one below), viewers are prompted to use the popular smartphone app Shazam—which identifies tracks and provides artist, release date and other information—to find out more about the featured song, all of which were produced for the ads. […]

Premium German dog food brand GranataPet recently launched a novel Foursquare campaign that seamlessly blends the digital and physical—a manifestation of Worlds Colliding, one of our 2011 trends—to introduce the product to dogs and their owners. A billboard in an area heavily trafficked by people taking their pets for a stroll asked passers-by to “check in” to […]

ShopAlerts is a new mobile service from AT&T and Placecast that notifies consumers about deals and specials when they’re near a participating retailer or brand. These text messages include weather conditions, traffic information and shopping area details to enhance the consumer experience. Rather than asking consumers to download a mobile app and hope they’ll utilize […]

After difficulties with attempting to teach a group of kids the fundamentals of baseball, FunGoPlay’s co-founders hit on a solution for encouraging children to be more active: a virtual sports-themed world that will incorporate physical play and recreation with online play and rewards. Using FunGoPlay equipment, kids will earn points in the virtual world when they […]

Harnessing Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and YouTube, Mattel is running an integrated social media campaign to celebrate Ken’s 50th anniversary. The campaign culminates today, Valentine’s Day, with the reveal of new dolls. The effort focuses on the story of Ken’s efforts to win back Barbie after a six-year separation. Fans can follow both Barbie’s and Ken’s journeys and interact with the characters via […]

To demonstrate its Internet-connected ePrint printers, HP recently teamed up with well-known comedy group Upright Citizens Brigade to host a live-streamed two-hour YouTube show. Sketches were based on user-generated ideas (those who used HP ePrint to submit ideas got access to a special Best Buy promotion). The live show coincided with a branded site takeover […]

Utilizing Twitter and Facebook Places, Red Bull teamed up with San Francisco Giants player Tim Lincecum to give away 11 autographed baseballs last week (Lincecum pitched 11 strikeouts this past season). To participate in the scavenger hunt, players followed Lincecum on Twitter (@StrikeIn) to get clues and checked in on Facebook Places once they found […]

Hasbro is partnering with YouTube in a promotion for Trivial Pursuit: Bet You Know It Edition that stars viral-video celebrities. An interactive version of the new game at youtube.com/trivialpursuit lets visitors play with more than a dozen YouTube stars (people who’ve achieved Internet fame for their viral videos). Players answer three questions to earn poker […]

Game mechanics are fast becoming a method to create loyalty and time spent with brands. “Gamification is a hot buzz word these days,” notes VentureBeat. They use DevHub, a platform for creating websites and blogs, as an example of the potential here. By relaunching with an expansive gaming component—users win rewards for adding features—DevHub has […]


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Things to Watch

  • Crossing ‘the digital divide’
    March 19, 2015 | 4:24 pm

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    In a piece on an 82-year-old going online for the first time, The Washington Post called attention to a rising issue—the divide between those who use the Internet and those who don’t (13% in the U.S., and 41% among senior citizens).

    Continue reading “Crossing ‘the digital divide’” »

  • Incremental saving and giving
    March 11, 2015 | 1:51 pm

    Call it progress or just laziness—apps are popping up that harness our small change and put it to better use. Acorns, dubbed “the Tinder of investing,” links to a user’s debit or credit card and rounds up to the nearest dollar on every purchase. The app then takes that spare change and invests it in a portfolio of the user’s choice—portfolios range from low to high risk (and reward). Or users can opt to let Acorns choose for them based on their age, goals, income and other factors. Meanwhile, apps like Qapital and Digit facilitate regular small transfers from checking to savings, and banks themselves are getting on the incremental savings bandwagon. (See: Bank of America’s Keep the Change and Wells Fargo’s Way2Save.)

    Continue reading “Incremental saving and giving” »

  • Augmenting sleep
    March 9, 2015 | 12:02 pm

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    Digital platforms are already integrated into our every waking minute—now they’re moving into our sleep. A spate of apps and devices aim to aid and facilitate better sleep, from ambient lamps to a lucid dreaming sleep mask to an app that wakes you up with a phone call from a stranger.

    Continue reading “Augmenting sleep” »

  • The sharing economy grows up
    March 3, 2015 | 3:30 pm

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    Hotel giant Starwood has bought in to the sharing economy. The group, which owns W Hotels, St. Regis and Sheraton, has announced a partnership with car service Uber in which every dollar spent by a guest on an Uber car earns points toward free rooms and other perks.

    Continue reading “The sharing economy grows up” »

  • Digital immersive exercise
    February 25, 2015 | 4:04 pm

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    Equinox’s new revved-up cycle class speaks to a growing exercise trend—digital immersion. This month the gym brand unveiled Pursuit, an immersive cycling concept, to limited U.S. gyms. Equinox describes the program as “an immersive studio cycling experience that uses groundbreaking gaming and data visualization to drive competition and inspire peak performance.”

    Continue reading “Digital immersive exercise” »

  • Science fare
    February 20, 2015 | 2:07 pm

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    The worlds of science, gastronomy and art are continuing to cross-pollinate—from edible conceptual art to molecular gastronomy “lab cafés” to synesthetic dining events. Café ArtScience in Cambridge, Mass., is a recent example. Opened late last year by David Edwards, a Harvard engineering professor, the café serves whiskey “fogs” through a special carafe that turns the liquor into vapor (which means consumers don’t take in any of the calories and feel none of the intoxicating effects).

    Continue reading “Science fare” »

  • Aman’s authentic-luxe travel
    February 11, 2015 | 1:06 pm

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    As travelers continue to seek out authentic and unique experiences, hospitality brands keep raising the bar on hyper-localized offerings and exceptional access. Aman, for instance, is introducing a phinisi-style sailing ship in Indonesia, marrying the brand’s ultra-luxe sensibility with regional tradition. With an outdoor lounge and bar, the option to travel by motor, and air-conditioned cabins, the ship brings every modern comfort to an age-old means of navigating the Indonesian archipelago. Another Aman property, meanwhile, offers a dip into paleontology: Guests at Amangiri in southern Utah can join an official dig at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, working alongside fossil experts for a half-day. The cost of getting one’s hands dirty starts at $600. (Resulting Instagram images: priceless.) —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Aman

  • Adidas’ ‘virtual line’
    February 5, 2015 | 6:55 pm

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    Adidas’ new Confirmed app cleverly harnesses the fervor of collectors who normally line up for limited-edition shoes, moving fans onto a mobile platform. App users create an account, then get push notifications when hot new releases are on the way. Interested buyers in a given metro area—only New York City at launch—indicate their size and, if approved, receive details on where and when to pick up the shoes. An Adidas exec calls it a “virtual line.” In addition to collecting data on these super-fans, the app lets Adidas control which influencers get various styles, drives traffic to selected stores, builds additional buzz and cuts out secondary-market sellers armed with bots that secure advance orders. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Bloomberg

  • Adventurous play
    February 4, 2015 | 1:09 pm

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    Kids will slide through a “Tunnel of Terror” and get slimy on “Mount Mud” in Tough Mudder’s new obstacle course for the 7-12 set. The endurance-challenge purveyor is partnering with European soft drink brand Britvic on Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder, with events planned for the U.S., the U.K. and Ireland. The concept caters to parents looking to pry kids away from screens and get them moving—there’s now a CrossFit offshoot for kids, starting with preschoolers—in ways that are challenging and fun.

    Continue reading “Adventurous play” »

  • Rivals joining forces
    January 26, 2015 | 7:19 pm

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    Not long ago, a collaboration between two rival companies would have been seen as a counterintuitive and perhaps desperate measure. In 2015, however, BMW’s partnership with Volkswagen on fast-charging electric vehicle stations makes the automakers look self-confident, open and serious about sustainability and the common good.  Continue reading “Rivals joining forces” »

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