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Hotspotty Training: Parents Sign Away Kids, Pets for Free Wi-Fi

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 30, 2014 12:09 PM

People will apparently do anything for free public Wi-Fi, it seems. European law enforcement agency Europol recently backed an experiment in London that saw consumers signing onto free public Wi-Fi unwittingly signing away their oldest child or a beloved pet.

When Londoners registered for a public hotspot in June, they were required to sign an agreement with a so-called “Herod clause” that had them agree to “assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity,” the Guardian reports. Six people went right ahead and (unwittingly) signed away their first-born kids.

It was all part of a "Great Wi-Fi Experiment" (watch below) by IT security company F-Secure, which helped the Cyber Security Research Institute showcase “public unawareness of serious security issues concomitant with Wi-Fi usage,” the Guardian notes.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Amazon's Not-So-Secret R&D Lab Gets a Boost from Bezos

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 25, 2014 12:02 PM

Amazon's Silicon Valley research and development arm has been called "secretive" by Reuters and Bloomberg Businessweek. Others have called it "hush-hush" and "mysterious."

While it may keep its projects close to the vest, as any corporate R&D unit worth its salt is entitled to, Lab126 is by no means secret. After all, it's on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and has its own website.

In addition to developing the Amazon Fire phone and a host of other products, from the Kindle family of products to Amazon Fire TV to the Dash at-home ordering scanner, it's reportedly eyeing wearable devices and products for the connected home.

It's also, as Reuters reports, on a hiring spree to staff up its high-tech skunkworks by at least 27 percent over the next five years, in a drive by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to create Internet-of-things inspired home gadgets with a one-button device to order supplies.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

Yahoo Taps Big Data Startup to Serve Fantasy Football Content (and Humor)

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 24, 2014 04:08 PM

After each week of real-life NFL football games take place and the winning players and the fans that unrequitedly love them do a little celebratory trash talking to anyone who will listen, there is a shadow army of celebrants holed up with their screens and quietly giving themselves pats on the back for a week well-played.

Most fantasy football competitors, riding on the work of the real-life players, don’t get much attention (except on Wall Street, which loves fantasy sports), but Yahoo Sports has found a way to make these fans feel a little more important each week. Now each team matchup of every fantasy football team, whether with a completely ridiculous name or not, gets written up as if it were a real game on the portal's fantasy football channel—and Yahoo gets to make a few extra bucks from ad sales.

“Sports is about having fun and marrying that with your passion, and wanting to win. To us having that tone is an important part of the success,” said Ken Fuchs, VP and group lead of Yahoo Sports, to the Washington Post. “When I get my recap and it tells me unfortunately my game tape is not going to be broken down in any coaching clinics, it gives me a little smile and allows the guy who I lost to to shoot me a note quoting his recap and talking a little smack.”

The game recaps aren’t written by humans, however. Yahoo Sports has partnered with “a tech company in North Carolina to auto-generate personalized articles about the thousands of fantasy football teams in its leagues.”Continue reading...

response mechanism

After Alibaba, Chinese Brands Remain Unknown, Untrusted, Chinese

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 23, 2014 12:36 PM

Is "Made in China" really more desirable than "Made in France"?

That, at least for many younger Americans, is the suggestion of a new study of US Millennials from the Monogram Group, a Chicago branding agency. "The major takeaway from this report is that the popularity of Chinese products (among US consumers) exceeds those from other major markets, and the willingness to buy is even stronger if the brand is recognized," said the agency's president in a press release.

That takeaway may sound fishy to you—and it should. But the study does say something about the complex way American consumers think about "Chinese brands."Continue reading...

big data

Nicholas Felton’s Annual Report Holds Key Ideas for Brand Publishers

Posted by Fell Gray on August 28, 2014 03:31 PM

Nicholas Felton, best known for designing the Facebook timeline and the Reporter app, recently released his 2013 Feltron Report. This year’s homage to data visualization takes on the staggering feat of capturing all 95,000 communications Felton had over the course of the year—from face-to-face to mobile and social.

Many will marvel at the beautiful visuals of the “insights and patterns within the data and metadata of a large and personal data set,” but brands focused on the power of content should take a closer look.

One of the most insightful—and useful—ways Felton looks at his data is through the lens of reciprocity. He determines the ratio of sent to received communications with different individuals and highlights how communication is fundamentally about an exchange. Inherently, communication comes with a promise, a social contract, to respond. Through this lens, each person is a “participant,” not a recipient or consumer—an idea that brands should consider as they strive for engagement.Continue reading...

brand bites

Location, Location, Location: Firm Home Base Makes Brands Seem More Authentic

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 16, 2014 06:14 PM

Authenticity is contagious, according to a new study published in the June 2014 issue of the Journal of Marketing Research

“Authenticity is Contagious: Brand Essence and the Original Source of Production” indicates that, “products manufactured in the original factory acquire the essence of the brand through a contagion-like process,” said study co-author George Newman, assistant professor of organizational behavior at Yale SOM. “Consumers believe that products made in the original factory possess the essence of the brand more so than products made elsewhere, which in turn causes them to be perceived as more authentic and desirable.” 

A series of experiments including Levi’s jeans, gourmet chocolates and luxury bags showed that “participants were willing to pay significantly more for products made in the original factory than those produced in either a newer factory located in the same city as the original or in a foreign factory," the study showed. “Participants also placed a higher retail value on factory originals, and viewed them as embodying the essence of the brand more than products manufactured elsewhere.” For instance, Godiva chocolates, made in Brussels, Belgium since 1926, were perceived as more authentic than those made at the brand’s Pennsylvania facility.Continue reading...

branding together

Financial Brands Continue Love Affair With Sports Sponsorships

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 11, 2013 02:18 PM

Financial services brands and sports go hand in hand (case in point: the Barclays Premier League). So it comes as no surprise that according to the most recent Sponsorium report, which tracks sponsorship and community investment dollars across the globe, financial companies this year have seen an average of “9% higher requested amounts for philanthropic donations than non-Financial industry brands” — and that the majority of those sponsorship requests are for sports.

According to the report, the “Financial industry’s sponsorship activity is focused primarily in Sports,” which makes up 52% of the sponsorship dollars the Financial industry spends. Arts came in second when it came to the industry’s sponsorship dollars, making that category “roughly 30% more popular than their global average for all industries.” When it comes to donations between $10,000 and $500,000, banks and other “financial brands are both asked for and are making larger-sized donations/grants than brands from other industries.”Continue reading...

mobile marketing

Verizon Brings A-Game to Brand Marketers: Analytics

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 11, 2013 09:44 AM

Sports fans are subjected to every possible form of marketing each time they attend a game but it hasn’t always been exactly clear what messages have really resonated with folks and sent them directly to buy products and services when game time is over. Verizon is aiming to change that by bringing its A-game (analytics) to sports clubs and venues in order to showcase its Big Data capabilities.

The NBA’s Phoenix Suns teamed with Verizon’s year-old Precision Marketing Insights division to track if fans at the stadium who were subjected to messaging during games actually went to sponsor-promoted locations (bars and restaurants) after the game or in the days afterward, Ad Age reports. The tracking is being done with a very simple tool: a Verizon smartphone. 

Santa may see you when you’re sleeping and be aware of when you’re awake, but your smartphone knows pretty much where you are 24/7/365 and what you are interested in. Verizon tracks where fans are traveling and then analyzes the information for demographics. All of the info is “anonymized” and Verizon's website goes to pains to say it respects privacy.Continue reading...

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