Posted by Barry Silverstein on March 6, 2014 06:20 PM
Each year, it seems SXSW (South By South West) gets more and more curious—and this year is no exception. Once dedicated to music, the 2014 SXSW festival, running from March 7 through 16 in Austin, Texas, now defines itself as "Music, Film, Interactive." Indeed, the festival has served as the launch pad for some of the market's most high-profile startups, including Foursquare.
Beyond that, SXSW is a potpourri of personalities, popular trends and brands vying for attention. Indeed, last year's extravaganza was a "feeding ground for viral campaigns and unique marketing stunts." This year? Well, you can expect more of the same—just amped up a few notches.
In fact, SXSW 2014 may end up being known for notoriety. None other than the world's most infamous whistleblower, Edward Snowden, will speak on March 10 via teleconference. He'll be conversing with Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) "on the impact of the NSA's spying efforts on the technology community, and the ways in which technology can help to protect us from mass surveillance," according to the festival's site.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 6, 2014 05:44 PM
In a classic example of, “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em,” Getty Images has granted open access to its image treasure trove—for free.
Conceding its losing battle over online photo infringement, users can now embed and share imagery for non-commercial use on websites, blogs and social media sites via a new embed tool.
"Images are the communication medium of today and imagery has become the world’s most spoken language,” said Jonathan Klein, co-founder and CEO Getty Images, according to Marketing Magazine. “Innovation and disruption are the foundation of Getty Images, and we are excited to open up our vast and growing image collection for easy, legal sharing in a new way that benefits our content contributors and partners, and advances our core mission to enable a more visually-rich world."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 6, 2014 04:44 PM
Mobile is at the heart of consumer consumption, and media brands have been listening hard. That's why news organizations like CNN and the New York Times have launched recent site redesigns optimized for mobile devices including smartphones and tablets, and now it's Time's turn.
In the same week that Newsweek has returned to the printing presses, Time.com has launched an extensive overhaul of its website, which is now better suited for viewing on mobile and hosting more videos and native ads.
“Our data suggest that nearly half of you are currently reading this on a smartphone or tablet,” Time wrote in a post describing the changes. “Time invented the news brief; the original magazine included 100 stories, none longer than 400 words. Fittingly, the centerpiece of our new home page is The Brief, a fast take on the 12 stories you need to know about right now.”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 6, 2014 03:42 PM
Is it only online sales? Dwindling incidence of printing from the computer? Or are the winter weather, slow-growth economy, and dollar stores also to blame for the fact that Staples has become the second major chain this week to announce a mass closing of stores.
The nation's largest office-supply company, one that helped remake the face of American retailing a generation ago into a collection of "big boxes," said it's going to close more than 10 percent of its North American stores by the end of next year, up to 225 of them, as part of a plan to save about $500 million a year.
The reason cited is that nearly half of Staples' sales now are online, both to businesses and consumers, and it must adjust. "This is essential," Staples CEO Ron Sargent told analysts, according to the Associated Press in describing his plan to "fundamentally reinvent" Staples.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 6, 2014 03:38 PM
If you can't get to one of Taco Bell's 5,500 locations during any of the four "day parts" the chain has recognized, now including breakfast, then there's another way for you to solve your craving for all things Bell: stop at your local supermarket.
Kraft has been partnering with Taco Bell since 1996 to offer Taco Bell-branded products in the grocery aisles, now totaling 28 different items ranging from sauces to "dessert kits" that require only the addition of ice cream, according to Advertising Age.
Now Kraft and the chain are turning up the heat on their collaboration this week by launching four new products: two dinner kits and two seasonings. The Taco Bell Ultimate Taco Night Kit, for example, comes in two varieties—Cheesy Taco Grande and Steak & Cheese Soft Taco Kit, both featuring Kraft's Velveeta cheese (which isn't offered in Taco Bell products in restaurants).Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 6, 2014 02:12 PM
Hope you didn’t give up gossip magazines for Lent, because Ash Wednesday marked the launch of one of the most improbable titles in publishing history. Il Mio Papa (My Pope) features 68 pages of photos of the man himself along with papal pronouncements, “peeks into his personal life,” and, yes, “a pullout centerfold of the pope, accompanied by a quote,” according to the New York Times.
“It’s a sort of fanzine, but of course it can’t be like something you’d do for One Direction,” the magazine’s editor, Aldo Vitali, told the Times. “We aim to be more respectful, more noble.”
Those aren’t exactly the terms some would use in describing the Mondadori publishing company, which publishes celebrity gossip weekly Chi and is owned by former Prime Minister (and noted partier) Silvio Berlusconi. “We don’t want gossip or paparazzi,” Vitali said. “We’re not going to go after any scoops.”Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on March 6, 2014 12:56 PM
So is eating pizza really about eating—or about tweeting, texting and being able to use a smartphone in the car or a tablet at your table to order the pie?
Increasingly, it looks like the latter. Pizza Hut confirmed that it's testing an interactive table that functions essentially as a giant tablet ordering app. This follows on a two-year effort by rival Domino's to heavily invest in online ordering, social marketing and other digital applications to better capture the attention of mobile-centric consumers.
Pizza Hut said that the table-ordering app that customers will use to choose the size of their pizzas will feature the same pinch-and-spread motions they might use on a smartphone and allow them to pick their toppings by swiping through an interactive menu, according to Nation's Restaurant News. It was no mistake that the concept's unveiling happened just days before the start of SXSW, the annual digital confab in Austin, Texas.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 6, 2014 11:53 AM
In the aftermath of a revealing investigation and an outcry from Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the nationwide Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America group to stiffen its policies around weapons sales and postings, Facebook and Instagram have announced that they will take down posts from gun sellers and traders that do not block the posts from those under 18.
Calling the action “a series of new educational and enforcement efforts for people discussing the private sale of regulated items,” the social behemoth outlined four commitments to address the growing problem:Continue reading...