Category Archives: Advertising

Funky & Amazing Food Service Bot

Yesterday’s BrandSquare newsletter featured this amazing innovation in food preparation, packaging and serving that was originally covered in FastCompany:

No idea what the technology costs at scale, but you can see this radicalizing foodservice and small-batch food manufacturing. For more cool hunting around brands, packaging, design and marketing, subscribe to BrandSquare and follow BrandSquare on Twitter.

Is Social Gaming the Future of Employee and Customer Engagement?

According to a May 2011 study by IPSOS conducted for Saatchi & Saatchi, gamification may have an important role in transforming consumer behaviors into new brand loyalty and employee communications, incentive programs and training. Some of the top-line findings:

  1. Ban it or exploit it?
  2. 50% say they play social games at work–guys more than gals 53%/39%–and Tablet owners more than smartphone owners (68%-54%).

  3. Are you as engaging as a game? 57% play social games to pass time when bored–implication, make the workplace and communications more engaging
  4. Give a break or take a break? 39-40% game when alone or in need of a “mindless” break respectively
  5. What motivates: “Discounts” are most compelling incentives for winning a challenge followed by “Social Action” and “Points toward Loyalty Program.” 25% said “Status in Community” was a compelling incentive.–wonder if that would change if bonus compensation and advancement were tied to it?
  6. Express your inner goodness to win: 18-24 year olds most likely to take a salary reduction to work for a socially responsible company.

Here’s the study:


Weekly Round-Up 6/5/2011

It was largely the week of the API for us.

Speaking of killer apps and creativity, something about virtual world hopping into real world engagement pretty much ensures virality on YouTube–4mm views and counting for this top-app, Angry Bird in a T-Mobile video:

Weekly Round-Up 4/17/11

 Round-up of last week’s activities:

adTech Recap

Launched Apps Session

  • Anthem wants to know what apps you covet most and which apps professionals are using everyday to for business and fun. Use the hashtag #AnthemApp to discover, react & share your own favs.

Trends Lunch

Every month Anthem San Francisco hosts a “Trends Lunch” where we discuss emerging trends around us in marketing, design, technology and culutre. It’s an energizing and inspiring mix of show and tell with wtf. I’ll do a separate post on one of our designer’s take on fun with packaging.

  • One of the themes this month was melting displays.  What’s your take on “why the melt-meme?”
  • How much are you willing to spend on household items?  One trend that’s swimming against the recessionary consumer current: make it more expensive. Here’s a $1240 bottle of olive oil from Herrod’s and the most expensive toilet paper out there!
  • There’s talk of a moment in human and computing evolution when the latter gain awareness, called “Singularity.” Feels like we’re almost at an advertising singularity, or at least ubiquity.  Now, you can cash in on this trend if you’re willing to offer up your house as a canvas. There’s a company that will paint your house with an ad and pay for your mortgage, inspiring the following response tweet:


  • Cisco says Flip Video doesn’t align with the five areas the company wants to focus on, so they say goodbye. We think there was writing on the wall with the iPhone that became indelible with the iPad2, the first commercial/accessible device where you can shoot, edit and post your videos on the same platform.

Enchantment Book Review, Slides & Videos

Guy Kawasaki, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions

“I know you would do the same for me.”

These nine words make up an Enchanting thought and principal and are one of the reasons I’m writing this book review for you. Continue reading

2010 SocialGaming Recap

Tim ChangHere’s a Seven-Bullet recap on 2010 for Social Gaming from Tim Chang, Partner at Norwest Venture Partners. Belated posting but it’s great perspective regardless. Tim will be joining me onstage at ad:tech SF on April 12, 2011 for our SocialGaming session. Show up sharp. 🙂

  1. The 1.0 stage of Social Gaming “Train has left the Station.” The explosive growth phase has come, conquered and gone in just about 24-months. To support his point, Chang pointed out:
    • Zynga’s market cap via private placement valuation exceeded that of EA in 2010
    • Traditional, console and PC-based game companies attempted pivots into the SocialGaming space with little success.  Same thing for Social App 1.0 startups that didn’t really have gaming in their DNA (started off as more viral apps, focused on rapid user acquisition)
    • Consolidation happened through studio and game acquisitions (Zynga buying up every sub-scale startup with a good team) as well as larger player acquisitions like Disney’s Playdom catch.  Especially interesting is non-US companies getting more aggressive on the global market: DeNA buying ngmoco, Tencent making many strategic investments in US gaming startups.  Everyone else opening up Silicon Valley-based scouting, BD, and investment offices
    • Two players, Playdom and ngmoco achieved $1.1 billion valuations and exited in barely 2 years
    • There’s still opportunity in social gaming for startups, but if you want to build something more than a small flip to Zynga, then it’s time to innovate Social Gaming 2.0 – e.g. midcore (ala Kabam), new genres (music, social activities as games), deeper gameplay and genres (social MMO RPG? RTS ala Riot Games?  Do some “gaming archaeology” and review the back catalog of great games and mechanics from the golden era of Apple II, C-64, Nintendo SNES for ideas and inspiration for social rewrites…after all, FarmVille was ripoff of FarmTown, which ripped off China’s HappyFarm, which was a social rewrite of the classic Harvest Moon)
  2. Mobile Social Gaming and Rise of Clone Wars—knock-offs abound and mobile becomes a key channel, first with iOS, and next Android
  3. Rise of In-App Purchases (allowing freemium for social gaming) and the Cost Per Install cross-promotion model (e.g. Tapjoy, ngmoco) on iPhone, which never had any of the free virality that Facebook offered.
  4. Death of Free Ride in Virality. Facebook shut off one of the key three legs of the social gaming 1.0 marketing stool (viral invites; cross-promotion; Facebook ads) which increased reliance on the other two legs of the stool which are cross-promotion (favoring those with a giant DAU base already, like Zynga), and Facebook ads (favoring those with huge cash warchests that can afford to spend millions per month on Facebook ads, e.g. Zynga)
  5. Gamification bandwagon. Tim helped to popularize the term and every startup B-Plan now has to have a head nod to the dynamic.  Unfortunately, very few understand the nuances of gamification beyond shallow application of badges and leaderboards, which is already leading to a backlash against the buzzword…
  6. Social Gaming goes global. Countries like Japan and Brazil became hotbeds of development and adoption, as new opportunities for monetization once US Facebook got too difficult to penetrate, and China market proved too fragmented, competitive (Tencent offering you a 10% rev split, or else they’d outright copy you), and small (ARPUs extremely low; top performing social game in China barely able to make $1M USD/month)
  7. Rise of cloud gaming? The “Netflix of Gaming” model didn’t quite pan out per all the hype…initial trials failed to show consumer willingness to convert to subscription…in fact lots of trial users tried out games, and simply went to Gamestop to buy used copies!!

You can catch Tim scribbling these seven points on his notepad and deliver his recap around the 2-minute mark in this clip from “The Future of Social Gaming” event hosted at Google on January 19, 2011.

Other panelists were Kai Huang – CEO & Founder of RedOctane (Guitar Hero–people pretty much bite down on their tongue, wince & thrash an imagined guitar at the mention of his name or in his presence, often uttering “deedledeeedledeerrrr” in homage to this dean); Mike Sego – CEO at Gaia Interactive, Kim-Mai Cutler – Inside Network, and Owais Farooqui – GM at

Weekly Round-Up



Tweet of the week:

The Role of Digital R&D and Experimentation

Agencies will thrive in the future and survive the in-house plus commodity services migration path of marketers by developing capabilities allowing them to keep pace with consumers. They will apply these tools, skills and talents to generating superior insights, inspired manifestations and communications born from these insights and  real-time responsiveness to the market reactions to them. We get there through Digital R&D and Experimentation. I think I can end the post here–that’s my belief, thesis and praxis. Looking forward to sharing how we live it over the coming posts. Credit to PepsiCo’s Bonin Bough for inspiring:

Paraphrasing a quote within: “We’re in a state in marketing where..we need to do more [digital R&D] experimentation. Any executive can have a gut reaction to a TV spot. You can argue that’s b/c they buy a lot of media but most likely its b/c they’re a consumer of advertising and have seen and experimented with a lot of spots. Executives across organizations don’t have that gut reaction to digital and social media. We need to know when you mix Chlorine and Benzine it explodes.”