November 23, 2011
The holiday season means big marketing campaigns that often feature cutting-edge technology. I recently wrote about Starbucks’ cool Cup Magic promotion
, which uses augmented reality to bring the coffee chain’s products to life. Other brands are using AR to grab attention at the end of 2011. Here are a few, along with the reasons I admire them.
The famous French fashion label is promoting its J12 line of watches with an iPad and iPhone app that includes an augmented reality feature. By holding their phones over their wrists, or by holding their wrists up to their iPad cameras, shoppers can virtually try on the luxury watches
Why I like it:
Many prospective customers are too intimidated to go into a store and try on Chanel watches. Augmented reality makes it easy to see what these gorgeous timepieces look like on your wrist. And seeing yourself wearing a Chanel product is a powerful motivator for purchase. Studies have shown that if you touch a product or try it on, you’re more likely to buy it
The Masquerade line of Bratz dolls comes with one mask for the doll and another for the child. The mask launches an augmented reality feature on the Bratz website. While looking at herself via a webcam, the girl can get a “virtual makeover,”
adding lipstick, face paint, and a wig to her masked look. The image can then be saved, shared, and printed.
Why I like it:
No toy has ever included an interactive element like this, so it stands alone in the holiday gift marketplace. Also, it lets girls play with makeup without any mess!
This British department store added a gaming element to AR. Shoppers visited one of five pop-up stores and used an app to find ten “invisible” party dresses
. Once they did, they could take a picture of themselves virtually “wearing” the dresses and then share the photos with friends.
Why I like it: Turning shopping into a game is one great idea. Letting shoppers see what they look like in the dresses is another, since it increases the likelihood of a purchase. And a third great idea was that anyone using the app received a 20% discount on the Debenhams mobile site, which encouraged participation and drove awareness of mobile shopping – a big trend for 2012.
Our Herald Square neighbors have a fun interactive promotion
for the holidays that ties in to their “Believe” campaign, benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Shoppers download an app and point their phones at an in-store camera. The result is a photo that includes a character from the charming animated special Yes, Virginia
. The photo can then be shared on Facebook or through a holiday e-card. Shoppers can even post the image on the Macy’s Facebook Page. Each week, whichever photo gets the most “Likes” will become Macy’s Facebook profile picture for that week.
Why I like it:
Obviously this campaign brings kids into the store, but the Facebook photo competition keeps the promotion alive days after you’ve left. In fact, you don’t even have to visit the store to participate: by printing out a marker and pointing the app at it, you can see an animation of Virginia ice skating.
Get ready for more AR campaigns as the technology improves, the price comes down, and agencies come up with more exciting ways to use it. Until then, have a happy Thanksgiving and a very augmented-reality Christmas!
P.S. Speaking of Macy’s, we’d like to wish good luck to Katie, our Director of Client Services, who will be a handler for the Uncle Sam balloon in tomorrow’s parade. Stay warm!
- photo by Kevin Harber
November 21, 2011
All it takes is one person to believe in you.
Organizations across America have believed in BRANDEMiX
to develop branded communications that attract, educate, and engage their target audiences.
During this time of year, we feel it’s important to give thanks for that trust and to give back as well. That’s why we make regular contributions to Kiva, a nonprofit organization that enables people like you and me to extend microloans over the web to low-income entrepreneurs in impoverished communities, whether as far away as Africa or as close as Detroit and New Orleans.
We chose Kiva out of many other microlending sites because eighty percent of its recipients are women, who are sometimes single-handedly supporting large families. As a certified woman-owned business enterprise, we believe in strengthening women around the world.
No matter how difficult our lives at the moment, people are suffering far more in many places – too many – across the world. Please take the time to visit www.kiva.org
and give to the worthy cause of your choice. It’s not charity; it’s a loan, and more than 98% of Kiva recipients repay the loan with interest.
Lending through Kiva creates desperately needed capital in some of the poorest parts of the globe. It bypasses corrupt governments and predatory banks and ensures that the money goes directly to those who will use it. When the loan is repaid, you can give the money to another entrepreneur, donate it to Kiva’s general fund, or simply withdraw it. It’s a great way to give.
We hope you’ll join our efforts to fight poverty around the world and here in the US. From all of us here at BRANDEMiX, happy Thanksgiving.
November 14, 2011
Caffeine lovers are encouraged to download a free app, buy a cup of coffee, and point their smartphone at the character on the cup. Through the magic of augmented reality, the characters come to life, acting out holiday scenes such as sledding and ice skating.
Here’s why BRANDEMiX believes augmented reality will be a major advertising trend for 2012:
- It’s social. The Starbucks app easily allows you to share the animations through either Facebook or email. So even people who don’t know about the promotion, or even consciously ignore Starbucks advertising, may find a fun little holiday video in their Facebook feed. Starbucks is letting customers do its marketing.
- It’s great for business. Since each Starbucks cup features only one character, customers must buy at least five cups of coffee to see them all. Then again, even non-drinkers can get into the fun, as 47 Starbucks products are involved in the promotion.
- It’s great for everyone. Let’s face it, Starbucks doesn’t offer many items for little ones; many locations sell biscottis instead of cookies. With this new promotion, anyone of any age can enjoy the experience. In fact, since the videos have no dialogue, you don’t even have to speak English.
- It creates urgency. Assuming the promotion runs through New Year’s Day, that means customers have 47 days to experience it. A short timeline encourages consumers to visit their Starbucks as soon as possible (though some of us wouldn’t last 47 hours without our Frappucino). Compare this to summer promotions, where consumers sometimes have more than 125 days to participate. More time means less urgency.
- It’s fun. There are no coupons, discounts, or special offers associated with the campaign. It doesn’t even cost anything to participate, since the app is free and you can activate videos on products that are just sitting on the shelves. Keeping money out of the equation reinforces the idea that the promotion is for fun and for sharing with friends, a perfect theme for the holidays.
- Photo by Liam Gladdy
Starbucks is proving to be a leader in the mobile space. The company’s payment app
, which launched in January, has already been used in more than 20 million transactions. Its QR codes
give customers an “evolved shopping experience,” letting them hear music from the region where Starbucks coffee is grown or read reviews from coffee experts. Cup Magic looks like it will continue Starbucks’ exploration of mobile technology. What’s next?
November 7, 2011
, when we advise clients on digital branding, we encourage them to create accounts on the Four Essential Profiles: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. However, a fifth social network may be emerging. According to Alexa
, it recently cracked the top 50 most popular sites in the world, and the top 25 in the US. The site is Tumblr
Tumblr is a free, short-form blogging service that combines the publishing ability of WordPress with the social aspects of Facebook and Twitter. Since Tumblr doesn’t replace these other platforms, anyone can use it, whether or not they have another web presence. In fact, Tumblr’s emphasis on short posts make it attractive to brands who aren’t blogging.
But the service is not without its problems – or its controversy. So should you create a “tumbleblog” in this quickly growing community? It depends on your brand, your audience, and your needs.
Why Your Brand Needs To Be On Tumblr
Easy to set up and easy to use. Yes, even easier than WordPress. The interface is intuitive. It’s no trouble to customize with Tumblr’s variety of themes – or your own, if you know some HTML. You can publish content via email, mobile, or through a bookmarklet in your browser, so you can post new material or share a discovery from anywhere. Tumblr hosts text, photos, video, audio, and links, so if you’re new to social media or don’t have time for elaborate layouts, Tumblr is perfect for you.
Tumblr allows readers to “like” a post, similar to Facebook, or to “reblog” it, similar to a retweet on Twitter. Users can follow other blogs, creating a single content feed like both Facebook and Twitter. Tumblr users love the site’s community, sharing a creative sensibility that you don’t see on other social networks. It’s a great place to engage an involved audience.
According to comScore
, 29% of its users are aged 18-24. 20% are aged 25-34 and 20% are 12-17. And the numbers are growing: from 4.2 million visitors in July 2010 to 13.4 million in July 2011. So if your brand is targeting those age groups, you should stake your claim on Tumblr.
It Hosts Some Big Names
Brands with a lot of assets and content are wildly popular on Tumblr. Fashion brands in particular seem to thrive there, including J. Crew
, Kate Spade
, andAnn Taylor
. In fact, Tumblr hosted a special New York Fashion Week page, sending 20 of its most popular fashion bloggers (such as What I Wore
’s Jessica Quirk) to cover all the major events. Media companies and publishers are also using Tumblr, from Comedy Central
to The Today Show
, and from Rolling Stone
Why Your Brand Doesn’t Need To Be On Tumblr
It Doesn’t Offer Analytics
Tumblr’s dashboard doesn’t include any sort of tracking. How many likes did one of your posts get? How many times was it reblogged? You actually have to go to each of your posts and count the actions by hand. Google Analytics and Site Meter only partly solve the problem because they can’t track Tumblr’s internal links. If you need hard numbers that can be analyzed on a spreadsheet, Tumblr may not be for you.
It’s Not That Social
There are no comments on Tumblr. You can add a sort of semi-comment “note” or reblog someone’s post on your own blog, but you can’t have a real dialogue with visitors or other Tumblr users. Facebook and Twitter, and even Google+, know the importance of conversing and sharing, but Tumblr simply isn’t designed that way. If you want to truly engage your audience, you might find Tumblr disappointing.
It’s Too Young
Almost 70% of Tumbler users are 34 or under, including 20% who are 17 or under. After that, the numbers drop as the ages go up. If your brand is a luxury product or is aimed at middle-aged or senior consumers, Tumblr’s audience simply isn’t there.
It Has Angered Some Big Names
Remember those top fashion Tumblr bloggers covering New York Fashion Week 2011? Tumblr actually charged the designers for coverage
, asking for up to $350,000 for promoted content, even though the bloggers didn’t actually work for Tumblr. Based on an expected one million impressions for the week, this meant a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) of $70, compared to $3 to be featured on the front page of the New York Times website. As I mentioned, Tumblr couldn’t even provide designers with advanced analytics to see if their spend was justified.
Tumblr is simple to use, growing in popularity, and attracting some big brands. It also skews very young, presents problems for marketers, and has some frustrating limitations. Is it right for your brand? That’s up to you. But whether it ends in success or failure, I’m pretty sure the Tumblr story has a long way to go.
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