All posts tagged ‘brands’

by SarahFebruary 16, 2010

Branded Puma Phone Serves The Sports-Savvy User


Another product launched out of this week's Mobile World Congress is a Puma branded mobile phone. Made by Sagem, it has a Java-based operating system and is geared towards the sports-savvy consumer. For those who enjoy an active lifestyle, the Puma Phone comes preloaded with a pedometer, compass, stopwatch, sports scores, and a GPS location tracker. Puma will release more apps for the device in the near future.

One of the phone's unique features is its integrated solar cell for battery charging. The rear solar panel has a small LED just above it to let users know if it has sufficient light to charge. An app on the phone keeps track of how much energy you have collected from the sun.

The phone will be available at Puma stores throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia in April of this year for the equivalent of around 400 euros. While branded phones are not an entirely new concept (see PRADA's), it is interesting to see how each brand develops a mobile offering according to the wants and needs of its consumer.

[via intomobile]

by AllisonFebruary 9, 2010

Beyond the Badge: Big Media Brands Strike Foursquare Deals


This article was originally published at, where we contribute content for the Digital Next blog.

Brands seem to be tripping over themselves to align with hot mobile startup Foursquare.

After Pepsi, Tasti D-Lite and Metro News dipped their toes, a wave of media brands including Bravo TV, HBO, Warner Brothers, Zagat and the History Channel are now testing the waters, experimenting with the platform in new and interesting ways.

These new deals represent an entertainment trifecta for Foursquare -- network TV, cable TV and movie studios. Last week Bravo announced integration for select shows. Today, Warner Brothers began a promotion for their star-studded movie "Valentine's Day." HBO also appears to be rolling out an effort for "How to Make It in America," a New York version of "Entourage." And the History Channel says it is also in the midst of partnering with Foursquare, though details are still being worked out.

"Entertainment brands are in an interesting spot," says Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley. According to Crowley, viewing behavior is changing. People are watching shows with computers on their laps or phones in their hands -- multitasking while they watch, communicating about the content, or just killing time during commercials. Some shows have tried to harness this behavior with text to vote options ("American Idol," many Bravo shows), Twitter feed streaming (Current TV, Fox's "Fringe"), and interactive game play (MTV's Backchannel).

Foursquare is offering another channel through which media companies can reach fans. The opportunity is to extend engagement beyond the screen -- both television and computer -- and into real life. On Foursquare, "when users are out, they get pings from these show reminding them about it. This has potential to get people thinking about the brand and the show," says Crowley.

So what do these "pings" entail exactly?

Once they have opted in, messages are pushed to Foursquare users through branded "tips" and "badges."

When users "check in" at a venue on Foursquare, they can see notes, called "tips," left by friends. In these campaigns, brands have left tips at selected locations, which users that add them as a friend can receive. These tips are generally related to the show/movie's characters or themes. So for example, followers of Valentine's Day on Foursquare will see tips about the most romantic places and experiences in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston.foursquare-vday-tip-SV

For HBO's "How to Make it in America," it seems users will see tips from select publishing partners including Blackbook, Urban Daddy, Flavorpill, Racked and Eater. While HBO has declined to comment on this campaign (its agency, phd, says it is still finalizing major details) branded tips are live, and the network has begun to follow certain Foursquare users. According to the page's copy:

Hustle your way in to the NYC scene with HBO's How to Make It. Unlock one or all four of the badges: Culture, Living, Cocktails, and Nightlife. Need some tips? Check out these sites Blackbook, Eater, Racked, Flavorpill, and Urban Daddy for more game. Then tune-in to HBO on Sundays at 10pm to follow Ben and Cam, two enterprising Brooklyn twentysomethings as they hustle their way through New York City, determined to achieve the American Dream.

Using bits of content, it seems HBO is hoping fans live vicariously through the characters and emulate their lifestyles. The Bravo integration is structured similarly, with tips from the channel's contestants and judges.

Another feature of Foursquare's brand integration is the "badge." Users earn badges based on where they check in; checking in at a gym frequently can earn them a "gym rat" badge, for example. Bravo, WB and likely HBO are using these as incentives to visit the places they've curated with tips. When users check in at a few of the romantic venues suggested by "Valentine's Day," they unlock a movie-themed badge, for example. These badges can even be tied to real-life rewards, which Bravo is doing through sweepstakes entries, awards and coupons.

In effect, these tips and badges turn brand into curator, guiding fans through a city, similar to Project Runway's "Guide to New York" on Socialight in 2007 and even Nike's recent True City iPhone app.

This brand activity is terrific for Foursquare's bottom line, but what will users think? Can brands be integrated seamlessly and add value to the experience? Or will users smell spam and run to Gowalla?

"Of course we are scared that everyone will hate it," says Tristan Walker, Foursquare's business development brain. But seeing as they're being called the "next Twitter," the company is in a position to be picky about its partners. If all they want to do is push messages to as many users as possible, Foursquare is not interested. "We've gotten a ton of interest from various entertainment brands," says Walker, "but we've gone with the ones that are relevant to our platform and can be made seamless to our user experience."

Media brands are an easy fit, too. They can provide content -- not "ads" per se -- that betters Foursquare as a whole. While some users may leave not-so-useful tips, they can effectively tell brands what to write. "You can guide them to come up with the best things that represent the elements of their show," says Crowley. And not only are they putting quality content into Foursquare, but they are also promoting the platform itself, investing in it with media dollars. Crowley hopes that this mainstream promotion will help them cross the chasm from "tech early adopters" to "normals."


Zagat's new integration will also lend more quality "professional" content to the service and help it reach new users. The restaurant review guide has populated five cities with tips that share their expertise--things like drink deals, the best times to dine, and what entrees to order. By checking in at Zagat-rated locations, users can unlock a new "foodie badge" and those that frequent a place most often might be featured on through a "Meet the Mayor" series.

Zagat's Ryan Charles says that Foursquare is a natural progression for them beyond iPhone, Android and the mobile web. "There is an obvious synergy between Zagat's expertise in helping people make quick, informed dining decisions and Foursquare's location-based platform," says Charles.

Bravo Newbie

The reaction to Bravo's campaign has thus far been overwhelmingly positive. Foursquare is actively monitoring the results, getting feedback and seeing what worked and what didn't. "We don't want to be explicit in our advertising," says Walker. "We want to do it in a smart way, one where we can iterate upon the model without losing users. The fact that these campaigns are opt-in helps a great deal."

While most of the brands launching campaigns now are likely hoping for first mover cred rather than meaningful user numbers, monitoring and analytics will ultimately help Foursquare prove its value to brands. It has no CPMs, no traffic numbers, no "impressions." It is admittedly still trying to figure out its metrics, but they will be based on "engagement" over pure reach. "The challenge is going to be redefining what engagement really means," says Walker. "Is it tip unlocks? Check-ins at recommended places? We are working with these brands to find engagement metrics that work, and we are painstaking about getting feedback from them and build that analytics set that makes sense." According to Heather DiRubba from the History Channel, "the reason we are looking to get involved with Foursquare is because History is very active in the Facebook and Twitter communities, and we see partnering with Foursquare as a whole new way to deepen our social engagement with our fans."

In the future, expect to see more tangible rewards tied to Foursquare promotions with big brands. Zagat's Charles sees this as key to its growth. "As Foursquare expands from a social game to a platform that offers real-world incentives for users (like discounts and specials), their reach will undoubtedly expand." This will also provide an opportunity to better tie Foursquare brand campaigns with buying behavior. Did people actually watch the show or see the movie? Providing a trackable discount that users could redeem at a theater could help close this loop. Indeed, Walker sees education of the content distributors as the next logical step.

Foursquare is a young platform. But unlike most startups in their "experimental" phase, it is lucky enough to have big-name brand dollars to play with. While it walks the line between growing the ecosystem and monetizing it, Foursquare is hoping these things are not mutually exclusive. "We will build a product that is great for brands based on their needs," says Walker, "but only those that value the platform and want it to succeed."

See our post from earlier today for more details on Zagat's new integration with Foursquare

by CalebNovember 10, 2009

Razorfish FEED Confirms Mobile is Vital to Consumer-Brand Relationship

razorfish mobile

Razorfish has released its annual FEED study charting how consumers engage with brands in a digital era. It makes a few comments on mobile's increasingly vital role in consumerism today.  The iPhone is important, with the rise of Apple's iTunes App Store and a finding that 24% of consumers have downloaded a branded application. Other discussions include the logical swing away from display advertising for a more engaging digital brand experience. Get the PDF here.

razorfish socialmedia

by MBAugust 7, 2009

Staff Picks: Falling Stars, Virtual Girlfriends, Facebook Art, Mobile Watch and More



Celebrities Going Down

For many Americans, perhaps the only thing more fascinating than watching celebrities’ daily actions and clinging to their every move, is watching them fail… miserably. There is some inconceivable desire among many to witness a falling star, often at their lowest moment.

In the final week of July, 2-time NBA all-star, 2004 Olympian and former New York Knick Stephon Marbury decided to do a 24 hour live broadcast of his life on What ensued was an absolute circus, culminating in Marbury breaking down in tearful hysterics as gospel music played in the background. The video became viral immediately (it currently has over 300,000 views), as people clamored to witness the unraveling of a once prominent man.

Last night at a concert in South Dakota, a video captured rock front man legend Steve Tyler of Aerosmith fall off stage while attempting a dance move. 6,000 people have already viewed the video (which was posted last night) that resulted in Tyler being helicoptered to the hospital for back and neck injuries. Celebrities used to have their fame celebrated because of their accomplishments and talents. Now it appears that any display of humanity, and more specifically failure, can bring just as much attention.


SocialSafe and Amamiya Momo

Ever worry that your Facebook profile would crash, disappear, or be deleted? Quelling those fears is SocialSafe, a desktop app that enables backup to your computer of your profile, friends, albums, and any picture you've been tagged in.

After backing up your "social life", you probably need a "girlfriend." Say 'konnichiha' to Amamiya Momo, your virtual iPhone girlfriend. Thanks to GPS she gets made when you are out and it acts cute when you stay in. Of course she has various outfits depending on the time of day, and acts differently on Christmas or Valentine's day.

You can also pet her head, touch her cheek, and... lift her skirt.

Andrea F.

Apple Love

I chose this article as a testament of Apple’s reputation. They are consistently looked at as the company to develop the “next great thing”. With their profits soaring they can invest all the dollars they want into product research ensuring that they will always be at the head of the technology class.


Fine Art Meets SNS Art

Once reserved for royals and aristocracy, commissioning a painting of yourself is now as easy as sending a message over Facebook. When artist Matt Held decided to fine tune his brush skills by painting Facebook photos of his friends and family, word got out and nearly 4,000 profile pic loving users requested their own portraits. He now has over 50 paintings and if you live in the NYC area, you can check out some of them at Platform Project Space in Manhattan from September 10 - October 3, 2009.

Andrea D.


Ahh, Polaroids, the crutch of casting calls and the picture of nostalgia for so many. After Polaroid announced they were discontinuing their film, one of my friends began stocking up on it whenever he came across it, just to make sure he would never be without.

And while may not be very comforting to him, I still think it’s pretty cool. You can upload photos to the site and alter them to look Polaroid-esque. OK, it’s not the real thing--or even close, really--but it’s better than nothing, right?


LG Gd910

I realize the LG GD910 is mostly novelty. I mean, please, how would I get my keys out of my pocket wearing that clunker? The cost would put me on Papaya King hot dog diet for three months, and I require just a tad more interface room. But, we’re getting somewhere. Keep pushing your R&D LG! I’ll be waiting in my skinny jeans.


Brand Graphs

Trendrr's platform lets you track the popularity and awareness of trends based on web data, charting it as a time series. I just discovered their "brands" section, which shows graphs of online buzz about companies. There are lots of potential applications here--product launches (Palm Pre), campaigns (Cisco), name changes (Sci Fi versus SyFy) and product popularity (eBay auctions of PS3 vs XBox 360 vs Wii) to name a few.

by MBAugust 7, 2009

News to Us: NFL Bans Social Media, Adidas Street Art App, Texting 911 and More


NFL Training Camps Ban Twitter on the Sidelines, and in the Stands [Fast Company]
In an effort to keep their training camp secrets, well, secret, several teams have banned the use of social media for players, coaches, the press, and fans.

Facebook’s Still on the Hot List With Young Americans [GigaOm]
comScore research found that 48% of 18-24 year olds in the US are on Facebook, up from 31% last year.

Teens Don't Tweet... Or Do They? [Apophenia]
Data on teen twitter usage might be misleading as teens are fairly represented on the service when compared to to general population numbers.

Ringtone Sales Plunge as Users Turn to Free Tools [PC Magazine]
The once booming ringtone industry has seen sales plunge 24% in one year due to the spread and ease of creating free ringtones.

Adidas Engages Youth Demographic [Mobile Marketer]
For the launch of its Adidas Originals in Berlin, the sporting apparel company is launching an iPhone app that reveals street art locations in the city and provides info about the artist.

Social Media Access Vital to Young Adult Phone Buys [FierceMobileContent]
Harris Interactive found that access to social media was the number one factor in mobile choice for 80% of 18-34 year olds.

Iowa 911 Call Center Becomes First to Accept Texts [Wireless]
Black Hawk County's 911 call center in Iowa became the first in the nation to accept texts. The practice will probably spread to many more in the near future.

Album as Advertisement or Application? [PSFK]
As music becomes more mobile and cloud based, the album format is transforming. From the ad model (Mariah Carey's new album) to the mobile/cloud format (iLike), consumers will be making industry changing choices.

How Successful Brands Live Their Difference [Paul Worthington]
Principles such as consistency, innovation, and culture are driving forces for brands to survive and be recognized.

Prepare Yourselves: Augmented Reality Hype on the Rise [ReadWriteWeb]
Augmented Reality is seeping into our mobiles, computers, televisions, and stores. It is about to hit mainstream and promises to change user's relation to the online world.

by MBJuly 31, 2009

News to Us: Taking Back the Beep, Virtual Worlds Thriving, Art Orgs Going Mobile and More


"Take Back the Beep" Challenges Cellphone Networks to Play Nice [Fast Company]
David Pogue hosting an online campaign to force cell-phone networks to stop those annoying 15-second voicemail intro messages. (Um, voicemail? So 2000 and late.)

Square iPhone Payment System [CoolHunting]
A project called "Square" by Self Edge NYC has developed a small appendage that enable mobile payments through the iPhone. The users plugs this small plastic square in the headphone jack, and it can be used by any type of vendor who gets the payment directly in their bank account.

Rationale for Joining Social Networks by Generation [BitBriefs]
Research reveals why different generations have adopted social networks. 91% of Gen-Z did it for "fun", while only 38% of baby boomers did it for that same reason.  22% of Gen-Y and Gen-Z joined because they were invited, while 46% of baby boomers joined that way.

Ads Follow Web Users, and Get Deeply Personal [NYTimes]
For all the concern and uproar over online privacy, marketers and data companies have always known much more about consumers’ offline lives and, recently, some of these companies have started connecting this mountain of information to consumers’ browsers. The result is a sea change in the way consumers encounter the Web. Not only will people see customized advertising, they will see different versions of Web sites from other consumers and even receive different discount offers while shopping — all based on information from their offline history.

Virtual Worlds are Getting a Second Life with 39% Growth [The Guardian]
While Twitter and Facebook may have taken over front pages, virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft, Entropia Universe, Habbo Hotel, Club Penguin and Second Life are all profitable thanks to business models based on a combination of subscriptions and micropayments. The growth is mainly spurred by tweens and teens, promising the platform a solid future.

“Preparing Us For AR”: the Value of Illustrating of Future Technologies [Pulse Laser]
Understanding the potential for augmented reality goes beyond the camera embedded services. AR is the opening act of the way Internet will eventually have a "physical" presence in our lives.

Paris Hilton Game on Mobile Phones in India [Priyanka’s Blog]
A Paris Hilton game where users find jewels for the Hollywood celeb is set to launch in India on mobile phones, raising concerns about Western influence and role models.

Arts Orgs Go Mobile [NYConvergence]
The Arts, Culture, and Technology group met in Manhattan to discuss how mobile can integrate with art --from mobile museum guides to live texting and sharing photos.

Brands Who Think We Can't Wait to View the World Through Their Silly Mobile Apps? Priceless [MobileInsider]
The rush to develop a mobile app has lead many brands to have a bad and inefficient mobile strategy. Understanding that it's about its actual utility to users, more than the brand's clout or image, is the first step in being relevant. We couldn't agree more.

Military May Ban Twitter, Facebook as Security ‘Headaches’ [Wired]
Because of hack fears, the US military is considering banning access to all social networking sites. The ban might extend to the whole department of defense, but military personnel, that are already limited in cell phone usage, might be the most affected.

HD Voice Push Could Face Resistance in Washington [The Jeff Pulver Blog]
The technology for HD mobile voice calls is there and industry players are pushing for it. But with 3G and broadband not offered everywhere in the US, the battle might not become a priority for anyone out there.

by MBJuly 30, 2009

ReBlogs of the Week: "Social vs Brand" and "PSAs Come to Mobile"


We have a double feature today! The first post is from Kristina Horner who delivers a powerful video piece on why brands and bloggers need to work together. The second is from Meghan Keane, who discusses the potential of mobile donations and their implications for mobile payments. Enjoy...

Social vs Brand

This is a very passionate video response by YouTube blogger Kristina Horner about communities working with brands.

Kristina is a 21 year old girl from Seattle who is currently studying at the University of Washington, but in her spare time you can find her making videos for YouTube, playing music, or writing. She’s in a band that plays music about Harry Potter and through that, has traveled all over the country (and sometimes further) playing shows and attending conferences. In the past year she’s also been to numerous YouTube related gatherings and events and loves meeting new people and seeing new sights. Kristina has a slight addiction to broadcasting her life and thoughts in various forms on the Internet.‘

Motivated by criticism of her partnership with Ford for the (pretty smart) FiestaMovement work. Kristina argues that for both bloggers and brands to be successful they need to accept the fact that traditional advertising is not-effective (and often rejected) in social spaces. But, brands and publishers like Kristina can easily find win-win situations when brands support their work without compromise. If you work in ‘advertising and or marketing’ and struggle to understand the social media space, have a butchers:

The original post at Rubbishcorp

Kristina's blog italktosnakes

Follow her on Twitter @KristinaHorner


PSA's Come to Mobile. Along with Additional Purchasing Options. by Meghan Keane

How do you get people to start charging purchases on their mobile phones? Have them to do it for charity.

This week mobile gaming company Cellufun will launch the first ever mobile public service announcement campaign. In conjunction with The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Cellufan is offering free in-game advertising, as well as mobile donation opportunities to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

The mobile PSA could be very profitable for the ASPCA. But it's also a smart move on Cellufan's part. Getting new groups of users to spend money through their phones will help pave the way for monetizing the mobile web.

Cellufun allows users to play social games, connect with friends and shop for virtual goods. The service has over 7 million unique monthly mobile visitors, who generate more than 220 million monthly impressions. The average user spends about 6.9 hours using Cellufun. The company estimates the value of the PSA campaign to be more than $10,000 per month.

"Cellufun’s social games — such as Mobile Pet Online and Cellufun Farming — provide not only entertainment, but the perfect venue for raising social awareness by partnering with leading charities and non-profits,” said Neil Edwards, chief executive officer of Cellufun.

Clearly the ASPCA thinks that mobile is a place that has fundraising potential. In addition, it's a great way for Cellufun to get its users accustomed to parting with a little extra money on their mobile devices. Already in the gaming space, these users aren't exactly shy about such things, but for the mobile space to reach its potential as a marketplace, users who have historically been uninterested in buying ringtones or purchasing gaming software need to start getting comfortable with giving money on their phones. And that's already happening.

Apple's App Store has gotten hordes of iPhone users to purchase products on their cellphones, and a key to tapping into the monetization potential of mobile will be proving to people that cellphones are a safe and easy way to make purchasing decisions.

Already consumers are getting more comfortable with many mobile decisions that they skipped on the computer. One proof of this is the fact that mobile Internet usage is far more diverse than the way it has typically worked online. For starters, African Americans are the group quickest to adopt mobile Internet usage this year.

Last week, a Pew Research Center survey found that 32% of Americans have accessed the Internet through a mobile device this year and 48% of African Americans are using their mobile phones to access the Internet. For many groups — especially low income users — the cellphone is the way that they access the Internet altogether.

John Horrigan, associate director of the Pew Internet Project, tells the New York Times:

“The cost of broadband and personal computers drives some users to adopt mobile Internet instead of the traditional wire-line,” Mr. Horrigan said. “It might make sense to invest the money in a smartphone and a monthly plan that enables you to do so many different things, like make calls and send e-mails.”

In addition, consumers who are sympathetic to a cause might make a spur of the moment purchasing decision that they would hesitate on for something more frivolous — from gaming to paid advertising. And once a purchase has been made in a new environment in a space that a consumer trusts, getting them to buy something again is that much easier.

The original post on Econsultancy

Follow her on twitter @keanesian

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