posted 04.18.2014 by Spawn

On Facebook, the organic reach of brand content is quickly declining. That’s because there’s more and more brands competing for limited newsfeed space. So how does a brand get face time with users these days?

First of all, don’t settle for a mere “Like.” Give people a reason to to share your posts. Giveaways, funny jokes, interesting pictures and videos, a chance to win tickets to a David Hasselhoff concert (if you happen to be targeting Germans). Anything fun, interesting, or rewarding is a step in the right direction.

For more ways to increase reach, check out this article

posted 04.16.2014 by Spawn

Authenticity. That’s what travelers are looking for nowadays. Not “popular” tourist stuff like
the World’s Largest Ball of Twine (sorry, Kansas). They want to travel off the beaten path. Do
what the locals do. Eat where the locals eat. They want the real deal.

So how do appeal to this type of traveler? Make them feel less like travelers and more like locals. Offering personalized, customizable experiences – as in not cookie cutter – is a good place to start. And since the
majority of smartphone and tablet owners take their device with them when they travel, make sure
to have a mobile presence. Apps. Responsive websites. Anything that enhances the tech-driven
traveler’s experience.

Good luck and happy trails.

posted 04.14.2014 by Spawn

When you think of graham crackers, you probably don’t think classy. But, Honey Maid showed nothing but class when they responded to backlash over their last TV spot.  The commercial that ruffled feathers featured mixed race families and gay parents with the message, “This is Wholesome.” Honey Maid received lots of not-so-wholesome comments in response. And while they could have kept quiet and axed the campaign, they didn’t. Instead, they saw an opportunity to turn negative into positive and build their brand. How? They responded with love. Literally. And by doing that, they gained a lot of fans.

Whether you agree with their stance or not, their response to this situation was an intelligent and strategic one. And for that, we give you kudos, Honey Maid. You stay classy.

posted 04.10.2014 by Spawn

Can social media really make the cash register ring? There’s not a brand alive that hasn’t asked that question. The answer: yes. If you do it right.

Owners/Founders of Sevenly, a socially good business, ramped up their sales using nothing but social media. Didn’t hurt that both were masters of social marketing. In their mission to blend profit and philanthropy, they began their social media domination on faith-based platforms with millions of users who dug their purpose. From there, they expanded to other, more well-known, social media outlets to continue their growth. Sevenly's social media strategy has rocked so hard that recently named them Most Social Small Business.

Bottomline: If you’re trying to get your name out there with social media, you can’t just go slappin’ posts up willy-nilly and expect results. Find someone who knows the ins and outs of social. Strategize. #ithelps

Learn more here.

posted 04.07.2014 by Spawn

The Snickers “You’re not you when you’re hungry” campaign is pretty great. Not sure about Snickers Australia’s latest ad, though. It features construction workers yelling compliments to women passing by. Funny, but the overall message gets a bit muddy. Ultimately, it becomes quite confusing. Which is exactly what you don’t want your shiny, new commercial to be.

To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, make sure you always use focus groups before rolling out a new messaging campaign. Formal or informal. Doesn’t matter. Just make sure people get it before you share with the world.

posted 04.04.2014 by Spawn

Think women consumers are a bunch of Bachelor-watching, latte-sippin’, pink-wearing softies? Think again. When it comes to TV, women dig “guy stuff” more than you know. There is only one reality show in the top ten most popular cable shows among women. In fact, more women watch Monday Night Football than The Bachelor. Talking Dead is a favorite too.

Not only is this fantastic news for husbands and boyfriends the world over, it’s important stuff to know. After all, women are the guardians of the checkbook these days. So you better know where to reach them with your media buys. To learn more about what women watch click here.

posted 04.03.2014 by Spawn

The warm fuzzy feelings of connectedness are wearing off, and people are waking up to the reality of a social media overdose. As a brand, it is more important than ever to reach consumers on social platforms, but how do you do it in an effective way?

According to a study conducted by Pew Internet and American Life Project, more than 61% of Facebook users say they have gone on a "hiatus" to balance their real life vs their online life.

The values most appreciated by social users who "unplug" are serenity, health, balance, and simplicity. In a nutshell, people are looking for a calm in the social storm. So how do you reach these consumers?

Go beyond the standard social media strategies to deliver content in small, intensely engaging niche networks. This might mean loosening your death grip on Facebook and embracing new social media behaviors that match the trending values of your evolving audience.

With more and more folks going on hiatus for various reasons, you must think about how to best use social media for your brand. First, what values do your target audience and current social fans seek? Second, if they left all but one platform, which platform would they remain on? The answers will result in a more effective social media strategy.

posted 03.28.2014 by Spawn

What’s trending this week? The E*Trade baby is out of a job, monsters invade London, and Trekkies quench their intergalactic thirst with Klingon beer.  It’s all right here.

What's this mean for business?

The E*Trade Baby is hanging up his acting onesie. Yep, E*Trade decided to switch out their famous campaign for something fresher. Which was a good call. They had to end it. The company had evolved. Plus, the campaign had been running so long, the baby was about to sprout whiskers. Fact is, even the best campaigns get old. Just like your darling children, there comes a time when you just have to let them go.

Pepsi Max’s latest outdoor ad can be summed up in four words: traditional advertising on steroids. Their digital bus shelter installation surprised pedestrians with alien attacks, giant robots and other equally weird things. Pretty cool. And for some, pretty freaky. Point is, digital executions don’t have to live inside a computer. Many of the coolest use traditional media space… and, the occasional alien.

Digital fraud is upon us. Apparently, around 1/3 of web traffic is generated by “bots”, not people. And that means you could be paying for bogus impressions if you’re running online ads. So, how do you defend against bots? One might think with a high-powered Transformer-type gun. But really, your best bet is to find an agency that knows how to avoid this type of thing.

posted 03.21.2014 by Spawn

This week, Superman sells his soul to GoPro, Google dares to drop underlined links (rebels), and Jimmy Fallon and John Hamm share a sandwich. See this and more ...

What's it all mean?

As we all know, pot is legal in Colorado. So, naturally they have to create PSAs reminding people not to do dumb things while high (e.g., drive, jump off buildings and attempt to fly). Most PSA’s are about as engaging as late-night CSPAN. But the Colorado Department of Transportation had a little fun with theirs. And guess what? They got people’s attention. Which is no small feat. You know how hard it is to get a stoner to pay attention to a PSA? Nearly impossible. And of course the point of all that is this: People don’t want to watch ads. They want to be entertained. Do that, and they’ll pay attention.

The worlds of online and offline marketing are merging. Brick and mortars selling web exclusive products. Online retail stores adding person-to-person services.  It’s not so cut and dry anymore. So the question is, how do you advertise these hodgepodge brands? Online? Print? Have a guy in a gorilla suit dance in front of your store? Some say that social media is the answer. Truth is, a lot of it depends on your audience. And your product/service. In other words, you need to get into the nitty gritty and strategize the media plan that’s best for you. There’s no magic catchall that works for every brand. Well, except for the gorilla thing.

posted 03.14.2014 by Spawn

What’s trending this week? The internet turns the big two-five, SXSW gets under way and random strangers make out on camera. See this and more right here.

What's that mean for business?

The average American spends 11 hours a day with electronic media. Seems like a lot, but remember, just about everything is on a screen now a days. Books. TV shows. Work stuff. Embarrassing pictures of you from your awkward teen years (or to put it more generally, social media). Which means reaching your audience on the digital front is more important than ever.

This week President Obama plugged the Affordable Healthcare Act on Between Two Ferns. Kind of surprising that they let Zack Galifianakas anywhere near our Commander-in-Chief, but we’re glad they did. It was good laugh. And yet another example of how brands (and Presidents) are blurring the line between entertainment and advertising. Which, in our opinion, is a great way to get your audience to pay attention to your message.

Apparently, Instagram has some high standards. In regard to their advertisers, that is. The retro pic app joined forces with Omnicom to offer access to its paid advertising program. And they intend to make sure that all ads are of good quality. Seems a little over the top for an app that houses countless pics of nasty looking food (Hint: no picture of homemade bean soup will ever look good, no matter what filter you use). But hey, you got to do what you got to do to protect your brand.

posted 03.07.2014 by Spawn

What's trending this week? Pepsi gets mad at Ellen, Twitter falls in love with Ellen, and Montreal has dandruff. See all this and more right here. 

What's that mean for business?

Move over Gen Me. Gen We has arrived. And they’re even more tech savvy than their predecessors. Which is what you’d expect from kids who were wielding cell phones since before they were potty trained. So, you know what that means. Digital and social based advertising will be more important than ever when trying to reach young teens.

While a lot of advertisers use fancy, high tech ways to promote their brand, Selson Blue used snow. Snow covered billboards in Montreal drove their message home in a very memorable way. We think it’s pretty cool (even though we’ll be thinking about dry itchy scalps every time it flurries). Thanks a lot Selson Blue. Be sure to look around at the environment you're advertising in. There are opportunities all around for great ideas.

The newest viral video to hit the internet features a couple cellists rocking out to Thunderstruck. So what’s this mean for business? Well, nothing really. We just thought it was really cool. So be sure to check it out.

posted 02.28.2014 by Spawn

What’s trending this week? Everyone’s wondering WhatsApp with Facebook, Coke slams phubbing, and the Sochi Winter Games take gold in the ratings. 

What's that mean for business?

This week the famous “Got Milk?” campaign came to an end. It was replaced with TV spots and print ads that show off the power of moo juice. Will it have the same impact as its predecessor? We'll have to wait and see. Either way, kudos to Milk for switching it up. Even the best campaigns need to be refreshed once in a while. It does a brand good.

Apparently DHL delivers packages and pushes the envelope. They sent packages via other delivery companies with a thermo-active wrap. Once outside, the boxes revealed the message, “DHL is Faster”. This little stunt is sure to garner some awards. And attention. Hey, like we always say, it pays to be brave. 

Facebook just dropped billions for the message app, WhatsApp. Yes you read correctly. Billions. Varying opinions on this move, obviously. Could be the thing that keeps “The Book” relevant in the coming years. Or it could leave Zuckerburg red in the Facebook. Either way, this could be a game changer for social media. So be sure to follow this story. 

posted 02.21.2014 by Spawn

What's trending this week? Twitter tells the future, Flappy Bird goes to app heaven, and Olympians share a Tinder moment. See this and more right here.

What's this mean for business?

So long pantsuits. Getty Images has updated their stock library to include more photos of modern professional women. Have to say, we couldn’t be more thrilled. We just hope more stock image companies follow (non-pant) suit. C’mon. That was kind of funny.

Comcast intends to merge with Time Warner Cable. So now instead of two mega cable companies we have one ginormous company. Is it a monopoly? Comcast says no. But then again, it would be kind of stupid of them to say yes, even if it were true. As an advertiser, this is something you should stay tuned in to.

Durham Academy released a pretty cool video to let students know that school was canceled for the day. Sure it was a rip off of Ice, Ice Baby, but given the context, it was still original and unexpected. Which is why it has millions of views on YouTube. Today’s lesson: When you do something out of the ordinary, people pay attention. That goes for advertising, too.

posted 02.14.2014 by Spawn

What's trending this week? Couples get sweet on social, Esurance goes big with e-marketing and Starbucks is dumb. See all that’s trending right here.

What's this mean for business? 

This week, Marc Jacobs opened a “social currency” shop – that’s techie talk for getting free stuff for using a certain hashtag on Twitter. No money is exchanged at the store, but the retailer is getting lots of social media attention. It could be really profitable in the long run. Or it could be a horrible idea that leads to a painful and fiery death of the company—OK, maybe that’s a bit extreme. However it plays out, we give kudos to MJ for pushing the envelope.

Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art used scratch off bus shelter ads to promote their new archaeology exhibit.  Pretty cool. And a great example of how creative thinking can bring new life to an old medium. So remember, traditional media can be every bit as interesting (if not more) as the newfangled stuff.

And now, to totally contradict what we just said, The Walking Dead getting a lot of attention thanks to their untraditional ad stunt – “Zombies” climbing up from sidewalk grates. It scared the (un)living you know what out of people,  making for a nice viral video. So what’s better?  Traditional? Untraditional? Truth is, both can be effective. It just depends on the task (and audience) at hand. Oh, and the idea. That’s a big one.

posted 02.07.2014 by Spawn

What's trending this week? Twitter gets a makeover, Chipotle thinks outside the burrito, and Facebook celebrates the big 1-0. See what else is trending right here.

What's this mean for business? 

Big news. Facebook has a paper. Which is actually an app and not paper at all - but we digress. The new online periodical pulls info from the web, covering several areas of interest. It even has an “LOL” section. Could be a great advertising vehicle, but we wouldn't know because Facebook isn't allowing advertisers. Not yet anyway. We’ll let you know when they do.

Some might say this year’s Super Bowl ads were subpar. Maybe that’s because brands are waiting for the World Cup to pull out their big guns. And why not? The audience is much larger and geographically broader. Makes sense to us. If you want to get your message in front of more nacho-stuffed faces, think fútbol. Not football. 

Speaking of the Super Bowl, Newcastle chose to sit this year’s game out. Kind of. Instead of paying wads of cash to run a spot during the game, they created an online ad that went viral. Moral of the story: You don’t have to run a TV spot during the “Big Game” to get in front of a big crowd

posted 01.31.2014 by Spawn

What's trending this week? Apple reminds us how old we are, Arby’s has beef with Pharrell, and much more. Check it out right here. 

What's this mean for business?

While Facebook still reigns king in the social media world for online ad engagement, Pinterest and Twitter are putting up some royally good numbers too.  So it might not be a bad idea to put some of your marketing moolah towards social media sites other than “The Book.”

For all of those people who thought regular food was just too boring, good news. Companies are looking at 3D printing food. So now instead of a Snickers bar, you could have a Snickers sphere. Mind blowing, we know. So, whether you’re a food manufacturer, marketer, or anything else, 3D printing is opening up cool, new possibilities.

Reddit has proven its worth once again, making a 3-year-old video of a farting deer go viral.  Thanks to this popular online aggregator, information that would have once been lost in cyberspace is now being delivered to millions of interested people. So what’s on the horizon for Reddit? Hey, if it can make a star out of a flatulent fawn, there’s no telling what it’s capable of. 

posted 01.24.2014 by Spawn

What’s trending this week? Richard Sherman gives Twitter something to talk about, a retro Lego ad builds excitement, and Iron Man teams up with Sting. See it all and much more right here.


What's it mean for business?

Good news. Now you can experience Google Glass without looking like a total weirdo. Last week, Google introduced their smart contact lens. All the awesomeness of Google Glass right on your eyeball. Besides being pretty darn cool, it’s another example of how wearable technology is advancing more every day. This could mean a whole new level of consumer-to-brand interaction. And probably a whole lot more.

Big news for the Sacramento Kings (no, they still don’t have a winning record). The b-ball franchise now accepts Bitcoin digital currency. Which suggest that the virtual money is really starting to catch on. This could be a game changer for online commerce and the economy as a whole. So, keep this one on your radar.

A fear of many may soon become a reality. Now, ISPs can charge more money to view certain sites. It would work kind of like cable. You pay a base rate for the basic package. But the “premium” sites are going to cost you more. What does this mean? Could mean more complex online media placement. But it would surely mean lots of ticked off people. We’ll definitely keep an eye on this one.

posted 01.17.2014 by Spawn

What’s trending this week? Jennifer Lawerence becomes the latest victim of social media, the Australian Open shows some love to Twitter users, and moms everywhere bawl their eyes out thanks to P&G. Oh, and lots more, too. Check it all out here. 

What’s this mean for business?

There’s more to advertising than sticking product in people’s faces (well, good advertising anyway). It should tell a story - like P&G did with their Thank You, Mom spot. When you tell a story, you connect with people on an emotional level. Tug at their heartstrings. Make them laugh. Make feel something—anything. That’s the kind of stuff that resonates. And at the end of the day, inside people’s heads is where all brands want to be.

If we had a dime for every time we saw a demon baby jump out of a stroller and start vomiting, we’d have a dime. Which is why Thinkmodo’s latest stunt to promote the Devil Baby Attack movie was so cool. It was unexpected, untraditional and definitely got the word out about the new flick. Never underestimate the power of a cool ambient stunt. Sometimes, they’re so effective it’s scary.

Surprise, surprise. Text messaging and social app use increased in 2013. Actually, it tripled. Which is big news, but if you’ve been reading this blog over the past year, you probably saw this one coming. We’ve been preaching all year about how social…well, everything, is gaining popularity by the day. And how it’s a worthy medium to check out. So, again, be on the lookout for ways to incorporate social into your marketing plans. #makessense

posted 01.10.2014 by Spawn

Some weird, weird things have been trending this week. Check out this week's deck for the weird (and the not-so-weird but interesting) trends from this week.

What's it all mean?

Although there were some awkward and honestly quite strange stories and trends this week, there were also a couple incredible digital firsts.

First, Moto X and WIRED Magazine teamed up to make the first interactive print ad. Get that? The first interactive PRINT ad. We couldn't be more excited about what this means for the ultimate marriage of digital and traditional advertising. Although these mags haven't yet hit stands in Alaska, expect worldwide changes in the realm of print advertising.

Second, wearable technology keeps hitting new levels of awesome. This past week, companies worldwide displayed their newest digital products at CES 2014. We have watches that track our fitness throughout the day, goggles that take pictures, and now even toothbrushes that keep track of our oral health. We want our technology personal and wearable.

posted 01.03.2014 by Spawn

Happy new year from all of us at Spawn Ideas! This week's trends focused on recaps from 2013 and looking towards a bright future of tech trends, new memes and brave brands.

What's it mean for business?

Technology is always on the rise and 2014 is looking like a year for some exciting expansion on already existing technologies. Bigger screens for TV watching, smaller screens for biometrics, and 3D printers that can make anything your computer think of. For brands, it is important to stay on top of tech trends. Stay relevant in the conversation and always be on the lookout for "techtunities" - opportunities where your brand can take advantage of technology. And yes, we just made up that word.

We want more visuals, less words, more personalization, and less load time.Staying on top of web trends is vital. The New York Times will be unveiling a freshly redesign website next week. The goal? To improve the user experience for both desktop and mobile users. The redesign includes features like responsive designs and faster loading pages, and allows for much more reader engagement with the content. Readers will be able to view comments directly alongside articles.

posted 12.24.2013 by Spawn

2013 was a big year around the world, in Alaska and at Spawn. Here's our recap.

posted 12.13.2013 by Spawn

This week, Darth Vader snaps a selfie, YouTube celebrates the best videos of 2013, the Pope hits newsstands, and more. See what else is trending here.

What’s This Mean for Business?

Twitter shakes things up this week with a new version of its app. Now, Tweeters can more easily access messages, as well as send photos through Direct Messages. Not only does this suggest that mobile messaging is becoming ever more popular, it’s also a sign that social media stars (e.g., Twitter and Instagram) are not going anywhere anytime soon – in case you were still skeptical. So continue (or start) to take advantage.

Good news for busy and lazy people alike (especially if you happen to be a hypochondriac)  –  with Doctor on Demand, you can get medical advice from a real doctor via video chat on your mobile device. Sure, it’ll cost ya. But hey, at least you don’t have to leave the office (or couch) to talk to a doc. The point? People are connected to the world via their mobile device more than ever (probably more than what’s healthy). So, elbow your way into the mobile market place and establish a presence, one way or another. 

DiGiorno Pizza was cookin’ up some funny Tweets during The Sound of Music Live. Seems like more and more brands are trying the “live Tweet” technique nowadays. And why not? People dig this “off the cuff” stuff. Plus, it gives brands a chance to show a little personality portray themselves as more than just a corporate entity. So, Tweet it up and keep it real.

posted 12.06.2013 by Spawn

What’s trending this week? Cyber Monday sweeps the nation, Trekkies get an early Christmas gift, the world meets a real glasshole, and much more. Check it all out here.

What’s this mean for business.

Sprint calls in some heavy hitters for their new campaign. James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell act out social media and phone conversations to honor the “important” things you do on the Sprint network. It’s funny stuff. Tapping into social chatter makes for good entertainment. It’s also a way to make your ads more relatable to your consumers. Especially if your consumers are text happy social media users. Which, many people are now-a-days.

Harvey Nichols promotes selfishness this holiday season. Their “Sorry, I spent it on myself” campaign encourages you to “buy something little for them and something big for you.” Something we’ve all at least considered doing at one time or another. It just goes to show that, even when unflattering, the truth can be funny (when done right). And funny gets people’s attention.

Branded video sharing is on the rise. According to recent research, it’s 50 times higher than five years ago. Why? Maybe the videos are better. Maybe people are more social media savvy. Or, maybe people are getting sick of cat memes and need something new to share. Whatever the reason, if you’re looking to make an impact online, video is a good way to do it.

posted 11.29.2013 by Spawn

This week, clothing brand Patagonia encourages us not to buy their products, Google continues its quest to “Googlify” all aspects of life, and wives and girlfriends rejoice as Movember comes to a close and scraggily ‘staches are shaved.  See all this and more of what’s trending right here.

What’s this mean for business?

Now, Pinterest users can organize their pins by location. And search other pins by location. It’s a whole new dimension to the idea-sharing site. It shows the power of connecting user-generated content to locations on a map. For you location-centric and/or imagery driven companies out there, take a note - and pin it to your board.

There’s good news for hashtag followers, and that news is Hshtgs. No, it’s not a misspelling. It’s a new hashtag search engine that scours all social platforms for hashtags. If this is any indication, it doesn’t look like hashtags are going away anytime soon. Don’t pass them off as a short-lived trend. See if it makes sense to incorporate them into your marketing.

Royal Roads University takes testimonials to a whole new place. Inside a box. Their latest ad campaign featured what looked like traditional alumni testimonial ads on digital mall kiosks. When people touched the “connect” button, real, live university alumni popped their head out of the kiosk and started a conversation. (insert “think outside of the box” pun here). The point is, testimonials can be a great way to educate people on your brand experience. But, they’ve been done. A lot. So, find new and interesting ways to share those success stories. Maybe it’s digital. Maybe it’s traditional. Maybe it’s both.

posted 11.22.2013 by Spawn

This week, the world finds a new superhero in Batkid, Van Damm is back on top…of two trucks, and Facebook gets denied. Check out what else is trending right here.

What’s this mean for business?

Rumor has it that Facebook offered $3 billion to buy Snapchat this week. All in an attempt to stay relevant to a younger demographic. Much to “The Book’s” dismay, Snapchat straight up denied them. Smart move? Who knows? The real takeaway ... Facebook is looking towards image and video based platforms that the younger generations are using more and more everyday. If you’re after a younger audience, make sure you add other social channels like SnapChat and Instagram to your standard social media repertoire.

Micheal Bolton and Honda? Weird, but true. And hilarious. Honda features the musical icon in a number of TV spots and online videos. The campaign encourages people to send messages to loved ones using the hashtag #XOXOBolton. Some were used to create personalized online greeting cards featuring Bolton today, November 22nd. A great example of how social media can be used to not only generate interesting content, but also connect with consumers on a more intimate level.

Tour Builder puts virtual storytelling on the map. Literally. The new web app lets people tell their stories like never before with a combo of Google Earth, pictures and videos. It's in beta testing now, and we're excited to see where it goes and how brands can use it for telling their story in a geo-tagging kind of way.

posted 11.13.2013 by Spawn

This week, McRib fans everywhere rejoice, social media stars take their “talent” to Disneyland, and Facebook gets a little upgrade. What else is trending? See for yourself.

When two of the most successful online companies in history are doing something, you pay attention. Google’s new Helpouts service uses video to offer “real help from real people in real time” online. Amazon is offering a similar service with their Mayday button. These two power houses are going beyond providing products and services. They’re using technology to enhance customers’ experience and engagement. A trend that’s not going away anytime soon.

To promote the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, train passengers were encouraged to do 30 squats for a free train ticket. And it worked. Got lots of attention. Just goes to show, with the right digital tools, the right tie in and the right idea, anything can be interesting. Yes, even exercise.

British Airways rolls out a innovative digital campaign called YouRope. Think choose your own adventure book meets Youtube. It allows people to get a first person perspective of Europe with just a couple clicks of a mouse. It’s way cool. And way affordable, believe it or not. Sure it feels high tech, but the programming is pretty simple. And cheap. So remember, big time digital doesn’t always require big time budgets.

posted 11.08.2013 by Spawn

This week, facial hair abounds as Movember kicks off, Jimmy Kimmel continues to taunt candy hungry tikes, and Virgin America makes safety … fun? Yep. You bet. See what else is trending here.

What's this mean for business?

Twitter gets visual. Their new timeline allows users to easily reply, retweet, or “favorite” images and vine videos. Another example of how social media is going beyond words. Taking a more visual approach. Take note - social strategies should fall in line with this new trend.

Speaking of Twitter, Starbucks teamed up with the social media mogul this week. It is now possible to Tweet someone a Starbucks coffee. Well, a gift card anyway.  It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s a great example of how brands are beginning to use Twitter as an e-commerce platform. And why not? It helps people get and do things faster, quenching our ever growing thirst for instant gratification.

The Washington State Wine Commission came up with stellar pairing to reach influencers around the country - iPads and direct mail. iPad minis were loaded with entertaining videos and shipped out in high-class wine boxes.  Great example of blending traditional and new approaches can create cool, attention grabbing advertising. Something we should all do more. We raise our glasses to you, WSWC. Cheers.

posted 10.31.2013 by Spawn

This week, Tourism Victoria introduces the remote control tourist, people eat up the concept of  “guilt-free consumption,” and Instagram gets addy. Check out everything that’s trending right here.

What's this mean for business?

Just in time for Halloween, Crest brings kids’ worst nightmare to life. They replaced Halloween candy with health food. Needless to say, the kids’ reactions were hilarious (and at times, kind of gross). What’s the take away? Look for ways to make your brand relevant to current events. And use kids in everything you do. They’re adorable.

Good news, pranksters. With the help of Google Maps/Street View, Cheetos gives you the power to digitally TP your friends. Over 111,000,000 feet of virtual toilet paper have been dropped so far. So what’s this mean? You don’t need to develop some fancy, new technology to create cool digital ideas. Some of the best ideas use technology that already exists.  

Marriot takes customer service to a new level with their “Travel Brilliantly” campaign. What do their customers want? Healthier vending machines. Whether you agree with putting leafy greens in vending machines or not, the point is this: The web gives you direct access to consumers. Take advantage of it. Ask them stuff. Listen. It can make your brand and products better.

posted 10.25.2013 by Spawn

You know when your friend is ignoring your super interesting story to comment on an Instagram post or respond to a text message? That's called phubbing. And it's trending. 

What else is trending? Check it out!

What's it all mean for business?

Velcro sells ads? In an effort to respond to the ever-growing trend of "ad blindness," Coca-Cola recently used Velcro to "grab" the attention of consumers. Do your target audience members suffer from this debilitating ailment? The answer ... It's not necessarily Velcro, but what can you do to grab their attention?

A brave brand we can't stop thinking about - UN Women. This organization created a compelling campaign using real Google searches to raise awareness to sexism. The point? These are genuine searches -- actual Google searches. Enough people around the world share these opinions that Google expects them. This shows the power of technology ... and ignorance.

Mammograms are uncomfortable .. and awkward to talk about. #mamming aims to solve one of those problems - the whole awkard conversation part. How? Using social media to encourage women to shed this awkwardness and make mammograms cool. Turn something hard to talk about and make it the thing to talk about and you've started a conversation about something that really matters.

posted 10.09.2013 by Spawn

This week, brands are going big. Burger King comes out with a huge French fry campaign – literally. Hot Pockets calls on a legendary rapper to reach late night snackers. And featured in our Brave Brand spotlight, Ron Burgundy romanticizes the heck out of the Dodge Durango…glove box?

Be sure to check out all of this week’s big trends here.

What does this mean for business?

Ads will soon be finding their way onto Instagram. This is huge news for brands worldwide. After all, the photo app does have 150 million users. But there is one question on people’s minds: Will the number of Instagram users take a hit due to commercial intrusion? Maybe. Maybe not. Guess we’ll have to see.

Duane Reade reaches a Twitter milestone - 1 million followers. And it wasn’t by accident. They celebrated the achievement with posters, ads and parties. Take a lesson from DR. Your brand exists on social media whether you like it or not. So, embrace it. Use it to your advantage. Who knows, your brand could be a social media sensation, too.

Flipboard, a hub for web-based magazines, is popular. While it features mainstream pubs like The NY Times and Vanity Fair, brand-based magazines are putting their stamp on content creation, too. Why? It’s more than just product shots and prices. These brands are creating beautiful, interesting, and relevant content for readers. So remember, brands are content providers. And ones finding more innovative ways to get that content out there are finding more consumers engaging with their brand. 

posted 10.04.2013 by Spawn

What’s trending this week? The new GoPro camera excites outdoor enthusiasts worldwide. An unsatisfied, overworked employee quits her job via viral video. Plus, Green Giant brings a great cause-marketing campaign to the table. There's more! Just look inside ...

What's it mean for business?

YouTube is getting ready to host their own music awards this November. The show will feature mainstream stars along with musicians who’ve built a significant following via YouTube. Since the online video site reaches more US adults (18-34) than any cable network, it’s safe to say there will be lots of eyeballs glued to the computer screen. Proof that YouTube is a forward moving company that is, and will continue to be, a legit medium for reaching the masses.

Sherman Williams is blowing minds with their ColorSnap Glass. Using Google Glass, users can snap photos of colors in the real world. They can then get Sherman Williams paint in those same colors via digital swatches (provided through Glass). The point? Real-time and real-life advertising is on the horizon worldwide, where digital technology can truly enhance a consumer's experience with your brand.

Veggies take a stand! Green Giant recently introduced “Raise a Giant” – an anti-bullying campaign that encourages youngsters to standup to bullies. The video will run on major news websites and YouTube during October, which is National Bullying Prevention Month. “Raise a Giant” is good-looking campaign with a great message outside the norm of the regular ad campaigns from Green Giant. There are people behind your brand. Take a stand on what you believe in.

posted 09.27.2013 by Spawn

This week we have our eyes on some cutting edge communicators who are using social media (and other technology) to connect to people like never before. And as an added bonus, a little comic relief from celebrities sharing cookies over hashtags. Enjoy.

What does this mean for business?

Two big players provide another example of how social media can be a powerful tool for targeted messaging. CBS and Twitter partnered up to bring live video streaming to the Twittersphere, providing a new and improved way for CBS and advertisers to provide real time content to targeted audiences.

Gap turns advertising on its head by using social media stars to showcase one of their new collections via Vine. It’s fresh. It’s unexpected. It’s a great example of how brands can use social media (and social media users) to break through the clutter. The point? Use what is already existing on social media in a way that promotes your message. Whether that's other users, trending hashtags or relevant posts, engage with social media in a way that connects you and your brand to what's already out there.

America’s Cup, the world’s oldest championship, shows us that even old dogs can learn new tricks. Historically, the event could only be viewed in person. This year, through the wonders of technology, America’s cup was viewable via TV and YouTube, complete with on-board audio and multiple viewable angles. The takeaway: be on the lookout for ways to get yourself seen by new and different audiences.

posted 09.20.2013 by Spawn

This week's trends are all about imagination ... and re-imagination. That a look at What's Trending this week and you'll see why.

What are the takeaways?

Grey Poupon does an excellent job this week of showing us how to re-imagine the old to make the new. They took the quintessential Grey Poupon commercial and turned it into an action-packed and humorous new spot. Kudos! And pass the Grey Poupon?

It takes quite the imagination to decide that your viewers' eyeballs should control your new ad. Virgin Mobile takes cutting-edge technology and digital videos to the next level with a fun, interactive and super addictive ad experience. Think … how can you create something more than an ad? How can you create an experience?

As seen through the social media influx at London Fashion Week, technology gives people a “front row seat” to events, products and services. Re-imagine how you communicate and engage with people. Social media can be used strategically to give your customers, followers or fans a front row seat to what you offer.

Finally, we take a look at the Colorado Flood. The technology of disaster coverage has evolved quickly. Twitter helped people make connections and locate loved ones by pushing alerts on mobile phones sent free to anyone who signed up. Twitter was used to offer life-saving information. In times of emergency and disaster, sometimes the only thing we have is a cell phone. Social media provides a platform for real-time support in the palm of our hands.

posted 09.13.2013 by Spawn

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock this past week, you know that not only one, but two new iPhones were announced by Apple. The less expensive iPhone 5C, targets a younger, less-affluent audience. Will this $99 phone cheapen the Apple brand or cannibalize demand for its more expensive model, the 5S? We’ll see…

Other trends include Jimmy Falon’s twerking hoax, a 54-shot rally at the U.S. Open Final and Trident Gum using Vine for advertising. Find out more in “What’s Trending:"

What this means for business:

“Just a Reflektor,” a new Interactive Music Video from Arcade Fire, shows us one way to up the engagement game with art, music and digital technology. Web visitors use their Web browser, webcam and a smartphone to control the illumination of the video. Very cool.

New Twitter Lead Generation Cards allow businesses to register users and their emails for tweeted promotions or membership offers. Will Twitter-commerce, aka T-commerce, give traditional e-commerce a run for its money?

RPA’s listening cloud is data visualization that’s found balance between form and function... in an interesting way. Are your infographics, interactive charts/graphs. social media hub sites and other tools as effective and engaging as they can be? The cloud makes an important point about social listening as well. Do it in a way that doesn't invade your consumers' privacy. 42% of consumers expect brands to respond to positive comments in social, but 43% say social listening invades privacy.

posted 09.06.2013 by Spawn

Do you frequently stay up all night wondering to yourself, “what is the sound a fox makes?” Probably not, but Norwegian band Ylvis does, and mad a hilarious music video based on this quandary.

Last week, top trends included the big logo reveal from Yahoo, fashion buzz around the New York Fashion Show, and the new Netflix-for-books.

Check out more recent trends now…

What are a few takeaways for businesses?

The San Francisco 49’ers are taking advantage of the NFL trend by looking for new ways to enhance game day experiences through mobile and real-time digital systems. What else can you offer your clients to enhance their experience with your business?

Promoted Tweets aren’t just for complaining about bad customer service. In fact, they are even better suited for brands looking to make a relevant connection with users. With 25% of Twitter users saying they have seen Promoted Tweets from brands that are relevant to them, it is high time businesses consider using Promoted Tweets to share relevant content with current and potential customers.

With services like Netflix, Pandora and now, Oyster, it is clear that consumers embrace subscription-based services. What does this mean for your brand? One, when contemplating potential advertising avenues, keep subscription-based services in mind for potential digital displays. Two, consumers appreciate the ability to browse, search, and receive recommendations for consumables. This can be a key insight for businesses offering content that can be served digitally.

Finally, Movistar, a Peruvian mobile phone network, was the brave brand of the week. Movistar’s campaign used digital and social media smartly. They aligned themselves with major local personalities. They tied themselves to a truly unique (and popular) local holiday – and they did so in such a way as to “own” it for a day. Many brands tried to draw connections between their business and a national holiday, but Movistar became that holiday. Their campaign inspired Peruvians. They were able to connect thousands of Peruvians to their history, to their country, to each other, and to Movistar. A brilliant and moving campaign.

posted 08.28.2013 by Spawn

Miley Cyrus grosses out millions; Twitter and Tumblr battle over numbers; the New York Times online gets hacked.  It’s been a crazy week!

Much of what’s trending this week revolves around the Video Music Awards (VMAs) and as a result, our brave brand of the week is Beats Electronics. Beats used real time VMA coverage to (quickly) inspire digital ads. This is brave, because it’s not always easy to interact with your customers in real time. But when you do… you’re engaging and relevant. 

New Facebook updates are trending this week, too. Soon, up to 50 contributors can contribute up to 200 photos each into shared photo albums. The most interesting part of this story? A Facebook user and a company-wide Hackathon initiated it.

Take a look at our weekly report on What’s Trending for more information on these and other stories.

What does this mean for business?

A couple of important takeaways, in our opinion…

We wear wristbands that tell us how active we are throughout the day. We wear accessories that tell us how we sleep. Our phones calculate how far we run, and so on. This “quantified self” movement is the business of digitizing our physical lives. We are increasingly interested in concrete data that tells us more about ourselves.

Brands can take guidance from this, as there are many opportunities for you to help your customers make their lives easier, better or more informed. Whether digitized heart-rate monitors or a blog with regular information on how to improve heart health, your customers want to consume meaningful information that improves their lives. You have the ability to help them accomplish this. The more you provide meaningful content, the more trust, respect and loyalty you will receive. 

People are shopping on their phones and tablets more and more.  An astounding 33% of all web visits to top e-commerce sites come strictly from mobile devices. What does this mean for you? You’ll gain the most traffic if your website is optimized for mobile users in a way that is simple, clean and makes it easy to accomplish primary tasks (e.g. buy something, contact you, or get more information). Want to sell stuff online? Go mobile or go home!

posted 08.23.2013 by Spawn

What do hotdog legs, A-Rod and iTunes Radio have in common? They’re all trending.

Last week, top trends included Alaska Senator Begich, new YouTube app functionality and a viral Mumford & Sons music video.

Also, kudos to the brave brand of the week:  Art Series Hotel Group, in Australia. This hotel chain demonstrated how a little creativity can make up for a small advertising budget; even in the toughest of business circumstances. The campaign resulted in drastic increases in room sales, room service fees, global PR coverage, website conversions and social media impressions. Definitely a video worth watching.

Check out the below presentation for a peek into what we thought were some interesting trends from last week.

What does this mean for business?

No matter what your advertising budget or how large the problem, a little bit of creativity can go a long way. Think about the real life issues that people face everyday, then provide a solution or content that responds to those issues – answers those questions.

Comedy is an extremely useful marketing tool. It makes you accessible and real to the everyday consumer … And what better way to create a viral video?

You can have wide-reaching conversations that make a difference, no matter what the topic or  physical location.– as Alaska Senator Mark Begich recently proved.

Engaging your audience is often easier than you think. Simply put yourself in the shoes of the everyday consumer and empathize with their potential “pain point” - This is an effective way to realize solutions that accomplish even the most complex marketing goals.  Ask yourself:  What problems do I face in everyday life?  What do I find entertaining, interesting or funny?  More often than not, if you solve a problem for a consumer (or simply make them smile), you’ve done your job.