With new technology called "near-field communications" (NFC), you could use a mobile phone to make purchases, buy tickets, store receiepts, use gift crds & grocery cards, or even download a movie trailer from a poster.
The technology uses RFID, chips with radio tags built into mobiles phones.
In April, the regional transport authority for Frankfurt, Germany said it had successfully completed a 10-month trial of NFC technology in which commuters could use their cell phones as mass-transit passes or to buy tickets directly.
Similar technology is used in electronic highway toll systems, such as Fast Lane Pass, but this will be a true integration with people's mobile phone.
Vivendi Universal, the world's biggest music group, has signed a deal to make its music catalogue available on a free legal downloads service called Spiral Frog.
Under the agreement, Spiral Frog will offer Universal's songs online free in the US and Canada. The NY-based start-up will launch its service in December and under the agreement will offer Universal's songs online free.
Spiral Frog will make its money by offering ad-supported legal downloads of music & video content licensed from major & independent labels.
The company will take on market leader Apple's iTunes service, which charges 99 cents per song in the US.
"Offering young consumers an easy-to-use alternative to pirated music sites will be compelling," Spiral Frog CEO Robin Kent said.
MySpace is actively considering whether to launch an ink-on-paper magazine to complement its insanely popular online site. The editorial mix would likely cover standout MySpace members and their interests in music, comedy and social scenes.
MySpace is looking at potential business models for a print version, the most likely of which would see a MySpace Magazine published by the crew at NYLON magazine -- the hip music and fashion title edited by Marvin Scott Jarrett.
Nylon and MySpace have worked together before -- the two partnered in May to bring the magazine's 7th annual "Music Issue" online with interactive features.
MySpace is MTV for the web. Now MTV wants in. MTV Flux is the music brand's attempt at building a social network, launched earlier this month.
MTV Flux is planned as a tie-in with the soon-to-launch Flux TV channel, allowing users to upload videos and see them on TV (just like the US cable channel Current TV).
Users can also create an avatar and profile page, upload images, add friends to your network, write a blog and post to the message boards. Users can build their own Manga-style Avatar to represent them - it seems the idea is to create merchandising opportunities for these avatars and to use them on mobile devices.
Two more big brands are creating a presence inside the virtual online world of Second Life:
Sneaker maker ADIDAS has plans to reach out to SL residents with products in the virtual world to get feedback on what the Adidas and Reebok brands mean to them.
The Adidas catchphrase “Impossible is Nothing,” for instance, will become a means of finding out just what “impossible” means to the SL market segment — where the word has an entirely different meaning from anywhere else.
Prototype shoes may also be released in the virtual world, and it’s possible that residents may even be able to alter these designs as part of the feedback loop.
TOYOTA also announced it will give residents virtual versions of its cars, namely of the youth targeted SCION brand. Virtual product placement.
Japanese low cost casual wear company UNIQLO will deliver pop-up retail stores constructed from a ship's cargo containers to various locations in Manhattan during Labor Day weekend. The exterior of the container stores is made from corrugated metal, while the inside is fitted with shelves.
The container stores, which are arriving from Tokyo, will be transported from the pier on flatbed trucks, then lifted by cranes and placed on streets throughout New York. Merchandise in the container stores will vary to reflect the demographics of each neighborhood.
The stores will be a precursor to the October opening of UNIQLO's 36,000 sq ft flagship store in SoHo.
Levi's announced its new line of RedWire DLX Jeans, which are designed for iPods. The jeans feature a built-in iPod docking cradle pocket, joystick controller and retractable headphones.
...designer denim for the digerati.
A white leather patch and joystick, bluffed back pockets with hidden stitching, and minimalist buttons and rivets allude to the iPod’s famously pure design. Fashion & technology fused as one.
A special joystick is built into the jeans’ watch pocket, with four-way controls to allow the wearer to play, pause, track forward, track back and adjust the volume control without ever removing the iPod from the pocket. An iPod docking cradle is housed within a side pocket. Levi’s designed the pocket so that the iPod bulge is “virtually eliminated.”
GM is engaging its audience by publishing photos on popular photo sharing site FLICKR.
Their marketing team is pushing lots of great unique rarely seen photos to a public Flickr gallery and pulling in photos from the gearhead community too. The photos are more than "car porn" but unique and rarely seen photos covering car events, retro cards, new models and futuristic prototypes.
Other companies could share some of their corporate visual content with the outside world. The reality is that people are going to take a brand's online content anyway, so why not do it in a way which engages your fan base, encourages participation & community, and rewards good judgment & creativity?
Aspiring superheroes can re-stock their secret underground lair, trick out their utility belt and even purchase anti-matter at the Brooklyn Superhere Supply Co in Park Slope. It’s like Costco for Superheroes.
But despite the grappling hooks and underwear-on-the-outside costumes, the true genius of the operation is tucked behind the store, hidden behind a secret bookshelf...
The not so discreet superhero retail store is actually a front for an after school tutoring facility known as 826NYC. Modeled after 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing lab and tutoring center in San Francisco, 826NYC is dedicated to helping students, ages 6-18, develop their creative writing skills.
The overwhelmingly enticing storefront is the perfect incentive to get kids to stop by and see what the center has to offer. Its a unique brand story that draws people into a compelling & meticulously detailed experience.
As part of a campaign for local search engine Yell.com, the company is running special video ads on the sides of buses that use GPS to change the advertising message displayed based upon the bus's location or the area its traveling through.
The approach delivers local information that's relevant to a person's location, which is the business premise of Yell.com. Its a smart use of outdoor to be very localized and could be used for contextual campaigns.
New York City is such a wonderful urban tapestry of cement to play on. IKEA made "everyday fabulous" for New Yorkers when it went design-crazy on the city in preparation for Design Week.
Some of the 650 colorful outdoor "stunts" over the five-day period included placing sofas and curtains in bus shelters, putting blankets and picnic baskets with bottled water in parks, placing pillows on the bottom of slides to protect kid's bottoms, framing a missing cat flier, adding padded park benches to Union Square, and oven mitts were placed on the No. 6 train.
"Good design can make the everyday a little better," said the tag line. Deutsch created the campaign. More photos at the link.
Inspired by Eero Aarnio's "Ball Chair" from 1963, the Comfort Sphere is a new concept in exhibition space that creates an intimate presentation space with the latest hi-fi equipment. Once you sit in it, a curved metialic arm wraps around you and displays high-end audio and visual entertainment. In this all consuming space the senses are literally seduced.
The Sphere was created by Volkswagon for tradeshows and a winner of the Red Dot Design award.
Exhibits, retail spaces and tradeshows are becoming more important as brands are creating more immersive and personal experiences.
16-year-old Bree is the reigning queen of the personal confession video on YouTube, with a million cumulative views of the dozen or so webcam confessionals she has uploaded in the last month.
She goes by the handle "Lonelygirl15", she's telegenic and its mostly sincere ramblings about feeling different, parent problems, and a burgeoning interest in boys. Then there are thousands of video responses and tens of thousands of comments that showcase a mixture of sympathy, creativity, and teen sarcasm.
Her "15 megabytes of fame" is almost over but her success underscores several truths about speaking to a youth audience through video:
• Authenticity is paramount for teens: The debate rages about whether lonelygirl's videos are a true bedroom production or are professionally produced. Dozens of viewers have offered detailed theories of a marketing hoax. But regardless, it's the feeling of looking right into her life that has viewers fascinated.
• Peer interest and approval creates an exponential effect: The community component of YouTube is an overlooked aspect of the site's success. So much attention is paid to the quality of content. But real stickiness comes from generating video responses, comments, and subscriptions. Even in her choice of name, lonelygirl's musings invite the community to participate.
• Gen Y girls embrace technology, particularly when it creates opportunities for social connection: It's time to stop thinking of boys as the leading adopters of consumer technologies. Teen girls are constantly linked to their friends, by text message, IM, their cell phone, their MySpace page. Today's L.A. Times reports that girls ages 12 to 14 are more likely to multi-task than boys of their age group, and are the most enthusiastic about viewing content on iPods, laptops and cellphones.
Polo Ralph Lauren has unveiled a unique way to shop in at its stores, allowing customers to complete purchases by interacting with and tapping a glass window of the building, and is testing the idea at the flagship location in New York.
A projector beams 67 inches worth of Ralph Lauren's latest threads onto the store's window, while a "thin touch foil" mounted on the glass powers the touchscreen. Apparently customers can shop around the clock by just tapping images of the clothing they want and swiping their credit cards on the wall-mounted card reader.
The company plans to keep the display up and running through September 10th, after which a decision will be made based on its success (or lack thereof) to either nix the windows shopping experiment or introduce it into more stores.
This may be the perfect way to capitalize on impulse buying, access other information, pre-order things and access all sorts of other experiences at retail. Who says retail marketing can't be sexy?
Above is Brain Sells as Web DNA art. You can input the URL of any site and get back a graphical representation of its "DNA". Its inspired by a company that creates amazing artwork using human DNA. Web DNA is based on the codes, script, tags, flash and images on your site and in your programing code. Not sure what any of that means but its pretty cool to compare sites.
Henry Jenkins, director of MIT's Comparative Media Studies Program, has written a new book: "Convergency Culture" about the intersection of new & old media and individual & corporate media.
He takes us into the secret world of Survivor Spoilers, where avid internet users pool their knowledge to unearth the show’s secrets before they are revealed on the air. He introduces us to young Harry Potter fans who are writing their own Hogwarts tales while executives at Warner Brothers struggle for control of their franchise. He shows us how The Matrix has pushed transmedia storytelling to new levels, creating a fictional world where consumers track down bits of the story across multiple media channels.
Jenkins argues that struggles over convergence will redefine the face of American popular culture. Industry leaders see opportunities to direct content across many channels to increase revenue and broaden markets. At the same time, consumers envision a liberated public sphere, free of network controls, in a decentralized media environment.
Diamonds are no longer a girl's best friend, according to a new U.S. study that found three of four women would prefer a new plasma TV to a diamond necklace.
The survey, commissioned by cable television's Oxygen Network found the technology gender gap has virtually closed with the majority of women snapping up new technology and using it easily.
Women were found on average to own 6.6 technology devices while men own 6.9, and four out of every five women felt comfortable using technology with 46 percent doing their own computer trouble-shooting.
The "Girls Gone Wired" survey of 1,400 women and 700 men aged 15 to 49, which was conducted by market researcher TRU, found that given the choice, women would opt for tech items rather than luxury items like jewelry or vacations.
The study found 77 percent of women surveyed would prefer a new plasma television to a diamond solitaire necklace and 56 percent would opt for a new plasma TV over a weekend vacation in Florida.
Even shoes lost out. The study found 86 percent would prefer a new digital video camera to a pair of designer shoes.
The study found over the next five years women see themselves increasing their activities in six tech areas: digital cameras, cell phones, e-mail, camera phones, text messaging and instant messaging.
The Toyota Yaris is the hot new car on the radar, making waves among young consumers for several reasons:
1) CREATIVE MARKETING: Our panelists love the TV ads, which veer from traditional car commercials with Pixar-influenced animation. They are fun and creative, yet their message is straightforward: Yaris is inexpensive, Yaris is mp3-ready, Yaris is fuel efficient.
2) COOL VALUE: Fuel efficiency is becoming a key selling point for young people strapped for cash – when asked “what you would buy with $25 for your room,” some panelists respond “I’d put it in my gas tank.” The Yaris’ low price point and fuel efficiency bring value to their stylish approach, which includes promotions that connect with local arts communities. The YarisWorks website invites consumers to submit photos of creativity in their everyday lives (e.g. tattoos, gardening) – the photos are displayed on the site and the top 20 entries from select cities were displayed in local gallery openings. Yaris is taking cues from the Scion’s successes; panelists have mentioned attending similar events sponsored by Scion.
3) ENVIRONMENTALISM: For some, buying a small, fuel efficient car is an environmental decision. Green blog Treehugger suggests Yaris as an affordable alternative to hybrids (touting it as “one of the first cars in the small car revival”) saying at nearly half the cost of a hybrid, it’s an accessible alternative for young treehuggers. In response to the Treehugger review, Yaris owners replied by pointing out that the $150 saved in gas for a month is half of their car payment – not a bad payoff for environmental foresight.
Google today outbid Yahoo, Ask and MSN to win a deal with News Corp for $900 million over three years that will allow Google to place text & video ads throughout MySpace as well as handle all search on MySpace and other News Corp sites.
The deal is a shiny payoff for News Corp's aggressive strategy for internet acquisitions. News Corp bought MySpace for $649 million.
MySpace had 50 million users in June of this year and as of today it has reached 100 million users.
Indeed, the sheer size of the MySpace audience presents a challenge for potential providers of advertising. There are so many pages on which to display ads that there may not be enough demand for them from advertisers, leading to low prices.
Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, said the company had decided that it would not display ads on every page.
“We are not going to cover MySpace with ads,” he said, noting that Google carefully analyzes what sort of ads encourage users to click on what sort of pages to produce the most revenue.
“It turns out the right answer is to show fewer, better ads.”
Google is set to enter the satellite radio business following a deal with XM Satellite Radio announced today.
According to a joint-press release "Google's technology automatically schedules and inserts advertising across XM's non-music commercial channels, helping to increase revenue with a wealth of new advertisers, while decreasing the costs previously associated with processing advertisements."
Also announced today was that Google & Firefox have signed a distribution deal with RealNetworks to distribute the Firefox browser software and Google Toolbar through RealPlayer.
"Ever wondered what it would be like to walk through your digital photos in 3D or see what hundreds of other people shot at the same location?"
That's Microsoft's one liner about their new program Photosynth currently in-development. The program combines your digital photos with 3D virtual world mapping.
In the video they show an example of a series of standards photos of St. Mark's Square in Venice. Photosynth stiches those photos together into a 3D virtual space, which you can zoom through.
There's also "collective intelligence" and collaboration bit to ths in that it can creates these worlds through not only your photos but from the photos of thousands of other people all over the world.
This program could hit hard against Flickr's community/collaboration and even Google's satellite mapping technology.