Cannes Review > Beyond the Horizon

Monday, 20 June. Review for Beyond the Horizon by PHD, presented by Mark Holden , Global Strategy and Planning Director.

The session was consistent with the overall 2011 theme of marketing technology - the role of technology impact in advertising, marketing, and customer experience. Mark did a great job describing a bunch of new tech and putting them in perspective of why they matter for the new consumer.

He opened up stating that there are 1.2 billion people in social networks - no surprise, but the next 1 billion will enter through mobile. We all knew how important mobile is, this is just a reassurance.

Next he explained that what drives technology is us, individuals, humanity. Technology is a human invention to solve human problems, being driven strictly by human needs. Therefore, technology is a consequence of human needs and desires - and what is driving humans? What drives humanity is need for abundance: we want everything, everyone, everywhere - and we won’t stop until we get it.

Following the intro, Mark jumped into multiple categories of technical innovations, grouped by infrastructure, interface, and internet.

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How Technology Changes Us

After my World After Advertising keynote, I had a great interview by Horizon which came out in a print edition back in March 2011. I took me some time to get in translated, but it was totally worth the wait — they did a great job capturing SapientNitro’s thinking on marketing, media, and technology.

SapientNitro mastermind Rob Gonda talks about marketing in the digital age and the declining importance of mass media By Santiago Campillo-Lundbeck

At the World After Advertising conference in Düsseldorf, Rob Gonda tried to shock the public by saying that traditional advertising is dead. In an interview, though, Gonda, who is SapientNitro’s Global Head of Creative Technology, gave us a more complex picture of the communication revolution sparked off by the internet and how marketing has to respond.

Horizon: Your job is to find opportunities worldwide for SapientNitro to creatively use technology in marketing. Why has technology become a strategic issue in digital marketing all of a sudden?

RG: People’s relationship with technology is the critical issue. Technology changes our habits and so it’s only logical that technology also changes the way we see brands. Technology puts new filters between customers and brands.

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Google to Unveil Cloud Music Service

Google Inc. is preparing as early as Tuesday to unveil a new online music service similar to a service recently launched by Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, a move that escalates the battle to create the next generation of Internet businesses for storing and listening to music.

Google, like Amazon, hasn’t secured licenses from the four major recorded-music companies, according to these people, and is likely to include a system that functions much like a remote hard drive. Users of the service are expected to be able to listen to songs they have uploaded to the service in a so-called streaming mode but won’t be able to download the files themselves.

It’s funny how Google follows every amazon stop … Amazon Elastic Computing (EC2) -> Google App Engine … Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) -> Google Storage for Developers … Amazon Cloud Drive / Player -> Google Cloud Drive / Player …

With Google’s amazing track record (of zero) of building friendly services and applications, I don’t expect their music locker to really take off … especially again if it’s based on Google Storage for Developers, which is not being used by any developer.

Google, do you want to really get anywhere with this? Buy Orb, scale it, embed it seamlessly into your cloud, and offer up the first cloud based full media center.

LinkedIn Fables and Fairy Tales

LinkedIn has been recommending me people I might know such as Wizard of In, Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood, the Hatter, J. R. R. Tolkien, Albert Einstein, and others … anyone else noticed LinkedIn went totally ballistic? See enlarged image for yourself, can’t believed I actually felt for their April fool’s joke after posting mine.


Viral Video Friday - Angry Birds The Movie

Apparently Rovio Mobile, the makers of Angry Birds, did not think the success of the most sold puzzle game Angry Birds was big enough. After they already sold more than 2 million Angry Birds plush toys, Rovio plans to expand the Angry Birds brand into other types of merchandise, television shows and now even a movie. Rooster Teeth created this movie trailer which has been watched more than 3 million times in only 3 days! Can’t wait for this movie to come out!

Unreal Time-lapse of the Aurora Borealis

Landscape photographer Terje Sorgjerd spent four years looking to create a timelapse of the aurora borealis — also known as the northern lights —, then finally flew to north Norway and spent a week capturing one of the biggest displays in recent years. The final result is absolutely amazing!

The stills were shot with a Canon 5D Mark II along with the Canon 24mm 1.4, Canon 16-35mm 2.8, and Sigma 12-24mm lenses.

Value of marketing bookmarklet?

The Digital Buzz blog posted today a new campaign by M&M called M&M’s Internet Invasion Game. The game was “developed” by BBDO Denmark, and there are tons of learnings we could get out of this.

1. The M&M’s Space Heroes is actually a straight up copy of the Kick Ass bookmarklet by Erik Andersson, also covered by Wired among other respectable publications. BBDO’s code acknowledges it was inspired by it, though it’s just a copy with new graphics. This is a smart move by BBDO, taking into account they probably did not spend more than a day on development of the microsite and new graphic assets, and charged M&M a substantial margin for coming up with the idea. The code was open source has an Apache 2 license, granting anyone full rights to copy, modify, and distribute for any commercial use, thus BBDO didn’t do anything illegal, it was actually smart — not creative, but smart.

2. Deployment strategy: the code was not optimized, minified, or even deployed to a CDN. I would have expected an agency dealing with Mars food to be a little more thoughtful of brand performance.

3. Tracking. Perhaps the most important point I’d like to make. Due to the fact that bookmarklets are simply plain JavaScript code that runs on a browser, it makes it a little less trivial to track, but far from impossible. Technically speaking, they could have modified the code to add pixel images, a JavaScript timer to update it every few seconds, and could have gathered full analytics tracking total games, unique games, geo-location of players, time spent on site, top referrers, etc.

You should always use a simple rule of thumb: if you can’t measure it, don’t do it.

It is not hard to predict that Mars will ask BBDO how many people played this game? How much time they’ve spent? What’s the most popular site where it was played? How many people shared it? How many people talked about it? … and most likely they won’t get any answers.

So what’s the moral of the story?

  • It’s hard to come up with purely innovative ideas and you should always welcome creative mash-ups and different uses of existing experiences (full copycat perhaps not so much).
  • No matter what you do, always try to improve based on previous cycles, add value, enhance the experience, bring something unique to the table.
  • Always, but always, track and measure results.

The World After Advertising

I was asked to give the opening keynote at The World After Advertising conference in Düsseldorf, Germany, back in November 2010; where I presented a PoV on the future of advertising and the digital landscape - focusing heavily on user experience driven by data & technology.

The keynote covers relations between people and brands, the evolution of the digital consumer, the evolution of technology and how it changed us, an introduction to contextual computing, adaptive experiences, the Internet of Things, and a few predictions for the next 5 years.

The events was recorded, but I have not managed to get the official video — luckily for us, someone at the front row recorded the entire keynote from their phone.

Find below the full video recording, slides, and an amazing infographic an artist made live while listening to my keynote.

YouTube Full Video Recording:

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Diminished Reality - Remove Objects from Videos

Ever heard of diminished reality? It’s much like the augmented reality, except instead of using computers to add visuals, it’s about taking things out in real time.

That easy enough with a still image, perhaps, but not so simple with video… Technical University of Ilmenau’s figured it out, just draw a circle around the object you want to disappear and it practically disappears as the image synthesizer reduces the quality of the image drastically, removes your target and re-enhances in just 40 milliseconds per frame, using object tracking algorithms and guesswork to maintain the illusion as a camera moves around in 3D space. The framework’s presently running on Windows, but the team says they have plans to port it to Android soon.

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