Monday, August 31, 2009

Yelp’s Secret Augmented Reality Tool


Gizmodo reports that the Yelp iPhone app has a special Easter egg program hidden inside of it. Named Monocle, it’s an augmented reality app that is only accessible by shaking the device three times.

After the AR feature is unlocked, icons of Yelp-reviewed establishments will begin to pop-up on your screen, showing locations, ratings, and reviews for restaurants in your surrounding area.

Source PSFK

Friday, August 28, 2009

Inflatable Dinosaur Measures Air Quality


The Huntington Beach Art Center in California is currently holding an exhibition of three site responsive installations entitled “Land, Sea, Air” until September 6th.

One of the three exhibits is “Prana”- an inflatable dinosaur that measures and visualizes the quality of air in Huntington Beach. Every ten seconds, Prana collects new data from the cross-government agency website, and changes color (utilizing an internal light) from green to red based upon the information it receives.

Inflatable Dinosaur Measures Air Quality

You can view a gallery of the exhibit here.

Source PSFK

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Personas: Visualizing Your Online Identity



A component of the MIT Media Lab’s “Metropath(olgies)” installation, which looks at the non-stop flow of communication and information in the modern world, Personas delivers a data portrait of your online identity by combining natural language processing and Internet search tools.

Enter your first and last name into the search box, and watch as Personas matches your name to a pre-existing set of categories created through an algorithmic method that references a vast body of data.

The philosophy behind the installation, according to the Personas site:

Personas demonstrates the computer’s uncanny insights and its inadvertent errors, such as the mischaracterizations caused by the inability to separate data from multiple owners of the same name. It is meant for the viewer to reflect on our current and future world, where digital histories are as important if not more important than oral histories, and computational methods of condensing our digital traces are opaque and socially ignorant.


reStart: The First US Internet Detox Center

Today, in Fall City WA, 2-6 people will be admitted into Re-Start- a 45-day addiction recovery program that treats obsessive Internet and video game habits. The program employs a combination of mindfulness training and meetings based upon the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program, as well as nutritional education and adventure expeditions in a “family-style” setting that lends itself to social interaction- with the end goal being to help the patient re-establish connections to the real world.

Although the problem of Internet addiction has been addressed in South Korea and China with mixed results, the ReStart press release claims it is a growing problem in the US, and that “6-10% of the online population is dependent on one or more aspects of of cyber-technology and the Internet” (although no source for that statistic is given in the press release).

If you’re curious about their acceptance policies, take a look at their criteria for net addiction, and take their quiz to see where you stand.

However, the cost of the whole process is another matter. The Re-Start application fee is $200 USD, and the entire program will cost you $14,500 USD (plus fees) for the 45-day stay.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Put Pocketing in the streets of London

I really like this simple and kind of viral idea by British carrier TalkTalk to promote its reduced phone rates. Other carriers make you pay more and therefore "pick" money out of your pockets. TalkTalk make you pay less for phone calls, and so if you switch to TalkTalk they will put the money back in your pockets... Simple, uh?

Watch the video just launched in the UK, where former pickpockets are hired by TalkTalk to put the money back into the pockets of Londoners. As I said: simple, educational (it's impressive to see the "artists" of pick/putpocketing in action) and pretty viral idea.

San Francisco’s Lombard Street Becomes Candy Land Game Board

candyland lombard street san francisco

In an extreme bit of experiential marketing, and to celebrate Candy Land’s 60th anniversary, Hasbro transformed San Francisco’s winding Lombard Street into a life-size version of the board game.

Two teams of children competed in a round of the game, those from UC San Francisco Children’s Hospital versus Friends of the Children. The reward waiting at the finish line was desert by Debbie Does Cakes.

source psfk

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Honda Eco (and cheesy) Grand Prix

At first sight you would say it is just another racing game. Make sure not to skip the intro, and you will change your mind. Honda Formula E is an advergame launched in Japan to teach people how to drive with an eco-friendly attitude.


In the game you don't have to use the steering-wheel, but just the brake and accelerator to find the ideal speed to drive in the city, saving gasoline, and therefore saving the planet.


But as I said, the game is not the best part of the website. The intro video is simply fantastic, very funny, very cheesy... very Japanese. They re-created the energy and the experience of a Gran Prix in the bedroom of a man of the street taking the up the challenge on the Web. If you take a look at the screencaptures I pasted into this entry, you'll immediately understand what I mean :-)


Dunkin' Run: be a hero through donuts

In this new era of applications, Dunkin' Donuts released a really cool one called "Dunkin' Run". Probably you know how complicated is ordering coffe for a group of people in an organized way. Using this app, you can become a "runner" while they fill what they want and then get yours and your friend's goods from the general Dunkin' Donuts menu, you can see a little video explaining how it works.

What appears interesting to me (besides the obvious use) is the way in which the application spreads, not only by using or because someone recommended, but also by ordering something when a friend of yours is the runner and asks you if you want him to pick some coffee for you.

Source adverblob

V Australia invites Americans to tweet downunder

Following on from the recent success of its twitter campaign, V Australia, via agency Droga5, Sydney is now throwing down the challenge to America for three of their countrymen or women to fly down-under and experience the best Sydney has to offer, while sending a 'tweet' every single minute of the 4320 minutes they are in Australia.

The unique social media challenge, promoted in conjunction with Twitter and KIIS FM in LA, will be one of the first of its kind in the US to harness the potential of social media and Twitter in particular to deliver entertainment and interaction with the aim to promote Australia as the ideal and affordable short break destination for Americans.

The challenge involves the winners flying to Sydney for the ultimate non-stop three day adventure down-under, from swimming with sharks to enjoying a beer at the Opera Bar at the Sydney Opera House and, of course, scaling the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. It's not all shrimps on the 'barbie' and 'coldies' however as between them the team will need to 'tweet' every single minute of the 4320 minutes they are in Sydney.

If successful in completing the whole 4320 tweets as part of the challenge for their phenomenal efforts each team member will win a 'Round the World' ticket with V Australia and Virgin Atlantic.

Source: adverblog

Louis Vuitton will publish a book on Art and Creation

On September 21st Louis Vuitton will publish a book on Art and Creation. It will cover fashion, art an architecture. Given the kind of readers this book wants to appeal, what is better than a promotional animated book trailer animated by a young artist?

Source: adverblog

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Paris Planning An Electric Car Share System

The mayor of Paris recently announced plans to implement an electric car share system. While details are still sparse, it appears that they will be building an infrastructure to support 2,000 EV’s within Paris, and another 2,000 cars will be distributed amongst the surrounding cities. At an estimated price-tag of $14 million dollars to both build the infrastructure and purchase the vehicles, the system is not only affordable, but is yet another example of movement away from a product driven model towards a service-focused one. There are a wide variety of immediate implications to this program, ranging from reduced traffic to reduced carbon emissions. And some long range ones, including encouraging manufacturers to build vehicles that last longer (thus reducing the long-term cost of the vehicle fleet).

Source PSFK

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Young & Rubicam, театр на проезжей части

В Перу агентство Young & Rubicam и оператор сотовой связи Movistar инсценировали подключение к интернету на пешеходном переходе.

Рекламные споты крупнейшего оператора сотовой связи в Испании и странах Латинской Америки Movistar рекламируют услугу Speedy Movil: высокоскоростной доступ в интернет с мобильного телефона через USB модем.

Сюжеты, показанные в роликах были действительно инсценированы на проезжей части в реальном времени, во время красного сигнала светофора.
Как только на перекрестке загорелся красный свет и движение остановилось, на пешеходном переходе разворачивается импровизированная сцена и начинается театрализованное представление, изображающее вход в интернет через USB модем Speedy Movil. Интересной особенностью сценки является то, что персонажами и декорациями управляют люди в черном, невидимые на черном фоне сцены. По окончании представления мужчина с мегафоном объясняет всем участникам дорожного движения, что это была рекламная акция новой услуги Speedy Movil и за подробностями направляет к оператору связи Movistar. Сцена стремительно демонтируется, загорается зеленый сигнал светофора.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The LED Spray Can

For fans of light writing, there is now a handy LED light specifically designed for those familiar with graffiti using a spray can. The fake aerosol can, designed by Aïssa Logerot, is called Haloand simply replaces the nozzle with a tiny LED. Logerot has a number of innovative light designs and is currently based in Paris.

MadMen Explored In Vanity Fair

Adding to the excitement mounting over the new season of the show MadMen which starts on August 16 (and maybe the Good Ideas in Advertising Salon with George Parker… who knows?), Vanity Fair has an in-depth analysis of the series and they also got Annie Leibovitz to shoot Jon Hamm and January Jones as their ad-biz alter-egoes for the latest issue. It’s a lengthy piece but there’s some insight into the inspiration that led Matthew Weiner to create the show.

Mad Men is too clear-eyed about its period to be called nostalgic—Weiner loves writing anti-Semitic wisecracks for his admen and showing pregnant women with cigarettes dangling from their lips—but at the same time there can be a yearning tug, even an ache, in the intensity of the show’s backward gaze. Maybe it’s a kind of wised-up, at times even loathing nostalgia—precisely the kind of contradiction that drives the show creatively. Weiner has said in the past that the series is in some sense a tribute to his parents, an attempt in part at reconstructing their world.

One thing he quite consciously set out to do with Mad Men was to reclaim the 1950s and early 1960s from the condescension of “baby-boomer propaganda,” as he put it, the easy ironies with which the era has been caricatured in popular culture. “You know,” he continued, rattling off some cultural clichés, “Fun with Dick and Jane, the dad with the pipe, Ozzie & Harriet“—goofy and square and uptight and supposedly innocent, no one having sex, or good sex anyway, except for maybe Frank Sinatra. “We think everybody was walking around in corsets, but people are people,” Weiner said, and cited a 1968 episode of Firing Line he once saw in which a drunken Jack Kerouac was interviewed by William F. Buckley Jr. on the subject of “the hippie movement” and said to the younger generation, in essence, “You think you invented fucking?” Don Draper and his colleagues at Sterling Cooper, the women as well as the men, would seem to be asserting the same point.

Bank Lets You Point, Shoot and Deposit Checks With an iPhone

Last year, we mentioned that USAA, a mid-sized American bank, was going to provide the technology to virtually deposit checks using a scanner and Wi-Fi.

A year and a half later, USAA is the first out of the gate with an iPhone app that offers the convenient option of depositing checks by taking a picture of each side with your phone’s camera. A touch of the send button emails it to the bank, and the paper check can then be disposed of.

The simplicity of this app will no doubt send competitors in banking and mobile alike scrambling for solutions as efficient as this one.

Source PSFK

Kit that Makes Recycling Easier

The “Emo” Recycle kit by Harac of Tokyo is comprised of three tools to help make the recycling process easier. It contains a “bottle cap ring remover” that cuts off plastic caps from glass bottles (i. e. vinegar and salad dressing or oil bottles which often have tight plastic caps) and carton scissors, to ease the flattening of milk or juice cartons. Aerosols can be punctured by the “Spray can gas remover” and afterwards discarded in the recycle bin. All of these functional and simple tools are made from stainless steel with resin handles.

Source PSFK

Friday, August 7, 2009

Prototype iPhone Credit Card Reader

A new iPhone accessory called Square allows users to swipe credit cards through a mini magstripe reader attached to the phone’s headphone jack. The prototype technology is currently being tested at the Self Edge clothing store in New York and will likely go on sale as more small trendy shops express interest.

The simple application and reader allows employees to enter the amount of the purchase and immediately email the receipt to the customer, complete with geo-tagged information and the signature they managed to scrawl with their finger. Square takes an unknown percentage of the payment and a fixed fee before transferring payment directly into the seller’s bank account. While the application and iPhone accessory are wonderfully simple, we worry about the possibilities for fraud and abuse.


China Pushing Forward Creative Industry Zones

One of the major ways that the Chinese government has been pushing forward creative industry in China is through the development of creative industry parks or zones. According to Eugenie Birch, chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of City and Regional Planning, “China’s investing heavily in the knowledge worker writ large, and this has become another part of that investment…And when China does something, it does it at full force.”

The most common creative industry zones consists of an old factory or warehouse converted into an area designed for art galleries, entertainment venues and offices for designers, architects, artists and other creative types. Beijing’s 798 Art District stands out as the most well-known archetype that many developers attempt to replicate.

There are still many obstacles that creative industry needs to tackle before reaching a level of maturity seen in other countries. One of the central challenges is understanding how to foster grassroots creativity, starting with students and young creatives who all too often lack the means to develop their talent. However, the 20+ zones in Beijing, 70+ in Shanghai and many more scattered throughout the country are a welcome development for creatives looking to become a part of China’s creative industry.

Related PSFK Post: The Rise of Creative Industry in China

Good Brands Report: Lessons From The Top 10 Brands


Experiment rapidly, embrace failure.


Every aspect of your brand should be as good as the product.


Stop selling products, start selling services.

GOOD Magazine

Set the agenda and let your customers spread the conversation.


Identify parts of our business that could be offered as additional services.


Create the playground and let your customers define your offering.


Think big , think small. Amaze customers with your audacity, please them with your attention to detail and customer service.


Stay flexible, allow your audience to dictate how your services or products are used.


Take a wider view of the shopping experience, making each step along the path to purchase simpler and, more enjoyable.


Reach scale with free product, make money from premium services.

Full version of Good Brands Report 2009 download here

Source: PSFK

Virtual Reality You Can Feel

Gizmodo points us to some interesting news - full-sensory virtual reality immersion has just taken another big step. Researchers from The University of Tokyo have combined motion tracking, holograms and ultrasonic waves to create virtual animations you can see, interact with - and feel. The ultrasonic waves are able to simulate a variety of textures and can focus in on very specific locations, making for a very realistic tactile experience.

Watch a video demo below.