Here’s some out-of-the-box thinking that helps keep our industry fresh and inspired. Lionsgate films recently ran a promotion for its new thriller “The Last Exorcist,” using the popular website, Chatroullete.com. Online users cruise the website to videochat with random people, mainly men hoping to find a girl who will show them some skin and other men who do all the showing themselves. Capitalizing on their knowledge of Chatroulette.com’s users, Lionsgate entices them with an image of a woman who seems to be about to bare her chest. Just as she is about to show them what they want to see, the woman puts her head down. When she resurfaces the woman’s face is distorted, as if possessed by a demon, then she lunges at the screen. After the scary clip, the website for the film is displayed onscreen to the shocked Chatrouletters. This is a great example of a marketer getting creative about how to reach its target audience, although we suspect that the movie is getting more buzz from people talking about the frightening promotion, than the promotion itself.

Internet dating has never been a simple matter. In fact, unless you were willing to pay for expensive dating sites, Craigslist or other similar platforms were the usual route for the relationship-challenged. VisualFriend is a new iPhone app that aims to revolutionize online dating by calling on iPhone to facilitate video dates between users, using Apple’s Facetime functionality. How does it work? From the VisualFriend’s website: “Meet friends, share information, flirt…” Put simply, users can view pictures of other members, chat in interactive chat-rooms, and exchange digits with that special someone they are interested in pursuing via Facetime. So it’s essentially a more selective version of Chatroulette.com, hopefully sans exhibitionists. The service is free, and we are watching closely to see what kind of results dials up among the singles crowd.

At the Mega Diner, the waitress is mega hot, and she’s serving up a mega-brand. Adidas recently launched its Mega Diner interactive website, where users place their orders with Flo the waitress, who then has the chef cook up your favorite…..well, pair of shoes. Different responses to her questions causes her to bring you a different meal, I mean pair of sneakers. Customers can then inspect the shoes, order them, and of course, share on Facebook. The web interface is great and provides a stable platform for engaging consumers with content that they want. As the trend of targeting consumers via brand-generated content continues to grow online, we are watching closely for what will come next.
As if pulled from a scene in a spy thriller, Unilever’s Omo brand detergent will be tracking its Brazilian customers to their homes using GPS. The promotion, “Try Something New with Omo,” aims to increase the buzz about the stain-fighting mix, rather than directly increase its sales. Bullet, the brand’s promotions agency, has placed GPS tracking devices in 50 boxes of the popular detergent, which will let the company track the lucky customers. Once the locations of the boxes and consumers are known, special teams will be dispatched to those sites. When the winning purchasers are identified, the teams will provide them with video cameras and ask them to film their day at a Unilever-sponsored family event. A website (experimentealgonovo.br.com) will go live this month (August), that features a map of the winners’ locations, and video of them taken with the free cameras provided by the brand. Known for its “dirt is good” campaign, Omo urges parents to let their kids have fun, and let the detergent take care of the dirt. We can’t wait to get the dirt on the buzz this campaign creates and the possible outcomes that clean laundry will reveal.

As we kick off a new week we thought it would be cool to highlight another example of augmented reality (AR).

Think of how in the future AR will be able to impact sales or even change the consumer shopping experience.

We’ve all heard about the cutting-edge developments in the world of Augmented Reality (AR). But, now that this trend is starting to surface more as part of mainstream we wanted to showcase how major brands are incorporating AR in order to engage consumers.

For those of you living underneath a rock for the past couple of years AR is simply a live direct (or indirect) view of the physical world, whose elements are altered using computer-generated virtual imagery. This technology was originally confined to the military realm of display systems. And, it was later adopted by TV broadcasting stations in the form of displaying the yellow line that marks the first down in sporting events such as football. Now, we are starting to see innovation coming from big brands who don’t necessarily have a background in technology.

Take the iPhone app – Scoops of Happiness – by Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream. This app comes with a feature called “Moo Vision,” where consumers can point their iPhone camera at selected ice cream containers, and see a 3D image in their camera display. And they aren’t the only ones serving up these exciting treats. Doritos recently shot an AR stunt (see video above) where the brand reveals a dancing mascot on roof top in Brazil. Even General Motors is currently working on an AR program that will help drivers in bad weather.

As AR uses advance, something tells us that we should keep our eyes open and smart phone cameras ready…chance are, we haven’t seen anything yet.


A new trend has major retailers and social media giants like YouTube trying to cash in.

What is it?

Shopping haul videos – the act of an individual showcasing and reviewing items that they purchased online for the world to see via social media networks such as YouTube. Take a look at the video, which we posted above. It was featured on ABC’s Good Morning America on July 14th, 2010.

Talk about the convergence of word of mouth, user generated content and social media all being produced into unofficial commercials. It’s definitely something to keep an eye out especially because one has to wonder if this is the future of commercials or even sponsored programming.