Helping execute a Super Bowl ad campaign is, of course, on the bucket list of many advertising professionals, and I count myself lucky to have touched the campaigns I have in my career. The reality, though, is that the Super Bowl bar continues to rise in terms of brands creating a multifaceted experience. No marketer has the luxury of stopping with a Super Bowl ad anymore. With the over four-million-dollar cost of entry, the responsibility is real to craft innovative consumer engagement opportunities (e.g., contest, call to action) to complement the game day spot investment. Clever, headline-grabbing, real-time content and organic social participation featuring lots of positive buzz about the ad are also musts.
What’s a social strategist to do?
If you’ve been to CES you know before you have a chance to unpack or fully process the overwhelming number of innovations, ideas and connections you’ve just made, the first question that everyone asks is “What was the coolest thing you saw at CES?” or “what was the one thing that really blew your mind?” So, let’s just cut to the chase right here and now and ask the GSD&M squad who spent the week in Vegas what was the one thing that they remember most. It can be a specific innovation from the show floor or a key takeaway or idea that inspired them.
Another day of pounding the pavement at CES 2015 has uncovered more exciting innovations that are on the horizon and huge potential to trigger fundamental shifts in consumer behavior in a variety of categories. As marketers, it’s important for us to keep our pulse on how these shifts in behavior open up exciting ways to engage and provide value for consumers.
We heard a great description of CES from a CNET tour guide that sums up the show so far. “CES 2015 is the intersection of the Internet of Things and Big Data”. So the opportunity for us is to ask ourselves how we make all of this data actionable. As Shelly Palmer stated in an innovation breakfast event yesterday, how will not only consumers’ behavior change, but our behavior change (as marketers) based on the data sets being created by what you see on the CES showroom floor? It’s a paradigm shift in the way we think about technology and how it serves our needs as marketers.
The CES 2015 showroom officially opened today with, what resembled, Black Friday Door Busters as the velvet rope dropped to release throngs of eager tech enthusiasts onto the floor. The first day is always filled with anticipation to see tomorrow’s technology in action.
The GSD&M team is on the ground at CES tweeting and posting in real-time, but we wanted to take a moment to ask some of our team for three words to describe CES on Day One.
Well, the holidays are over and as everyone prepares to get back to the normal work routine, GSD&M is heading to Vegas! The Consumer Electronics Show, aka gadget mania in the city that never sleeps, may not be the ideal transition from two weeks of Netflix marathons and lazy afternoon naps, but I can’t think of a better way to kick off the year and get energized for an exciting year of technology innovation.
I feel privileged to be a part of a group of attendees from GSD&M, whose leadership recognizes the importance of this annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas to build on our expertise on the convergence of creativity and technology. As a consumer-centered business, it’s more important than ever that we understand and celebrate what’s “next” in short and long-term innovations and the Internet of Things that are increasingly taking center stage in consumers’ daily lives.
I was thrilled to see Amy Cuddy, social psychologist, back in the headlines. I saw her speak at SXSW 2014, and her presentation on Power Posing and how the body can change the mind really inspired me. And she inspired millions with her TED Talk on the subject in 2012. Amy asserts that by simply tweaking our posture, we can transform the way we feel about ourselves. This is not about cheerleading ourselves in to feeling good; it’s about body chemistry.
Amy’s research suggests that sitting or standing for two minutes in an open and expansive position can actually change hormone levels – increasing testosterone (assertiveness) and decreasing cortisol (stress). This is great news as it means we can use simple techniques to make our posture work for us and to feel more powerful.
So how does it work? (more…)
Cable TV. Who needs it, right?
Although I work in an industry so closely tied to television, I pride myself in being a cord-cutting evangelist. When my friends and co-workers take the bold step to break up with their cable company and the hundreds of networks, DVR, on-demand and time-shifting goodness that go along with it, I am on the sidelines wildly cheering them on. But this cord-cutting cheerleader has always been too chicken to do it herself. Even worse, I layer my juiced up cable tier with Apple TV, Xbox and Roku just to cover bases. Hulu Plus, Amazon, Netflix, Crackle…I use them all.
But my TV utopia recently came to a screeching halt. A home renovation landed my family in a relative’s home with no cable for 3 weeks. We have a Blu-Ray player with access to Netflix and Amazon and a host of other TV and movie video apps. As a news and politics junkie, I’ve found myself missing the constant hum of CNN and MSNBC that have become part of our morning and evening routine. And the kids miss their favorite shows they hoard on the DVR. Full House is their current favorite, so, this arrangement does have a small silver lining. Sorry, Uncle Jessie. But what adds insult to injury is that Shark Week happened…or didn’t happen in my house. SHARK WEEK!
Since Netflix is now at the center of our TV universe, we picked up on House of Cards. HOC is, hands down, one of the best shows I’ve ever seen…and it strangely satisfied my appetite for politics, too. The show picked up 14 Primetime Emmy nominations. That’s impressive, but what’s really newsworthy is that Netflix was nominated at all. For a technology company whose business model hinges on buying and distributing content, not creating it, this is a big first. Netflix now has the street cred as a producer to bring in massive audiences to their original programs. I can’t wait to gorge on other Netflix shows like Orange is the New Black and Hemlock Grove. I see Netflix in a new light now…like an HBO or Showtime…without the $100/mo cable subscription.
Although under temporary and reluctant circumstances, my family is part of the growing cord-cutting movement. According to The Diffusion Group, pay TV households (cable and satellite) have been on a steady decline, and are expected to fall 6% by 2017. It’s not surprising when cable service keeps rising in cost and “over-the-top” digital TV alternatives like Netflix’s House of Cards and original series on Hulu make ditching cable more and more appealing. Just last month, a Cowen & Co. study revealed that 20% of Netflix subscribers have cut the Pay TV cord. This has major implications for the marketing and advertising industry given that many of these platforms (most notably, Netflix) lack advertising.
As my own 3-week adventure in cord-cutting comes to a close this week, I think about how drastically it changed our family routine. Cutting the cord is a little like giving up sweets…it’s tough at first but after awhile you don’t miss it and you actually feel better. The house is more peaceful and we’re spending less time mindlessly channel-flipping. TV has become more “by appointment”, which is a good thing.
Time will tell whether our household officially “cuts the cord,” but this experience has fundamentally changed the way I look at television…it’s not defined by screen size, commercials, Nielsen or Time Warner…it’s about great content delivered in a way that puts audiences first. So, whether you’re a cord-cutter or not, it’s an exciting new era in “television”.
It’s starting to feel a lot like the Jetsons inside the walls of the Consumer Electronics Show! The Connected Home has been a hot area for years, but the more futuristic aspects haven’t really caught on with consumers in a big way. Will this year, with the next evolution of the connected home, finally parlay into a day-to-day reality for consumers?
One thing we know for sure…mobile is at the center of the Connected Home…smartphone app integration makes your phone a remote control or command center to make your home environment exactly the way you want it, at any time, from anywhere. And homes are not only more connected, but they’re smarter. Near-field communication (NFC) and sensor-technology make household living more automated, intuitive and “connected” in a way that makes previously separate household functions play well together.
Some of the more exciting developments in this space, and a glimpse of what the Home of the Future might look like, include…
Ever drive home and wonder if you are out of milk? Calling home to ask someone to check is so inconvenient, right? Well, the next generation of appliances is designed to take convenience and efficiency to a whole new level. For example, LG’s line of Smart appliances (oven, refrigerator, washing machine, and vacuum cleaner) use smart control technology, including NFC, for a variety of functions with just a simple tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone on the fridge or oven or from a wi-fi connection anywhere else to trigger a remote smart experience. This can include monitoring the fridge’s inventory from a smartphone in your car to tell you if it’s time to hit the store on your way home. The fridge can even suggest recipes based on its actual contents and “talk” to the oven to start pre-heating for that recipe. I’m not sure that I want my life THIS automated, especially given the time it would take to log every item bought at the grocery store, but it’s a step in the right direction to make our day-to-day lives easier.
Although consumer convenience took center stage at CES this year, smarter appliances also mean being smart grid-ready so that those appliances or HVAC systems can “talk” to the grid to find the off-peak times to, say, run the washer or crank up the heat in your home.
The Next Generation of Home Automation Systems
Remote control of household functions like HVAC, LED lighting, locking doors, etc., have been around for a while but those functions, for the most part, haven’t been integrated into one app….Nexia Home Intelligence, Belkin’s WeMo, and many others are rolling out integrated home intelligence systems, but Lowe’s Iris, announced at CES this year, leverages Lowe’s connections with the hundreds of manufactures of products for an app that controls a wide variety of elements in your home through a single, unified system. This goes well beyond HVAC and lighting functions. The Iris system includes remote control of the lawn sprinkler system and even a “smart” pet door that tells you know your pet’s whereabouts.
Taking the home automation one step further is the idea of creating different environmental “sessions” within your home that are triggered by where, phsyically, you set your smartphone. For example, with a mobile sync pad strategically placed by the bed, laying a mobile phone down on that sync pad when you go to bed would trigger the instant shifting to an environment you might desire when you go to sleep: temperature goes down, blinds close, maybe some calming music plays…or Barry White…you get the picture. This technology even works with proximity control technology so that your home instantly adjusts the environment you want prior to your arrival and as you near home…temperature goes up, door unlocks, oven pre-heats, TV turns on to the evening news. Allure Energy’s EverSense Proximity-based home management system among others offer this heightened and customized level of home comfort and control.
The Second Screen
No connected home would be complete without the icing on the cake…the connected TV. TVs are even more tricked out with gesture and voice based controls. But this year the level of synchronicity or “pairing” of mobile devices with the big screen would make any multi-tasker happy. The Panasonic Swipe and Share and Samsung’s Swipeit do exactly what they imply, bringing a second-screen experience where the TV and tablet or smartphone are simply screens and content moves seamlessly aross devices. Similar to Apple’s AirPlay technology, pictures and video are easily flipped to the big screen. In the case of the Swipe and Share, photos are even editable and re-shared.
Of course these second screen experiences most likely require a specific hardware and operating system combination to work. For example, Samsung Swipeit is not currently available for iOS in the US, so it’s important to know what ecosystem you want to adapt to your existing device configuration or adopt an entirely new one.
The over-arching theme of 2013 CES, the “Internet of Things”, truly comes to life in the area of the connected home. Clearly, the higher level of mobile and smartphone device technology and app integration finally brings the Home of the Future into focus. (more…)
Far and away my favorite part of the Consumer Electronics Show is digital health and fitness. And lucky for me the floor space devoted to this category increased by 3x that of last year. Digital Health has been a part of CES for many years, but this year was different. There seemed to be a larger, more palpable movement in play that was driving all this attention…something that meant more than the newest collection of gadgetry to satisfy the average fitness nerd. The buzz around digital health was heard and felt in places that you wouldn’t expect. Even Bill Clinton’s speech at the Samsung keynote event mentioned technology’s vital role in improving our healthcare system.
But the highlight of the conference was the inspiring and thought-provoking Super Session panel called “The Digital Health Revolution: Body, Mind and Soul”, moderated by Arianna Huffington and including an impressive line-up of professionals in health technology.
The panel was all in agreement that the healthcare system is broken…
– 75% of healthcare spending is spent on preventable diseases like diabetes and heart disease
– Patients outnumber healthcare professionals 10 to 1
With the system in crisis, the panel stressed that the key to success is to empower individuals to take control of their own personal health…managing diet, exercise and stress to prevent illness. This also means more efficient and informed interactions with healthcare professionals. Indeed, the tech industry is innovating in a way that makes this level of efficiency, control and the ability to heal ourselves entirely possible.
Wearable devices that measure the body’s bio-metrics while you do certain activities have been around for a few years. In the fitness realm, the Fitbit Flex, BodyMedia and GeoPalz iBitz (pedometer for kids) in many cases use sensor technology to provide real-time, accurate data including steps taken, calories burned and even sleep patterns. But what makes them more appealing this year over last is the improvement in look, comfort, and most importantly, making all that data accessible and usable via mobile synching with a smartphone app. Any time I want to see how calories burned and sleep habits affect my weight loss, I can. And I can even see what how my friends’ weight loss is going, too.
But of course, no matter how much working out and healthy eating you do, it doesn’t go very far if you don’t have a handle on stress. This aspect of health was not forgotten on the Health Revolution panel and on the showroom floor. Sleep and stress management tools took up almost as much space as the fitness devices, from training your brain with cool tools like the MUSE brain-sensing headband to a more warm and fuzzy solution with cute, cuddly, therapeutic robots, like the Paro seal robot. It responds to touch and gesture, just like a docile puppy would. I wanted to take that seal home with me!
Beyond wearable devices is something that almost threw me off my chair. One of the panelists from Proteus Digital Health talked about a product they have developed that is essentially a digital pill. Imagine that every prescription pill you take has a microchip on it that measures how that medication affects your body. Can you imagine? This technology is real and right around the corner and it will transform the way individuals work with the medical community and how we manage our health.
At the close of the Health Revolution panel, Leaving CES made me hopeful that our collective health may actually turn around if we reframe the issue into something that makes people excited about getting healthy or fit…in the same way that they are excited about their smartphone and what it can do to entertain and make them more productive and in control of so many aspects of their lives. With the technology that is here at CES and right around the corner, we can.
While today is the first official day of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, there were plenty of great panel discussions, press announcements and buzz yesterday to get conference-goers salivating for all to be found on the showroom floor this week.
In just a few short hours yesterday a handful of obvious themes punched through my travel-weary brain…
Mobile is the Viewfinder for your life. In the Trends to Watch presentation, CEA’s Shawn DuBravac pointed out that 65% of time spent with mobile is for non-communication purposes. Smartphones are the interface for people to get things done, be more fit and healthy, manage their household and thousands of other uses that we have yet to tap. Smartphones are in virtually every corner of CES because they are essentially the remote control for the 20,000 new products and services throughout the showroom floor.
The Data trade-off. We’re starting a new digital era where we are beyond mere adoption of devices to taking advantage of the vast capabilities they have to offer. More often than not, this involves information about you…your personal data. When your data is stored in the cloud, sold to 3rd parties, or used for more targeted advertising, at what point does the benefit of the service not warrant handing over your personal information? As companies develop new services around the collection and harnessing of personal data, they need to ensure that they don’t create friction with their user base. Facebook obviously comes to mind as a company that has pushed the boundaries of this relationship. One of the panelists at a Privacy session yesterday posed the following question to the audience: “How much is your privacy worth to you? Would you pay Facebook $100 a year to keep your information private? Would you pay $10 a year? What is the threshold?”
Sensors. Sensor technology has been around for a while. I’ve been using sensor technology to measure the amount of calories I burn a day with the BodyBugg. It’s immediate, actionable and more accurate than more “analog” forms of data. And according to Mr. DuBravac, sensor-technology is dropping in price so consumers will be seeing layers of sensor-based functions (accelerometers, gesture, touch, voice, etc.) permeating their devices. For example, the iPhone 5 has not only the basic microphone, but an additional microphone sensor to cancel out background noise when recording a video. Beyond that, the “sensor-ization” of devices can take the form of,say, a DVR that can sense who is in the room so that it can customize ad delivery to those unique individuals. Lots more to report in this area.
Driverless cars. ‘Nuff said.
Can’t wait to hit the floor today! Check back for more CES updates and/or follow me on Twitter @janicepsuter.