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Earlier this week Rajat Paharia visited our offices here at JWT to speak at Social Media Week about game mechanics in marketing. (Gabe Zichermann, whom we also recently interviewed, was on the same panel.) We spoke with Paharia late last year as we were researching one of our “10 Trends for 2011,” All the World’s […]

As a self-described “gamification thought leader,” Gabe Zichermann makes a case for using gaming principles to motivate and engage consumers. He co-authored Game-Based Marketing and chairs the Gamification Summit, which takes place later this month in San Francisco. We spoke with him about one of our “10 Trends for 2011,” All the World’s a Game—the […]

Eco-friendly product launches increased by more than 500 percent from 2007 to 2009, reports Harvard Business Review. And green initiatives are shifting from competitive advantage to core competency, as we noted in our 10 Trends for 2010 report. As green products proliferate, and compete against each other, brands will need to focus less on eco-messaging […]

Christopher Poole, the founder of the controversial website 4chan, argues that online anonymity empowers people to achieve unfiltered self-expression. Poole, aka moot, spoke in defense of online anonymity at a recent TED conference, and the video’s release last week prompted debate around free speech. 4chan is part of a Web landscape where, in many places, unsavory […]

“Will 2010 be the year of the daddy blogger?” asked Fleishman-Hillard’s Jessica Smith last August on her blog. After all, 2009 saw a record number of stay-at-home dads in the U.S. (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), a major campaign from Sony targeting daddy bloggers, and launches of community networks like Dad Blogs and […]

Online privacy has been all over the news: Just this week a U.S. Congressman introduced draft legislation that would regulate how online ad networks use personal data and Facebook, already under fire for privacy issues, made headlines for exposing some users’ private chats. And yesterday the Lift Conference 2010 in Geneva—a Europe/Asia conference exploring the […]

The behavior of big brands at the heart of the global economy can affect billions. As Adam Hanft recently wrote in The Huffington Post, Google‘s free-speech issues in China are symbolic of how “brands have grown large in the culture, standing for increasingly meaningful issues, belief systems that stretch well beyond their core functional benefit.” In […]

A Hollywood twist on the future of marketing, The Joneses is a film about a “family”—really, employees of a stealth marketing agency in disguise—who use their lifestyle charisma to secretly sell upmarket goods to their suburban neighborhood. The Joneses is certainly based on real trends in covert branding. As a new platform for marketing, the […]

The UN’s World Water Day recently brought attention to escalating global water shortages, and cities worldwide are launching ambitious projects to solve the freshwater crisis. And increasingly, brands are starting to become more proactive in water conservation. Scientific American suggests that “water footprint” labels may help consumers conserve water by exposing how much of it […]

Is the mass market dead? The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki sees market growth for brands at the low end (e.g., the “well-priced adequacy” of Uniqlo jeans) and the high end (products that consumers consider worth the premium like the iPad), with brands in the middle languishing. Brand titans like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s will always be strong […]


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Things to Watch

  • 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” »

  • Virgin Hotels
    January 21, 2015 | 1:42 pm

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    Taking a cue from private clubs like Soho House—which now has outposts from Berlin to Chicago and Toronto—and cool hotel hangouts like the Ace, the first hotel under Virgin’s affordable-meets-aspirational banner houses a Commons Club. Offering “exclusivity for all,” the Commons hosts a “roundtable of ideas and indulgence” at a nightly social hour and includes a restaurant, bar and study area. Virgin marketing also taps into easyHotel lingo with the promise of no surprise fees and free wi-fi.

    Continue reading “Virgin Hotels” »

  • Google’s Ara phone
    January 16, 2015 | 11:51 am


    A new video from Google shows the latest prototype of its modular phone, which will launch this year in Puerto Rico. Project Ara emphasizes personalization—“What if you could make thoughtful choices about exactly what your phone does, and use it as a creative canvas to tell your own story?”—but the sustainability implications are also important.

    Continue reading “Google’s Ara phone” »

  • Nike taps into urban exploring
    January 5, 2015 | 1:13 pm

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    The city is the new terrain for Nike’s rebranded all-conditions gear, now named NikeLab ACG. Taking a cue from the urban exploration trend (“urbex”)—which involves venturing into unseen and generally off-limits structures and documenting the adventure—Nike says that “For today’s athletes, the city is the ultimate landscape,” complete with “modern obstacles” and many microclimates. Images show an intrepid explorer on a rooftop amid skyscrapers. The urban environment is now as challenging, intriguing and adventurous as the natural landscape.

  • Tears become… streams become…
    December 17, 2014 | 1:50 pm

    Artists and performers are increasingly creating multisensory pieces that immerse and envelope audiences, who in turn are embracing these one-of-a-kind experiences. In New York, the latest example is the performance and installation tears become… streams become…, a “field of water that harnesses light, reflection, music and sound” by Scottish artist Douglas Gordon and French pianist Hélène Grimaud.

    Continue reading “Tears become… streams become…” »

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