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Events

Gamification Livens Up Events

LiveCube LogoGamification has cast a wide net and has been applied to many parts of our personal and business lives. We tuned in remotely to the GSummit in San Francisco this week–and while we didn’t see anyone tackled on the conference stage as in a recent episode of HBO’s “Silicon Valley”, we did hear about the broad inroads gamification has made and the ways in which it’s used for events.

Gamification now enables motivation to be delivered digitally, said analyst Brian Burke of Gartner Group. “All the elements of gamification have been around for years”, he added, like sponsors, contests, points and prizes. The difference now is digital, which offers an improved model to incentivize people. Now with greater connectivity you can scale to an audience of any size, at any location and it takes far less time to reach one’s business or personal goals.

Events are an area where gamification comes in quite handy, especially with event hashtags. Aaron Price, co-founder of LiveCube, acknowledged what those in attendance are familiar with – there are so many distractions that event organizers need to keep the crowd focused. Price’s solution is LiveCube, accessible via website or app, that clients like TEDx have used.

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Naming Names in the Growing Ranks of Hotel Brands

Epiphany HotelWhile there’s no magic formula for launching new hotel brands, E = mc2 best suits some recent hotel concepts. That’s because the famous physics energy equation reflects new or planned properties and brands, namely Epiphany from Joie de Vivre Hospitality, Moxy from Marriott International and Curio collection from Hilton Worldwide.

Branding was a hot topic at NYU’s International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference this week in New York, where panelists weighed in on the degree-of-difficulty factor, the rationale for launching new offerings and repositioning legacy brands. Names do matter, but they’re only part of the picture. Below are key takeaways.

Creating new brands for the long-haul: “Brand building isn’t for wimps; it’s for the persistent and patient. Most brands grow slowly, and you need to think several years out, since you’re often signing 20-year licensing agreements”, said James Anhut, SVP of design and quality at IHG/InterContinental Hotels Group.

Big hotel companies still have an edge, noted David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western International. “It’s immensely difficult to start from scratch. But it’s easier for larger scale hotel companies to create smart brands that will appeal in the long run.”

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At Internet Week, Mayor Bill de Blasio Outlined NYC’s Plans for ‘World-Class’ Tech Sector

Internet Week NY Bill de Blasio Courtesy of Jenny ChangNew York City Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered a resounding endorsement of the tech industry and the city’s role in further encouraging the sector’s growth during the opening keynote of Internet Week New York this morning. Perhaps the first indication of his enthusiasm was his punctual arrival at IWNY, which was packed with media and tech industry workers.

As the mayor reminded the crowd, “if a similar event was happening in Silicon Valley, the attendees would have to drive back to work, but here you can walk or bike back. That’s part of the glory of New York’s tech community. I’m proud to say that New York has the second largest tech sector. We’re growing, with 291,000 jobs that already exist in the tech system. We’re committed to a 5-borough approach, since there are start-ups in every borough”, he added.

De Blasio emphasized his hope that governmental efforts will help make the tech industry’s work experience better, especially since technology’s rise has fueled other parts of the local economy. He also acknowledged the prior mayor’s tech initiatives. “Bloomberg‘s administration did a fine job of setting the table, and we want to continue that effort.”

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Hollywood, Marketing Execs Talk Trends in Branded Entertainment

Madison & Vine BookBrands partnering with entertainment outlets to produce content represent an effective, though selective phenomenon, according to entertainment executives at a recent Creative Week panel in New York. They were there to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Scott Donaton‘s book, Madison & Vine that spotlighted the trend.

“It was about marketing in an end-user controlled world. It was initially fear-based, that TV viewers would skip ads because of the introduction of TIVO. The thought was that brands could say worthy things that are story-based”, explained Donaton, former editor of Ad Age, and currently global chief content officer at UM Studio.

Key takeaways revolve around the evolution and dynamics involved:

Defining moments of branded entertainment abound, especially BMW Films (aka the gold standard) and BMW videos featuring Daniel Craig as James Bond. The Restaurant TV show also broke new ground. “The show’s thesis was that restaurants were the new theatre”, said Ben Silverman, founder and chairman of Electus. Of course, it’s easy to see that now, but it was rather novel at the time. Among other notable collaborations are American Idol and Coca-Cola, The Biggest Loser and 24-Hour Fitness, and Transformers movie and Hasbro.

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Did Zac Posen Steal the Spotlight at the Met Gala Last Night?

metmuseum zacThe Met Gala was in full effect last night, which means everyone today is talking about who wore what. Given that this year the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute is featuring the exhibit “Charles James: Beyond Fashion,” ball gowns would be a most appropriate tie-in. James’ own designs included lots of volume, lots of strapless, lots of what you would think if you were to immediately conjure the image of a princess.

So it should be no surprise that Zac Posen was a popular choice. Sarah Silverman, model Arizona Muse and Dita von Teese were among the seven celebs on the red carpet wearing his designs.

“Posen’s gowns tend to be elaborately constructed, often sporting bodices with folds and creases that resemble sartorial origami,” writes The Washington Post. In a world where modern red carpet fashion tends to vacillate between sleek and slouchy, Posen’s heavily tailored and structured pieces are fussy in a way that can seem anachronistic. ”

But when the moment calls for it — and let’s face it, if you’re going to the Met Gala, you’re having a moment — this is when you want to pull out the big guns. (Or big ruffles, if you will.)

For the designer and Project Runway host, this could be just the moment that his label needs.

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Holland Tourism: Masters of Cool

Amsterdam Clipper Ship Sign2 Cropped“I never had such a good backdrop”, said President Obama. During a recent state visit to The Netherlands, he took a side trip to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, home of Rembrandt’s renowned Nightwatch painting. As his comment indicates, he was duly impressed. Only select destinations worldwide merit presidential visits, and a visit to The Hague prompted Obama’s trip.

The President’s visit may help put The Netherlands front and center for U.S. travelers, who represent the country’s fourth largest source of visitors. The Dutch tourism effort in the U.S. has been quite active lately, as Holland continues to upgrade its star attractions. Many of its famous museums are being renovated, and they’re reopening in stages.

We checked with The Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC) about its PR and marketing programs. They partnered with Amsterdam Marketing, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for a 3-year joint marketing program, “Holland. The Original Cool”. The campaign’s video series has been the most visible joint effort. Launched last year, it features Pim de Koel, the country’s cool brand ambassador, as he teaches an American traveler about unique aspects of Dutch culture. Last year the video received over a million views, and this year it’s a three-part series, with the second episode debuting today.

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Tune in Tomorrow for Career Advice from Microsoft’s Marketing Manager

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Three quick questions:

  • Do you have a free moment tomorrow at lunchtime?
  • Would you like some advice on how to begin and advance your career in communications, social media and/or marketing?
  • Would you like to hear current Microsoft head of marketing/former Social@Ogilvy VP Geoffrey Colon discuss the matter?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, then we strongly encourage you to tune in at 1 PM tomorrow for Mediabistro’s “Career Lunch Hangout” as managing editor Valerie Berrios and MediaJobsDaily editor/career expert Vicki Salemi host a Google+ event with Colon, marketing manager at Microsoft.

More details after the jump.

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Internet Week New York Is Around the Corner

Internet Week New York 2014 Design Within Reach1 Cropped“People ultimately want homes that work, and they don’t want to think about repairs. In the future, with smart homes and the ‘Internet of Things’, your home will take care of you”. Those comments were made by design specialists during a recent Internet Week New York preview panel. Manhattan’s Hudson Yards development, slated to open starting in 2017, serves as an example of high-tech, low- maintenance homes.

While residential projects like these are farther away on the horizon, Internet Week New York is only a month from now. The weeklong citywide festival showcasing the impact of technology on business, entertainment and culture will take place starting May 19. While 250  events will be held around town, Internet Week HQ is Metropolitan Pavilion, a spacious venue conveniently located in Chelsea.

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The Multifaceted Asian Consumer Market

Uniqlo Store SoHo Mannequins1 Cropped“Overall Asia is a market in flux, with radical changes and an influx of tech and global brands. It creates a society where consumers are being pulled in different directions”, said Bernd Schmitt. Not only are there distinctions between developed and emerging Asian countries, but he noted it’s also important not to generalize or stereotype Asian consumer and cultural trends.

Schmitt’s perspective is based on extensive experience living, working and traveling throughout Asia. He’s a visiting professor at Singapore’s Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI) and professor at New York’s Columbia Business School. He recently spoke at an event in New York about his latest book, The Changing Face of the Asian Consumer. Joining him were panelists Colin Mitchell, Ogilvy & Mather’s worldwide head of planning, and Brian Buchwald, CEO/co-founder of Bomoda, a marketplace for Chinese consumers to purchase premium global brands.

The main takeaways focus on the interplay of economic, cultural, brand and market factors.

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Brand Moves: Audi Snaps Into Action and E*TRADE Scraps the Cheeky Baby

Audi Snapchat Dog Courtesy of HUGEBeing a brand that’s witty, irreverent or challenges convention isn’t so easy, especially since those companies set the bar high and their customers come to expect unique, creative ads and social communications. Two such brands, Audi and E*TRADE, shared their stories at Ad Age’s Digital Conference this week in New York. Audi detailed their use of Snapchat during the Super Bowl game, and E*TRADE discussed their decision to end their popular baby ad campaign.

Audi picks up the pace: “Being a challenger brand gives us an edge”, said Anna Russell, Audi’s general manager of brand marketing. She outlined the car brand’s core messages: they’re “champions of progress”, using LED lighting, they “challenge convention”, particularly with their Quattro system, and they’re a “brand of action” and frequent sports sponsor.

Still, as Aaron Shapiro, CEO of their agency, HUGE, noted, with the Oreo effect, “now every brand is piling on no matter how relevant or not” in real-time marketing during events. He said Audi didn’t want to use a “me-too strategy”. (Plus, they needed to be careful since they were involved in a 2010 Super Bowl campaign controversy).

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