Category Archives: CPG

Amazon Launches ‘Home Services’ To Take the Guesswork Out of Booking Goat Grazing Services

Written by: Rita Mogilanski
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Amazon recently launched Home Services, a portal that allows users to find, schedule, and purchase professional services through Amazon. The services that are currently provided include appliance repair and installation, home cleaning, music lessons, iPhone repair, and so much more (including Goat Grazing).

Why Use Amazon?

Amazon handpicks the service providers to assure quality by performing background checks and verifying insurance and licenses. They remove most of the risk associated with choosing domestic help by suggesting only verified vendors and giving customers standardized, prepackaged prices. Amazon will match prices if customers find a lower price for the service provider elsewhere, and you are only charged after the service is completed.

4.1-1This service will prove helpful for users making purchases that need installation. When shopping for an air conditioner, I was served a link to book a professional to install the appliance. This seamless integration relieves much of the stress around installing major appliances. Consumers already trust Amazon and will be willing to go with the professional services the platform recommends to expedite the process.

4.1-2
How is it Changing the Industry?

Other similar platforms like Angie’s List and Yelp provide users with trustworthy reviews. Unlike Angie’s List, there is no membership fee for Amazon, and unlike Yelp, you can book directly through the site. Competing platforms may choose to increase the services they provide to be more robust in order to compete with Amazon’s one-stop shop experience.

TaskRabbit, which is a platform that provides services very similar to Amazon Home Services, has partnered with Amazon in such a way that allows Amazon users to hire fully-vetted “Taskers,” or TaskRabbit’s service providers, through Amazon.

Small businesses that rely on the local community may feel the pressure of competition from businesses listed on Amazon. For professional services looking to get their business on the website, they can apply here. Businesses pay Amazon a portion of the profits, and Amazon handles payments and customer complaints and issues, taking some of the stress off the professionals as well as the customers.

If you’re looking to take the risk and guesswork out of booking professional help, Amazon Home Services is a great tool. They are currently making life easier for customers and small business owners in most major US cities. For similar platforms, however, the competition just got real.

Image: Amazon.com

Image: Amazon.com

 

Emotive Robots Key to Unlocking IOT Potential

Written by: Tom Edwards
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Over the 15 years of my digital career, I have witnessed significant technological innovation and massive shifts in consumer behavior based on the impact of innovation. Highlights include the evolution of the personal computer, the now ubiquitous smartphone, and the explosion of consumer-centric social media.

Apple-iPhone-generations

Looking to the near future, the current rate of exponential technological advancement will continue to accelerate, and we are primed for another significant leap forward; the concept of emotive computing is about to enter the lives of early adopters and has the potential to shift our behaviors once again.

During SXSW 2015, the personal side of robots session presented by Dr. Cynthia Breazeal caught my attention. Her session focused on the potential impact of emotive computing as the next wave of computing innovation.

emotive computing

Emotive computing is based on systems and devices that can recognize, interpret, process, and simulate elements of human behavior. The key to the concept is the alignment of both emotion and cognition as the drivers of adaptive behavior.

I have followed Dr. Breazeal’s work at MIT since the late ’90s when I first heard about the Kismet project. Kismet was designed to be one of the first socio-emotive AI. The core focus was to move past simple cognitive skills and align psychosocial elements into the robot’s ability to understand and treat people as people.

MIT Kismet

During the session, Dr. Breazeal discussed the evolution of Kismet to the next iteration of the AI, Leonardo, as well as how emotion + cognition should be the basis of intelligence and adaptive behavior – which is key to creating an emotive AI.

leonardo ai

The advancements made with Kismet and Leonardo have set the foundation for a new type of consumer device that is focused on delivering multiple levels of utility while also demonstrating adaptive behavior.

Reviewing the current landscape of personal robots, we see mostly single utility or cognitively-driven robots. They enhance our lives by the tasks they complete but are weak in their ability to conceive emotional engagement.

personal robots

This is where I begin to consider the current product/market fit for socially emotive AI. When you start to consider the Internet of Things or the Internet of Better Things, there are key components missing that would unlock new levels of value, which would lead to mass adoption. Most of the current ecosystem is comprised of single-utility solutions that are neither interconnected nor adaptive.

Internet-of-Things

Initially, my assumption is that the IOT would benefit from a central hub that is built to scale. The basis for the hub has already been approached by Amazon with Echo. But the current technology tied to virtual assistants is built around search and retrieval based entities with limited capabilities to learn.

virtual assistant

With the rise of emotive computing, it is feasible that the core hub for the connected home could be an emotive AI. Toward the end of her talk, Dr. Breazeal revealed that her current initiative as founder and Chief Science Officer of Jibo is to deliver such an entity into homes sooner rather than later.

Jibo is being touted as the first “family robot” and positioned as a support and an enhancer to humans. The IndieGoGo crowdfunded robot raised over 2.2 million dollars and the first run is currently in production. Jibo can see, hear, speak, learn, assist, and relate to individuals, and is going to be the first mass-produced emotive AI.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 4.35.10 PM

Jibo is also going to be built on a comprehensive developer ecosystem. With toolkits and a full SDK available, the focus is on creating a scalable content delivery platform.

Jibo SDK

I have talked a lot about how the IOT needs to be navigated with the consumer at the center, and I have shared my view of the #databaseofyou as the key to unlocking marketing value from the IOT, but little did I know that the database would actually reside within an emotive AI.

Evolution of Social Marketing Future - Tom Edwards

From a marketing perspective, I am very interested in the adoption and advancement of Jibo. If an emotive AI becomes the primary hub for the connected home, then it also becomes a potential content delivery platform that is the key connection between brands and consumers in the connected home.

By leveraging the full SDK and potentially certifying content, brands could provide contextually valuable experiences delivered through Jibo, or potentially new skills that extend the utility of the robot.

This is obviously speculation on how to potentially leverage emotive computing to create marketing value, but it is important to begin understanding that a significant shift is coming and that it may have just arrived in a small robotic form.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

A Very Social Super Bowl

Written by: Hannah Redmond
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A Very Social Super Bowl
As told by SNICKERS social strategists Hannah Redmond and Rita Mogilanski 

Super Bowl 49 was the most social Super Bowl ever. More than 65 million people talked about the game on Facebook and there were 24.9 million posts on Twitter during the game.

Brands are realizing that social media can’t be an afterthought when planning for the big game, but rather social needs to be a central part of the brand’s marketing and communications strategy.SB Post 1

The SNICKERS social team planned for the big day by working closely with partner agencies to plan a cohesive, 360 strategy with multiple touch points. As an official NFL partner and a brand with a Super Bowl commercial, it was imperative that we make the most of the moment. 

Pre-Game
  • Predictive and Strategic Research: No brand should wait for a “moment” to jump into the conversation on social media; rather they should arrive at game day prepared.SB Post 2
    The social analytics team at Fanscape came armed with information to help inform their social participation strategy, with items including Super Bowl trends from past years, SNICKERS social trends, and a list of brands to monitor. This information was necessary to prepare game day content and help find real-time opportunities during the game.
  • Rally To Release: The SNICKERS social team worked to help promote the Super Bowl trailer that was released on January 21. Our strategy was based around creating awareness and excitement around the campaign. We wanted to make sure we got fans involved in the process, so we asked them to like, comment, share, view the teaser, or use the official hashtag #EatASNICKERS to encourage SNICKERS to release the full Super Bowl spot before game day. After receiving over 2.5 million engagements, the full commercial was released 4 days before the game.

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Game Day
  • Social Media Command Center: A social media command center is the best way to track all the game day activity and manage outgoing content. The SNICKERS social team gathered several essential players, including an analyst to identify opportunities and measure and track success, a content and creative team to ideate when “real-time” opportunities presented themselves, an account team to push through client communications, and a community manager to keep a pulse on the community.SB Post 7
  • Real-Time Engagement: After creating a game time strategy and plan based on research and insights, SNICKERS focused on interacting with brands, fans, and media on Twitter during the game. We inserted the brand voice into the social conversation where relevant, while promoting the Super Bowl spot and NFL partnership.SB Post 8
Results
  • The most successful SNICKERS tweets were timely and relevant, which is a testament to the planning and strategic partnerships that were in place
  • The SNICKERS Super Bowl commercial was the 2nd most shared spot on social media
  • SNICKERS ranked #9 in the top 10 ads based on digital activity
  • SNICKERS was in the top 5 brands ranked by digital share of voice

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Learnings and Recommendations
  • Include Social Media as Part of 360 Planning
    Super Bowl planning, including creating a cohesive content strategy, communications plan, and creative elements, takes months. Social media elements should be injected into each part of planning, since Super Bowl has become such a “social moment.”
  • Involve Consumers
    Brands that foster consumer involvement earn more shares and a higher share of voice on social media. Whether it is part of the core campaign (like Doritos Crash the Super Bowl) or an activation that brings in or acknowledges fans during the game day conversation (like McDonalds), it is an increasingly important part of marketing during the Super Bowl.
  • Conduct Social Research Beforehand
    Don’t wait for a “moment” to chime in on social media. Arrive at game day prepared with conversation metrics and relevant topics from previous years, as well as have already investigated upcoming campaigns from competitors and general advertisers in the space. Making note of what has previously resonated with fans and seeing how other brands are implementing strategy based on their own research can help prepare and preplan content and ways to get into the upcoming social conversation.
  • Be Present on Game Day
    A social media “command center” is more than just multiple computer screens monitoring various hashtags. It is important to create a core team with specific roles to play on game day:

    • An analyst to help identify content opportunities and measure and track success;
    • A content team (including creative) to ideate when a “real-time” opportunity presents itself;
    • An account team to help push through client communication;
    • A community manager to keep a pulse on the trending topics and brand community conversation.

Each team member plays an important and deliberate role and together they drive success.

Overall, whether brands have an ad in the game or not, there are ways into the Super Bowl social conversation – by finding an angle that makes a brand relevant. Keeping these four elements in mind when creating this angle will set teams up for success.

 

Hannah and Rita are on the SNICKERS social team at TMADE.

Sources:

Reuters
AdAge
AdWeek
Twitter
Facebook
MediaPost
MarketingLand
Portada-online

 

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Facebook and Twitter Lock Horns in Post-Super Bowl Battle of the Statistics
Facebook and Twitter released a barrage of data this week to claim the title of most popular social network for spectators watching the Super Bowl. Facebook boasted that 65 million people chimed in about the game. Twitter reported 28.4 million game-related tweets, compared with 24.9 million last year.  Facebook claimed that 676,000 people per minute commented or liked someone’s comment after the game-ending interception. On Twitter, the same play generated a surge of 395,000 tweets per second.

Twitter Launches Vine Kids
Twitter recently created its first child-friendly app – Vine Kids.  The main feature is the same, six-second looping videos, but the focus is clearly for children with animated characters leading them through the experience.

Nielsen Pitching New ‘Tweets Per Impression’ Metric to Entertainment Marketers
Nielsen has begun engaging movie studios and TV networks on a new metric — tweets per impression (TPI) — that gauges the social impact of entertainment marketing efforts. TPI maps the number of impressions a commercial has on TV against the number of tweets referencing that particular impression just minutes after the commercial airs.  While TPI isn’t limited to the entertainment industry, there has been significant interest from studios, which can adjust their TV advertising plans in real time based on input from the metric.

Tweets Will Return to Google Search
Twitter has reached a deal with Google to add tweets back to Google’s search results later this year. Google previously had to crawl Twitter’s site for tweets, but now the company will provide the data directly to the search engine. As part of the new arrangement, tweets will appear in search results as soon as they are posted.

Twitter Expands Promoted Tweets
Twitter has announced plans to expand Promoted Tweets beyond its own borders. Flipboard and Yahoo Japan have signed on as the first platforms to participate in Twitter’s newly syndicated ad network.  Twitter’s syndicated ads will be seen by users within Twitter content sections on third-party properties, as well as within third-party content areas.

Global Social Media

China Tightens Its Grip on the Internet
Over the last two weeks, China has been further tightening its grip on the Internet, blocking several tools that allow users inside the country to escape and circumvent what’s popularly known as the “Great Firewall of China.” Some popular Virtual Private Networks were the latest victims of the censorship system, with many reportedly unable to use them to connect to censored websites.  Though China has always been aggressive in trying to control the Internet, this new crackdown is seen as unprecedented.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Gap Debuts Love Story ‘Micro-Series’ on Instagram
Following Gap’s noirish brand campaign from David Fincher, and quirky holiday ads directed by Sofia Coppola, the brand has launched a “micro-series” on Instagram to promote its spring collection.  “Spring is Weird” is a 12-part love story starring actor Paul Dano and “Marcel the Shell” creator Jenny Slate. The 15-second episode will roll out each week on Gap’s Instagram account. The story will also be featured on dating websites and apps. Followers of #APerfectFit will also get special offers for trying the brand’s form-fitting “Resolution Denim” featured in the series.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Instagram Rolls Out Video Ads
Instagram is now selling video ad inventory launching the product with autoplay spots for Disney, Activision, Lancome, Banana Republic, and The CW. The ads started appearing this week and will continue to roll out over the coming weeks.

Tumblr Rolls Out Video Ads
Instagram isn’t the only platform rolling out video ads this week. Tumblr began featuring autoplay video ads from advertisers including The CW, Lexus, Axe, Universal Pictures, JCPenney, and Hulu.  Ads will be featured in Tumblr’s new video player (unveiled last week), which supports Vine and Instagram video.

LinkedIn Ad Sales Soar
LinkedIn continued its tear in the third quarter, with revenue climbing to $568 million. That’s 45 percent higher compared to last year. The increase was led by sponsored updates – a product that allows advertisers to reach members who don’t follow their company. Sponsored updates generated 31 percent of ad revenue in the third quarter.

YouTube Considers a New Subscription Service
YouTube is in the early stages of exploring new subscription services. Though specifics aren’t available, one option would be an ad-free service that users could pay for.

Global Social Media

Thousands Protest in Hungary over Proposed Internet Tax
Trouble is brewing in Hungary, as thousands of concerned citizens took to the streets in Budapest to protest a new proposed tax on Internet use. Over 10,000 protesters marched through the capital to demand the proposal be scrapped, as they believe it would increase their tax burden and curtail their freedom of expression and access to information.  The proposal was part of a bill drawn up by the current Prime Minister.  Protest organizers, backed by a Facebook group with over 210,000 supporters, issued an ultimatum demanding the tax be scrapped or they would return to the streets for more protests.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Taco Bell Blacks Out Its Social Sites to Launch Mobile App
As part of the launch of its mobile-ordering and payment app this week, Taco Bell blacked out its social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even its website. The idea was to play up the announcement and attract attention with a Twitter feed, Facebook page, and website all showing nothing but a black screen. Each of those pages only offered a link to the app download. The chain was hoping to prompt conversation using the #onlyintheapp hashtag. The stunt appears to have had some initial success – 75 percent of all Taco Bell stores had processed a mobile order one day after the app launch. Taco Bell plans to continue with their social media activity, but it will be limited until they feel they’ve properly promoted the app.  They have since started promoted tweets and other social ads.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Snapchat Ads are Coming
Snapchat ads are coming soon, according to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel. The ads will be around the company’s “stories” product and will be optional to view.

LinkedIn Now Tells You Which Actions Led to Higher Profile Views
LinkedIn is giving users better information about which actions encourage people to look at their profile page. Under the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section, LinkedIn has added a new area listing the notable actions the user has taken. This could include posting a status update, joining a group, giving endorsements, or making new connections.  The hope is that when someone the user is keen to work with looks at their profile page, the user can deduce what they’ve done to trigger it.

Pinterest Pushing New Editorial Product with First Co-Marketing Campaign
Pinterest rolled out its first co-marketing campaign this week to promote a new editorial product called Pin Picks. The site has partnered with 10 companies including eHow, Cracked, and Funny or Die, as well as YouTube star Michelle Phan. Pin Picks are topic-specific collections of Pins and Pinterest profiles that the company has been testing since August. Pinterest is raising the profile of Pin Picks with a four-week Halloween campaign, each with their own themes: horror, villains and superheroes, humor, and last-minute ideas. Funny or Die and Michelle Phan are taking part in the horror phase; comedy site Cracked will be involved in humor; and eHow’s participation will span all four themes.

Facebook Messenger has Friend-to-Friend Payment Feature
Facebook could soon allow Messenger users to send mobile payments to their friends. A Stanford University student uncovered the feature via Cycript, a tool for developers.  The payment mechanism is said to be similar to that used in Square Cash, where Messenger uses it to debit one account, and then uses some means to look up the bank account number of the recipien, and deposit it.

Global Social Media

China’s Instagram Block is Here to Stay
For years, Instagram was one of the exceptions to China’s great firewall. It remained accessible even though Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter were blocked. It finally went dark in September when users began sharing photos of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. It hasn’t come back since.  Of major US-based social media, LinkedIn is all that remains, and only because the social network agreed to play China’s game. Some people who post about sensitive topics get messages that their content is banned in China and cannot be seen by members there.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Dove is Trying Snapchat for Self-Esteem Effort
Unilever brand Dove is launching an initiative with Snapchat as part of its annual “Self-Esteem Weekend.” The brand has invited women to share their insecurities via Snaps, and as the Snaps disappear they can make room for more positive thoughts. Dove will have “Self-Esteem Ambassadors” on hand to respond to girls’ Snaps and provide real-time advice and feedback. The reason for using Snapchat, according to Unilever’s marketing director, is because “having a public conversation about your self-esteem can be intimidating.”

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

YouTube has added new real-time reporting to its analytics dashboard that provides view counts down to the minute for your videos.  The new report is available for channels, groups with less than five videos, and content owners.

 

More changes are coming to Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm. When deciding which posts to show to which users, the social network will now give greater consideration to timeliness and activity-based relevancy. Facebook explains: “There are some instances where a post from a friend or a Page you are connected to is only interesting at a specific moment, for example when you are both watching the same sports game.” Users will now be more likely to see “trending” stories in their News Feed – but only after a “friend” expresses interest in such a story. Early testing showed that this change led to a 6% increase in post engagement.

 

YouTube this week announced that it will begin footing the bill for new videos from some of its top creators. The move is intended to help its homegrown stars produce high-quality content for their millions of fans.  More than 1 billion viewers visit YouTube every month, and daily watch time is growing at 50% annually.

 

Twitter released an internal study this week that found networks and studios that live-tweet during their popular programming can dramatically boost followers and Twitter mentions. Posting from a show’s Twitter handle, like @GameofThrones, increases total Twitter conversations by 7% during television premieres. Having a show’s cast members live-tweet is even better – increasing total tweets by 64%.

Global Social Media

Mobile commerce continues to grow exponentially in Asia. For retail marketers, that means they must develop an effective and transactional mobile presence. China is leading the way when it comes to mobile retail. A whopping 94% of those surveyed own a smartphone and regularly use it to make purchases, redeem coupons, and send gifts.

Noteworthy Campaigns

In the ’90s, Coca-Cola had a “fully-loaded citrus soda with carbos” called Surge. Internally it was developed under the moniker “MDK” or “Mountain Dew Killer.” Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, and the product didn’t last more than a couple of years. But, the soda is making a comeback (a reSURGEnce? Get it? Get it?) thanks to a Facebook campaign called “The Surge Movement,” which has 150,000 followers. Based on the demand, Coca-Cola decided to reinstate the product, selling it exclusively through Amazon at $14 for a twelve-pack (yet another sign that CPG brands are seeking more online sales). Within hours the first batch of Surge sold out.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Christy Wise
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Facebook wants to better understand consumer thinking in an effort to serve more relevant ads in the news feed. To that end, the social network will start asking users why they choose to hide an ad as soon as that user does so. Users can select from a variety of reasons including: irrelevant, offensive, spam, too frequent, or “something else.” Taking into account the reasons why an ad was hidden, Facebook said it will show the ad to fewer people.

 

Spotify’s video ads are coming. The music-streaming service will soon roll out its video ad products for marketers, including a mobile product that lets listeners watch a video ad in exchange for a half hour without any further commercial interruption. Spotify will start testing video ads in the fourth quarter with a limited number of brands, and plans to extend them to advertisers in the first quarter of 2015. Coca-Cola, Ford, McDonald’s, and Universal Pictures have signed on as the first global buyers. Kraft Foods, Target, and Wells Fargo will be the U.S. only launches.

 

In a question and answer section on Facebook, the company now describes how to set a post you’ve published to expire, a process that allows the message to disappear. The capability is only available on certain posts, currently.  This is Facebook’s attempt yet again to take on Snapchat.

 

This week, Twitter introduced its Buy Now button, a feature that allows users to make purchases directly on Twitter.com and throughout its mobile app.  The company is moving cautiously with the product, which it says will only operate in the U.S. and be seen by a “small percentage” of users. Only 26 nonprofits and musical artists were handpicked to deploy the feature, including country singer Brad Paisley, rap artists Eminem and Wiz Khalifa, and metal band Megadeth (yes, Megadeth).

 

Facebook has reached out to some of Google’s biggest content producers and encouraged them to test distributing their videos on the social network. Facebook’s push reflects a desire to become a bigger competitor in web video and get more content on its site. Right now, content creators use Facebook to promote their programming but prefer people to watch the videos on YouTube and other platforms, where they can make money through ad sales more easily.  Facebook and content creators are discovering how advertising might be incorporated into these videos. It’s likely that some sort of ad product will be rolled out by the end of the year.

 

Global Social Media

China has ordered video-streaming sites to get state approval to run foreign TV shows and films as authorities in the world’s largest Internet market tighten online control. Video sites need to register foreign TV shows and films by the end of March. Starting April 1, unregistered content can’t be shown online. This year, China barred video websites from airing four U.S. TV shows, including “The Good Wife” and “The Big Bang Theory.” The country plans to cap the amount of foreign TV programs allowed on the sites at 30%.

Noteworthy Campaigns

During New York Fashion Week, Adidas showcased their new Fall/Winter 2014 collection dubbed #NeoRunway. The event, which was the world’s first tweet-powered fashion show, was created entirely by teens.  Teens had the power to decide everything from music, lighting, and the set design to styling the fresh new looks of the models walking down the catwalk. Teens participated in the show using the in-card voting mechanic from Twitter to choose between options. NEOLovers voted for two weeks prior to the show to decide what clothing, hairstyles, and makeup the models should wear. Participants could vote right up to the last seconds of the show. In addition, a team of young bloggers were on-site, bringing the show to life across social media channels.

The Marketing Arm Digital – August Newsletter

Written by: Digitally Approved
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We published our monthly newsletter! Check it out below, and to see it in all its glory with working links, click HERE.

August-Newsletter.2014

Clios In The House

Written by: Digitally Approved
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clio-sports

In the ad world, there is no higher achievement than the Clio. In Advertising, it is the equivalent to the Oscars. If you are a Mad Men watcher, then maybe your remember when Don accepted the Clio for his work on GloCoat. But Peggy was insulted that he didn’t thank her.  Then Roger held the Clio hostage unless he acknowledged that it was a team effort.  But we digress.

clios

There are a number of Clio awards given for specific industries and they recently handed out statues for outstanding work in Sports. We were lucky enough to receive two of them and we’d love to give a shout out to the tremendous work exhibited by the entire creative teams at The Marketing Arm with special nods to Brandon Stuart and Marc Gilbar who accepted the awards for the Callaway Golf “Hit the Links” and PepsiMax “Test Drive 2” campaigns.