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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

  • 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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