Weekly Round-Up: December 6th

Uncategorized December 7, 2013 5:43 am

*Every Friday, I put together a round-up of newsworthy articles I’ve read over the week over on R/GA FutureVision. Let me know if I’ve missed something, and happy reading!

Industry Updates

  • Cyber Monday sales grew 21% from 2012, largely driven by mobile. Maybe if making purchases in-store was easier, like with the help of digital wallets, Black Friday would have been more successful. A new study shows that trust still lags for digital wallets; providers should look to brands like Starbucks who have successfully rolled out mobile wallet solutions for guidance on how to build a solution that consumers will adopt.

  • The YotaPhone, the dual-faced smartphone that features an e-ink display as well as a colored LCD screen, finally goes on sale. Should Apple and Samsung be concerned?

  • TV is dead. Long live TV. According to Nielsen, Americans are actually watching more TV than ever– it’s just not live. With DVRs, VOD, and streaming services, consumers are in control of their timetable, which is eroding the power of prime-time. This shift in control to consumers means live events will gain even more importance for advertisers (look to this week’s live Sound of Music ratings for proof), and could quite possibly, rewire culture.

Marketing & Communications

  • Ad targeting (and retargeting) was in the news this week with Twitter and Apple making significant announcements. Twitter launched tailored audiences, a service that will allow brands to target ads based on a follower’s web browsing activity, and Apple announced the acquisition of Twitter partner Topsy. With the acquisition, Apple gains access to every tweet since 2006. Although the company didn’t announce how it planned to leverage the data, many are speculating that it will be used to improve targeting on iTunes radio. Could Apple be using its trusted brand to take over where Twitter failed with its own #Music service, which was supposed to suggest songs based on real-time popularity?

  • Facebook admitted it’s getting harder for brands to reach fans through organic reach. Deepening the blow was the announcement that Facebook is also tweaking its news feed to focus on content discovery, and will suggest additional related articles under posts. With the influx of content, it’s clear that it is increasingly difficult to stand out amongst the sea of noise on the platform.

  • Chances are, you’ve read at least one article on Gawker this month. Inside editor Neetzan Zimmerman’s process in making a post go viral.

  • And unless you live under a rock, you’ve also seen ‘Ron Burgundy’ in a Dodge Durango ad, at your local liquor store, or making a cameo on a local news station. How Anchorman 2 is changing how movies are marketed.

FutureVision Focus On: Drones

How will commercial drones become an integral part of our everyday lives? If Jeff Bezos has his way, drones could soon disrupt our current mailing system. After the announcement of ‘Amazon Prime Air’ on Sunday’s 60 Minutes, the web has been abuzz with discussion over the potential uses of commercial drones. Amazon isn’t making waves because it is the first company to plan to utilize drones– on FutureVision we’ve covered stunts like taco-carrying drones as well as more practical applications, like using drones for remote mail delivery in China, and for delivering life-saving equipment to heart attack victims in Germany.

But Amazon’s endeavor is potentially the largest in scale in the burgeoning field of commercial drones, and the announcement is stirring conversation about how UAVs promise to disrupt more than just how goods are delivered. Drones are already being used to transform map making, to help Hollywood filmmakers and TV executives to get new overhead shots, and to motivate runners. Drones could even ‘enable the end of ownership,’ and further spur the sharing economy.

Of course, Amazon’s plan for ‘Prime Air’ as well as other applications for commercial drones will have to be cleared by the FAA before they can launch in the US. But expect conversations around drones- and robotics in general- to only heat up from here. In fact, days after Amazon’s announcement,Google countered with news of a newly launched robotics endeavor.

Holiday Spotlight & 2013 Roundups:

The end of 2013 is drawing near, which means two things: holiday campaigns are in overdrive, as are 2013 roundups. We’ll feature the best of both until the New Year!

Holiday spotlight:

  • Many brands are taking advantage of 3D printing to make gifts for fans. GE declared December 3rd National 3D Printing Day, partnering with celebrities to design limited edition 3D printed holiday gifts. The promotion was well-received while remaining on-brand for GE, showing the possibilities of 3D printing in manufacturing. PNC also leveraged 3D printing for their annual Christmas Price Index. For the past 30 years, PNC has totaled the cost of purchasing every item on the ‘12 Days of Christmas’ list. Not surprisingly, nine ladies dancing, five gold rings, and a partridge in a pear tree don’t come cheap; this year, everything on the list would cost over $27K. Presumably due to the high cost of distributing the items, PNC has never done a giveaway. But thanks to 3D printing, fans could create their own toy versions of turtle doves, geese, and even ladies dancing. A great way for PNC to continue to evolve their index.

  • Ugly holiday sweaters have become quite the cultural phenomenon, and advertisers have taken note. Coke Zero is challenging fans to design the ugliest possible sweater; the designs with the most ‘likes’ will be turned into actual sweaters. Budweiser wants to has unveiled a hashtag-powered sweater knitting machine as part of a ‘Celebrate Responsibly’ campaign. The more people that tweet with #jumper4des, the more sweaters that will be made for fans.

2013 Roundups:

  • Tumblr has posted their 2013 year in review; browse the top viral blogs, most reblogged fashion and style posts, and read the top news of the year, mostly in GIF format.

  • Spotify reviews the year in music. Among the standard top album and tracks of the year lists, fun tidbits like the following: people in NYC listen to Jay-Z 88% more than the rest of the world. DJ Earworm also releases his annual United States of Pop mashup.

  • Looking past 2013, Unruly Media’s ‘Viral Spiral’ highlights the most shared branded videos of the past eight years.

  • And NPR takes a break from the list format, creating a ‘Book Concierge’ of the top titles of 2013. A nice compliment to the NY Times article, The Allure of the Print Book.

Long Reads:

  • Which seat should you pick at the movie theater? It’s actually a science.

  • Learn how Microsoft is encouraging researchers to think more creatively with its new Artist in Residence Program.

  • Polygon has a great read on video game marketing and the stereotype that girls don’t play video games.

  • Check out the new series by Planet Money that traces the complex process of making an ordinary cotton T-Shirt.

  • The importance of the NY Times: more than just providing the morning’s headlines, its archives could help predict disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and geopolitical events.

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