4 Must-Have Holiday Wish List Items 2015: App-Controlled Devices

Where would we be today if it wasn’t for our smartphones?

No, seriously. I honestly can’t fathom where I would be today without my smartphone. Maybe since I wasn’t even old enough to drive when I got my first smartphone, it seems impossible to imagine a world without Google Maps to help you get around (because, come on, it’s impossible to read MapQuest when you’re in the car by yourself!) or to check the address of a restaurant.

I suppose we called 411 to get necessary info. What if we were out and about and we forgot our MapQuest and ON TOP OF THAT we realized that  vegan cousin Vicky was joining us for dinner and we couldn’t remember if the restaurant had options for her or not? Would we ask them to read the menu for us? Of course, even this fictitious scenario requires a cellphone (to call 411) and a printer with Internet (for MapQuest). Nonetheless, now that we’ve grown so accustomed it’s hard for any us to imagine living without them.

Not to mention, how did we ever even live (please note my sarcasm) without these app-controlled devices that incorporate some sort of emerging media element  for marketers to develop?

Nonetheless, the holiday season is upon us and let’s check out a few of my favorite gadgets that’s sure to be on everyone’s wish list!

  1. Fitbit Wi-Fi Smart Scale : You’ve heard of activity trackers that consistently monitor your activity and calories burned, but this smart scale will automatically add every weigh-in to your smartphone, customizable to your settings. The use of this scale is recommended in tandem with Fitbit’s online social community of other like-minded individuals looking to lose or maintain weight. You can also share your results to Facebook or Twitter to solicit support from family and friends to keep you on track! From $129.99
  2.  Double Robotics Telepresence Robot for iPad Tablet:   Want to creep out your employees while you’re away on business? For $2,500 you can have someone snap an iPad into a robot base – which you control remotely using a remote. It does look pretty ridiculous….



But the implications for future technology and the ability in which we communicate could change drastically in the future. Particularly for some individuals in sales and marketing, we could save significant amounts of time with the ability to travel and build relationships remotely. That is, if you can get over the whole looking-like-a-robot part. $2,500

3. The Smart (Cooking) Scale and Perfect Bartender: Yup, this is probably exactly what you think it is, but it doesn’t make it any less cool! Connected to via smartphone, the Smart Cooking Scale and Smart Bartender use the weight of the ingredient you place inside the bowl or cup to let you know if you’re putting in the right amount of everything. Accidentally add too much whiskey to your drink? The Smart Bartender automatically catches it and readjusts the rest of the ingredients you’ll need to add to fix it! Both devices have unique apps that include hundreds of recipes and discounts. As a marketer, the potential for similar devices is exciting! As a food company – think of the recipes you could craft  and food items you could sell to work seamlessly with such a device. Imagine being able to enjoy the benefits of a home-cooked meal (because let’s face it, microwavable isn’t just the same, even if it is all psychological) with much less work? Around $50 each

4. Smart PJ’s: Never did I think these day would come, although I guess I’m not altogether that surprised. These patterned PJs (pairs for little boys and little girls available) hold dozens of stories. All Mom or Dad (or anyone with a smartphone!) needs to do is “scan” a pattern on the PJ’s with their phone. A different children’s bedtime story will be revealed once the pattern has been scanned. It seems pretty difficult to keep track of which pattern you’ve already scanned (I can hear it now – “Mooooooooom, we already heard this one!) however again this also has some pretty cool potential for marketers. For example, what little boy or girl who loves Disney or Star Wars wouldn’t go nuts for a pair of their favorite patterned PJs with dozen of hidden stories (all related & connected, of course)? Since the action is really happening at the app versus the pajama source, “rotating” stories per season or the ability to purchase new stories also add an element of surprise. Or, you could just buy a nice handcover anthology of bedtime stories and do away with “smart” anything at night. Maybe, just maybe, I’m a bit of an old-fashioned 22-year-old. $30 each

What potential do you see for marketers as new, sophisticated technologies develop for consumers? Have we become too obsessed with “smart” objects or “smart” everything? How do we know when to draw the line? 


4 Must-Have Holiday Wish List Items 2015: App-Controlled Devices

Go to the beach during your lunch hour no matter how cold it is outside: Virtual Vacations and the future of travel!

Did it just get cold where you live? After yet another day in Chicago with weather in the 60s yesterday, I (consciously) knew that our good luck was going to run out. I just didn’t think it was going to be so soon…

Today marks the emergence of my winter coat from the closet, with a severe winter storm on the horizon starting in about an hour. Sigh. All good things must come to an end.

Given the recent announcement of Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels, (to create the world’s largest hotel company) I thought speaking about their current technologically-driven marketing strategy would be particularly timely.

Take a trip to the beach (virtually!) with Marriott Hotels.  In 2014, Marriott Hotels introduced the first-ever “Teleporters” in public areas throughout New York City. Using advanced virtual reality technology, Marriott developed fully-immersive booths that “travelers” could step into for a 100-second journey to a Hawaiian resort. Wearing a virtual reality headset, the experience appealed to all “senses” with synthetic scents, fans, and a rolling platform to mimic motion. The response to the experience was so overwhelmingly positive, Marriott decided to offer in-room VR headsets by request starting in Fall 2015. While consumers can purchase their own VR headsets from any big-box electronics store, Marriott’s will be more sophisticated and offer content not found anywhere else.


Retrieved from Prodigy.Umbrella



Retrieved from Marriott.com

Nope, sorry, you’re still here.

While Marriott understands that virtual reality technology will likely never replace actual vacations, (and quite frankly, it would be counterintuitive for a hotel company to try and promote an alternate means of travel that would eliminate the need for their services) they hope their emphasis on technology will appeal to younger travels and millennials. However, Marriott could sufficiently develop the technology enough that travelers would be able to “preview” a new property. Additionally, they hope to offer immersive experiences to destinations that most travelers will never be able to afford, such as Mt. Kilimanjaro.

So what do you think? Is this just an elaborate, creative guerilla marketing stunt for Marriott? Marketing that employs virtual reality technology, a part of the “augmented reality” marketing movement, is growing increasingly popular across a wide range of industries.

Do you think there’s any chance that this technology will “take off” as a viable way for travelers to preview a resort or “travel” to an exotic, out-of-reach location? Or do you simply see it as an inventive marketing stunt – and that alone? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Maybe I don’t have the time off to get to Hawaii right now, but I sure wouldn’t mind a brief escape to Hawaii during my office lunch break…

Go to the beach during your lunch hour no matter how cold it is outside: Virtual Vacations and the future of travel!

Digital Marketing: Does “our power” equal “our responsibility”?

Spiderman’s Uncle Ben once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” This post doesn’t have anything to do with defeating the Green Goblin, but this quote always comes to my mind. When thinking about emerging forms of media, we’re constantly reminded that technology is only getting smarter. More sophisticated forms of technology enable more interactive, immersive experiences for marketers to create for prospective customers.

For example, Toshiba is developing “digital changing booths” that allow customers to virtually try on clothes through a display using 3D scanners and cameras. While this technology has been attempted by brands in the United States and Europe in years past,  none have reached Toshiba’s level of sophistication. Imagine the impact that such a fully formed, developed technology could have on fashion retail marketing. It could be revolutionary. It could improve the lives of individuals who cannot change clothing without assistance, or those too ashamed of their bodies to try on new clothes.

Now, on the other hand…

Sophisticated technology can also have some pretty scary implications for marketing, too. I’m specifically referring to a 2013 “prankvertising” stunt in Brazil to promote the release of the latest Chucky film, horror’s lovable red-haired “doll.” (Yes, that Chucky.)


Retrieved from Fanpop.com

Sorry for the scary image. I don’t like it any more than you do. Unless you like these movies. In that case, my sincere apologies.

In a lighted billboard at a bus stop in Brazil, an actor dressed like Chucky actually stood inside the billboard to spook unsuspecting transit riders. No one knew that a real actor was actually posing as Chucky. A normal bus stop poster/billboard it most certainly was not! Hidden cameras captured riders casually waiting for the bus. After a few seconds, Chucky’s signature laughter would be heard and the lights would flicker. While this spooked some, many still seemed relatively unfazed. However, a few seconds after that, the actor playing Chucky would suddenly “bust” through the poster, running after petrified and unsuspecting patrons with a toy knife. You can see the petrifying video here.

Personally, I don’t think such an adver-“prank” would ever “fly” here in the United States. I was shocked to discover that Universal actually approved this prank, given the potential for lawsuits. I don’t find such a prank to be funny at all, especially given current circumstances. Being chased by a “doll” wielding a knife, while perhaps “sounding” somewhat harmless, would actually be horrifying – and potentially scarring to many. Growing up in the United States, have I become too “PC” or do you agree with my thoughts?

Do you think that this is another example of a company using their marketing power for “evil” instead of “good”? Do we agree with me that we have a “responsibility” as marketers to consider the implications of our decisions? Let me know in the comments below!

Digital Marketing: Does “our power” equal “our responsibility”?

I Don’t Remember The World Without Internet: Emerging Media is Now

“Whether we like it or not, the communications world is rapidly changing, and this is heavily effecting the advertising and marketing community. There must be a massive shift in the way we communicate our brand message. We must build relationships and grow our brand through unique selling points and complete transparency. We must build relationships with our potential customer regardless of our product or service.”  – ABC Creative Group

Hi there. My name is Holly. I grew up in the era of social and emerging media. I scarcely remember the days when we didn’t have internet in the house (probably because I was only 4 years old). I had to actually wait until I was old enough to join Facebook. I’m glued to my smartphone. My generation is entering the workforce and we will soon be the primary purchasers in the United States. Marketers must pay close attention to how we consume and interact with media. Why is it important?

Some forms of “emerging” media, as classified by certain individuals and groups, aren’t really even considered new or “emerging” technologies anymore. This just goes to show how rapidly technology evolves.

Just take a look at this timeline from Target Process to see what I mean:


Think about it this way: In the past, consumers would hear radio advertisements, see television commercials, and gloss over print ads in the Sunday paper. Nowadays we see hundreds of ads per day: On the Internet, on our favorite free mobile app, and even short video clips in line at the supermarket or in an elevator. While this presents an incredible opportunity for marketers to reach thousands, it’s hard to “cut through the clutter.” Significant thought and care must be given to placement.

Any brand that wants to stay relevant cannot “ignore” emerging forms of media. Some brands argue that participating isn’t important, since their current customers are of a demographic that embraces more traditional forms of media.

For example, if a brand’s current customers are heavy newspaper readers, it makes sense to advertise heavily in print. However, what happens if future predictions come true that print media will die?


Equally, what happens when their customer base (and last “non-digital age” generation) We must continually embrace new changes, and apply them to customers as best fit.

In my opinion, the most significant change our market has seen is a shift towards “two-way” forms of communication. In the past, messages were shared directly from brand to consumer. Now, anyone can write a review of a product and post it on Facebook for the world to see. Or they could equally make a video testimonial and post it to YouTube within five minutes. Anyone can be a “content creator” and this can have a significant impact on your brand. 90% of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. Not to mention, it completely changes the way that customers interact with brands. Building an authentic and lasting relationship with a customer is entirely possible in our ever-connected society.

We have conversations in real-time with fans and detractors. 72% of customers expect a response to a negative Tweet within one hour.

Our purchase decisions are no longer based solely on traditional advertisements and peer recommendations.

As ABC Creative Group said, “like it or not,” massive changes are taking place. Is your marketing strategy ready for them?

I Don’t Remember The World Without Internet: Emerging Media is Now