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By: Eric Hamblett

From June 27 to September 7, Boingo Wireless and Google Offers is bringing free WiFi to over 200 locations in New York City. This is the first stage of a large roll out strategy by Boingo. Over the course of one year they intend to bring WiFi to approximately 36 stations, including Times Square, Rockefeller Center and Columbus Circle. In the next five years, they anticipate having WiFi available in all 270 stations, which has potential to reach 1.6 billion passengers annually! With hotspots covering the city, it will be interesting to follow the prevalence of mobile apps in the lifestyles of NYC residents.

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By: Eric Hamblett
Rock the Vote, a not-for-profit organization, plans to register 1.5 million voters using QR codes. This is an agressive campaign, however the organization has made the process incredibly seamless. They are distributing QR embedded apparel online as well as at Whole Foods stores. The premise is that each individual wearing the product becomes a ‘mobile hotspot.’ Other people can scan the individual code and be directed to the a vote registry page. Aside from being bullied on the sidewalk, this may be the most creative approach I’ve seen to registering lazy young folks.

By: Eric Hamblett

Rock the Vote, a not-for-profit organization, plans to register 1.5 million voters using QR codes. This is an agressive campaign, however the organization has made the process incredibly seamless. They are distributing QR embedded apparel online as well as at Whole Foods stores. The premise is that each individual wearing the product becomes a ‘mobile hotspot.’ Other people can scan the individual code and be directed to the a vote registry page. Aside from being bullied on the sidewalk, this may be the most creative approach I’ve seen to registering lazy young folks.

By: Eric Hamblett

MINI has opened 10 new stores in Paris, but these shops are on the go! Unlike traditional brick and mortar showrooms, MINI is bringing their latest models directly to consumers. They have placed ‘MINI Store’ signs atop designated cars to let Parisians know they can take them for a spin. Inside the vehicles, brochures and a salesman patiently await. This creative campaign is solidifying MINI as an urban brand and also increasing access points to their products.

View video here.

By: Eric Hamblett

YouTube wants to create a formal revenue stream for its most dedicated creators and is launching marketplace to do so. Since 2007, the company has partnered with users via shared ad revenue and today thousands of channels are generating over six figures. In this new marketplace, a selected group of users will be able to create profiles with their work history. Advertisers and agencies will then be able to search using unique keywords. Once a creator is found, the advertiser and creator will be able to negotiate a work contract and YouTube will take no part in these transactions. Small businesses are set to gain the most from this, as they do not normally have big budget resources. We can’t wait to see the next generation of YouTube stars!

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By: Eric Hamblett

Following its Board of Governors meeting, the NBA has tentatively approved placing advertisement patches on team uniforms. They are planned to be sewn on the shoulder area of jerseys and be implemented for the 2013-14 season. NBA Deputy Commissioner, Adam Silver, reported that the ads could generate at least $100 million for the NBA and its 30 teams. This decision will make the NBA the first of four major sport leagues in America to accept sponsorships on uniforms. Fan reactions are ranging from anger to acceptance and it will be interesting to see who ends up bidding for the ads. It is unlikely the corporations that own stadiums will be happy with other companies printing their logos on jerseys, which are such a focal point of the game.

Tags: NBA, Advertising, Sponsorship

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By: Eric Hamblett

A new collaboration between CNN and Facebook is set to make voting more social. The two are creating an application named “I’m Voting” that will enable Facebook users to endorse specific candidates and issues. Users can commit to voting for a candidate and then have this information displayed on their timeline and news feed. CNN hosts are expected to use the app as a “second screen” and poll users on issues real time. While the app does not allow users to actually vote, it is a new way to track voters’ sentiments and create awareness. Do you think social media will play a role in your decision process this November?

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By: Eric Hamblett



For many, there is nothing better than a cup or shot of Nespresso in the morning. Now, if you purchase the latest Pixie machine from the company you can feel even better about your choice. The aluminum on the machine is made with 98% recycled capsules! This is a creative move for Nespresso, as they are reusing waste and reducing environmental impact. Dubbed a “mini-revolution in eco design,” it will be interesting to see how the product is used in marketing efforts.

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By: Eric Hamblett

According to a recent report by Gartner, global revenues from social media are set to grow 43.1% in 2012 and reach $16.9 billion. Advertising leads the surge with $8.8 billion, followed by social gaming contributing $6.2 billion. Subscriptions are the third most successful, accounting for $278 million. What is interesting about these figures is that the U.S. commands around 53% of the revenues. While social media ad spend will continue to rise, overall growth rate will decline by 2014, but still remain higher than 10%.

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By: Eric Hamblett

IKEA has been taking strong steps to position itself as the go-to source for moving and furnishing. One of their recent campaigns in Montreal, Canada has just won the company a North American Gold Effie — yet the increased customer engagement was the real prize. Partnering with ad agency Leo Burnett Toronto, IKEA decided to help everyday city folk during a popular moving day. They put up cardboard posters around the city that could transform into moving boxes. The cardboard included unique copyright, discounts on new furniture and moving tips. As a result of the campaign, store traffic in the area has risen by 14% and sales by 24.5%! This is proof that understanding the fundamental needs of customers can go a long way. What other companies have you seen provide free value?

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Bing Starts TV Campaign Challenging Google

By: Eric Hamblett

Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, is throwing itself into the spotlight and calling out arch rival Google. Using a campaign named “Bing it On,” the company is creating an internet version of the Pepsi Challenge. Through a combination of a TV ad and an online challenge, Bing wants to prove they yield higher quality results. The challenge is essentially a blind search, where people can type in whatever they want, compare results and then pick which engine is the most successful. While Google commands 69% of search market share and Microsoft only 29%, this is a great way to get people thinking about their online activity. 

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By: Eric Hamblett

Kellogs has just launched an innovative marketing campaign at their new pop up shop in London. Named the “Kellogg’s Tweet Shop,” the company is giving away free bags of their new Special K chips in exchange for a positive tweet on Twitter. Visitors have the choice of picking one of three template tweets to send out, or they can craft their own. Brand manager Sarah Case is excited about the campaign because she says Kellogs is the “first company to literally use social currency instead of financial currency to launch a new product.” It will be interesting to see how other companies harness the power of positive endorsements, and if they can gain similar PR exposure in the process. 

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By: Eric Hamblett



A report from the Wesleyan Media Project has revealed that TV ads in the current presidential race carry substantially more negative remarks than previous campaigns. Compared to the 2008 election, whose ads were 40% negative, the current race amounts to 75%. This is also drastically higher than the 34% in 2004 and 18% in 2000. As we near voting, it is interesting to note how aggressive the attention shifts from positive personal endorsement to negative opponent slandering. Between September 9 and 30 of this year, less than 8% of ads were positive!

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By: Eric Hamblett

In a study published from data aggregator, Starcount, Samsung leads all brands in social media engagement. The company recently released two products, the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note 10.0. They poured record marketing budgets into them and the buzz has certainly picked up. On YouTube alone, Samsung received over 8 million hits last week. The Galaxy Note promo video received 2.5 million of those. Despite ongoing disputes with Apple, Samsung’s PR and marketing do not appear weak.

Starcount measures social popularity by using metrics from 11 networks. This infographic depicts their results and also reveals two other interesting trends. Amazon’s Facebook activity exploded this month and Red Bull broke 30 million fans on the social network. 

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By: Eric Hamblett

Auto companies Ford and GM are allowing software developers to create applications that run on their car infotainment systems. The reasoning for exploring the new onboard technology is marketing driven. Ford and GM want to attract younger buyers, and bleeding the ‘app’ experience into cars allows their product to be an extension of already popular tools. In response to this news, I could not help but think about the popular analogy: “Why can’t we take as good care of our bodies as we do of our cars?”

I began thinking about how marketing driven health-tech companies could use the body as a playground for apps. How could the living experience benefit from internal technology? Putting research aside, what consumer apps could be created and implanted in our organs, blood stream, even hands and feet? Imagine newborns being implanted with Nike+ chips to track physical progress.

The reality is closer than you may think. A company named PositiveID Corporation has already developed an advanced biochip that can monitor health by tracking measurements such as temperature, blood pressure and sugar levels. Yet, the device was pulled in 2007 after identical implants in lab animals caused cancer. Similarly, from a safety perspective Ford and GM cannot allow potentially hazardous apps to entire vehicle systems.

Where and when will we find the balance between healthcare and implanted consumer technology? While there are thousands of medications that pay subjects for clinical studies, I have yet to see one that relies on gamification elements. From tattoos to piercings and plastic surgery, I predict the human race will continue having fun with its body. It will be interesting to see if this creates more reliance on technology or instead pushes it away because of health or information security issues.