In industries with congested marketing environments, it can sometimes take some extraordinary thinking to deliver messages that cut through oceans of noise. In their latest work, that’s just what Optus and M&C Saatchi have done, down in Australia.

Clever Buoy is a simple yet ingenious new R&D technology that’s been developed to protect beach-loving humans from sharks, and in turn, protect sharks from humans. The Clever Buoy is equipped with sonar technology that can accurately detect sharks’ unique sonar signatures, and then use Optus’ technology and satellites to warn lifeguards and others on shore if Sharks are swimming in the area. It’s an exciting breakthrough that could make sharing the water with the infamous creatures a much more palatable notion across the shores of Australia and to shark hotspots the world over. Take a tour of the microsite, and [watch].

With sharks ever-capable of tapping into the popular conscious, it’s an initiative that retains considerable consumer power, positioning Optus as a brand full of innovation and genuine purpose. And ultimately of course, even the lofty claim of helping to save lives…


haircvtWe’re always intrigued when we see an industry that’s largely escaped a digital makeover, finally have its day. Now is the turn of hairdressing. It’s an industry worth £4bn in the UK alone, and one that proved highly resilient to recession. It’d take a lot for us not to care about our hair, it seems.

And on that basis, it’s strange that something which matters this much to us, is something we go about in quite a peculiar way – not to mention in the same way we did 50 years ago. For one reason or another, we pick a hairdresser with very little understanding of the marketplace, and pretty much hope for the best.

Not, perhaps, for much longer. Enter a new platform that is seeking to give things a bit of a shake-up: HAIRCVT. Londoners will no longer be searching for haircut inspiration on Google images, or awkwardly pulling a magazine cutting of Beckham’s new hairdid from their wallets. Instead, they’ll be able to browse thousands of hairstyles, and the exact hairdresser responsible from salons across the capital. Users can refine to see styles that would work for their own unique hair whether they’re curly, blonde, afro, fine; want a bob, undercut or dip dye; and whether they anywhere from Chelsea to E2. HAIRCVT already has most of the top salons on board, everyone from top names such as John Frieda to the slick operations like Ena.

And it’s an interesting model from a business point of view. It’ll be one of the first platforms that truly celebrates the portfolio work of individual hairdressers, properly putting the staff of salons – the talent – at front and centre. The more you think about it, the more crazy it seems we ever did it any other way. [CHECK IT OUT].


In an increasingly electronic world, there are frequent grumbles about the decline of one or other old-world medium; the writing of letters, the circulation of newspapers, mix tapes for friends, the video shop… even the ordnance survey.

Of these, surprisingly little has been made of one of our most enchanting, and unique assets: our handwriting. It’s something we’re using less than ever – and with schools now increasingly turning to laptops and tablets, it is an art form in decline.

But an art it is, and as such it has its value. And that’s something that a clever campaign by the Arrels Foundation over in Barcelona, has sought to capitalize upon. Observing that beggars often have little more than a handwritten sign describing their plight, the Foundation has sought to generate value from that simple but all-important skill by creating digital fonts, to sell to brands. They have worked with the homeless to create a bank of these fonts, all of which are available at homelessfonts.org. [Watch].

So far, spotting the virtues of supporting the cause and embracing the creativity, Coca-Cola and Valonga have used the fonts in an ad campaign and on packaging respectively. We hope loads of other brands might consider doing the same…


A couple of cool social media campaigns we saw recently, that we wanted to share:

First up, we were interested to see that Vogue have started to try to monetise their Instagram feed. They’ve teamed up with LikeToKnow.It, a service which allows consumers to get more info about brands’ posts that they’ve liked. After liking a post from Vogue, LikeToKnow.It users receive an email with more deets on how to buy the product. It’s a cool concept, and with Facebook squeezing organic reach to pitiful levels, capitalizing on Instagram followers right now is ever more desirable. [Watch].

Elsewhere, being big champions of Snapchat, we enjoyed a campaign by the WWF to drive home the message that endangered species will one day disappear. They’ve used Snapchat’s vanishing content functionality to send out the #LastSelfies of various animals, and users watch as the image fades, and the metaphorical clock counter ticks down to zero. [Watch].

Snapchat offers so much potential as a creative marketing tool. We can’t wait to see more cool examples.


With a (grimly disappointing) World Cup hotting up in Brazil, Twitter has been in its element – take a look at this visualisation of the first match Brazil v Croatia for an idea: [Watch]. Or look at the organic #ThingsLuisSuarezCantDohashtag to get a feel for why Twitter is the king of in-the-moment social media.

Moment by moment, the world’s topics & themes at a local & global level are played out in all their extraordinary colours. And it is this strength that had boss Dick Costello talking about e-commerce in quite an intriguing way, at Cannes last week. He said: “We think about e-commerce differently in that we think about in-the-moment commerce. Instead of just transitioning or transporting traditional e-commerce onto Twitter, it will be more about the kinds of commerce that wasn’t available previously; the kind of commerce that only makes sense now in the context of what I’m doing right now, what I’m talking about now and what I’m seeing right now.”

We’ve previously talked about American Express and Amazon’s efforts at commerce on Twitter, but it’s clear there’s a lot more to come in the future. And it’s also clear that Twitter will be open to working with anyone who has the ambition to change the nature of e-commerce.


We’ve seen a few cool new apps hit the app stores in recent weeks that are worth having a think about.

First up, all purveyors of Brutal Simplicity of Thought will love a new social app that’s had the Internet going a bit crazy. It’s called YO. Functionality includes the ability to say YO. And that’s all. The supremely simple app took just 8 hours to build, and fills a little gap in the market: the simple ‘tip of the hat’. The founder has declared 140 characters is ‘way too much’ in this day and age. Genius.

Facebook launched the Slingshot app, and we’re prepared to put our necks on the line and say, the current iteration will flop. The app is a retaliation to Snapchat’s rejection of advances by the giant, and promises its users disappearing content, a la Snapchat. However, Slingshot requires the user to respond with content in order to unlock what has been sent to them, in a bid to force ‘conversation’ through the pipes. At the moment, all we can see is a massive barrier to content, which would probably be rushed anyway.

Moving on, we liked CIF’s efforts to clean up unsavoury graffiti in Romania, with their crowd-sourcing app. Users contributed 385 areas which a CIF crack team cleaned up – and they had some pretty good coverage for the app. [Watch].

And finally, we love a Kickstarter project called Edyn. They’re out to transform gardens on a small and large scale, and their sleek products and app might just be capable of becoming a household name. Monitoring everything from temperature to soil mineral content, and pulling in real-time data to assist it, the technology is promising to transform how we care for our green spaces – and make how we do things now look a little like the dark ages. [Watch].


This week we debated whether or not to write about Cannes – especially after all M&C Saatchi’s successes this year. But we’ve decided to keep looking forward. So check out Marketing Week’s Cannes Lions 2014 for a decent summary.

Instead, we wanted to talk about what is in some quarters, seen as The Holy Grail; a form of marketing optimised to such an extent it’ll be able to deliver results like nobody’s business: location based comms.

It is of course, certainly nothing new. French bakery ‘PAUL’ provide just one example of how clever tech was being used successfully back in 2012, sending relevant offers, deals, and updates to customers as they moved through the world in real-time. [Watch]. But for all the talk, there haven’t yet been many world-beating examples of location-based comms.

That could be about to change. ‘New’ tech like iBeacons have helped turn up the heat on the concept of location-based comms – as have initiatives like Weve, the massive pooling of major telcos’ valuable consumer data, which demonstrates the industry is gearing up better than ever before. So much so, it’s now set toexplode in size from €1.2 billion in 2013 to €10.7 billion by 2018.

Rightly so. Because location-based comms can be so much more than simply tapping someone up in the right place at the right time.

We recently saw how well it integrates and augments traditional forms of advertising. Fiat gave their OOH a boost by using Weve’s geo-targeting capabilities, providing smartphone users within a half-mile radius of their billboards with an “immersive virtual experience”, meaning people seeing the ad showing the care were pushed a link offering a full view of the car’s interior, in 360 degrees. [Look].

But there’s so much more. On the media side, a whole host of additional data elements are being introduced to optimise further; anything from demographic targeting, to shopping habits – even favoured brands.

And on the creative side, the industry is starting to see just how much potential there is. Take the weather, for example. Brits love to talk about it. It’s the second biggest influence on consumer purchasing behaviour, according to British Retail Consortium. Marketers have known about the effect of weather on sales for years; Campbell’s Soup ‘Misery Index‘ being just one example. But using real-time weather data to trigger localised marketing campaigns can now also be a powerful tool for retailers & brands.

Pantene’s recent partnership with the Weather Channel enabled women to ‘avoid bad hair days’ by pushing geo-targeted ‘hair-casts’ in the morning, not only suggesting suitable products to use, but also giving out coupons for these products. [Watch].

This sort of marketing is understood as part of a shift in which marketers move from pure selling cultures to more direct, “helping the journey to purchase” culture. Location can be very much central to that shift.

And the sheer level of optimisation possible is also becoming more apparent. It delves into the realms of automated marketing. For example, The American Dental Association have learned that negative moods caused by bad weather can make consumers respond better to negative messaging. Again using weather data, consumers browsing their internet near high street areas and shopping centres on gloomier days were pushed a graphic toothbrush razor blade ad urging customers to floss to avoid the perils of gingivitis. It ignited more sales than other messages telling people flossing would give them brighter smiles.

To this extent, multiple strategies can be deployed simultaneously, targeting people based on different real-time environments. That’s far more flexible than traditional approaches to comms have allowed for.

In a world where most consumers are smartphone ready, and where layered data can be readily assembled to not only target consumers, but target them in the right place, at the right point in their purchase journey, and with the right tone of message to match their environment and likely mood, location will be getting plenty more love from marketers than it has done to date…


As usual, we round off with the weird & wonderfuls from around the web.

First things first, don’t continue reading another word of this bulletin ‘til you’ve had a quick go on the Luis Suarez-inspired Bite Man [Play].

Asia has been gripped with a new trend on social media called Leg Guns. It was started by famous dissident artist Ai WeiWei, and now 10k images have been posted in support. Can’t believe no-one thought of this before… [Look].

Tinder realised it was missing a trick by not embracing sexting, so it took a leaf out of Snapchat’s book and incorporated self-destructing images. Tinder + Snapchat features = danger.

The wholesome birdwatchers among you will be delighted to hear that scientists have finally created a Guitar Hero just for you. Players will become trained in the different songs of bird, be it the sparrow, or the robin. What’s not to like? [Birdwatcher].

The iPhone Photography Awards (we didn’t know that existed either) revealed a few wonders… something for a brand to get behind? [Look].

VW racked up an impressive 25m views for their latest viral, which featured a cinema audience in Hong Kong being delivered a stern and quite powerful message about road safety. [Watch].

An agency in Oslo tried to impress with their deployment of facial recognition in taxis, which identifies when passengers are getting bored and promises a refund for that part of the journey.

But “Boring” & “Taxis” were two words that didn’t fit in the same sentence in London last week. Hailo, an app founded by cabbies upset another bunch of cabbies with a new feature showing how much a private cab fare would be for the same journey. An angry ‘protest’ at Hailo’s head offices ended in a punch-up.

‘Til next time, folks…


The world’s biggest sporting tournament kicks off in just nine days, and marketing efforts are starting to kick in.

Sony’s interactive platform One Stadium Live, a ‘social stadium’ which aggregates online chatter and news in various languages, is one example of how official partners are looking to leverage the tournament. [Look].

But perhaps more interesting is the ambush marketing, the clever stroll on legal eggshells aimed at cashing in on the hype without the exorbitant cost of officialdom. Peugeot’s#KickItToBrazil is on a mission to take a footy to brazil through 30 countries; Nike are hosting a football tournament among London’s trainers retailers, and Pepsi’s fight back to Coke’s official sponsorship has been to sign up some of the tournament’s heros, Messi, Van Persi and Aguero – and micro campaigns like this keepy-uppy controlled vending machine… [Watch].

FIFA have been on at Twitter asking them to crack down on illegal uses of trademarks during the tournament – but it won’t stop brands being very inventive in their online efforts in coming weeks. Marketers are set to have some fun. Marketing Week have a great collection of the latest World Cup marketing – and a super consumer insight infographic: did you know for example, just 4% of England fans will watch the late kickoff Italy game at the pub? [Look].

And to keep up with everything, don’t miss Bloomberg’s interactive score predictions & results wallchart – it’s a feast of statistics, which might make it the gambler’s best friend. England fans be warned – they’re not even predicted to make it out of their group! And Brazil are set to beat Spain in the final… [Play]


Last year UTEC, the Peruvian university of technology and engineering, deployed a billboard that brought clean drinking water to one of the driest neighbourhoods on earth – Lima. It got a lot of buzz for its clever use of technology in a traditional ad format, and of course, for providing utility to a local community.

Now, in a sequel to that move, UTEC have just launched their second high-functioning billboard, this time cleaning air in the booming construction regions of the city. Promising to take on the causes of cancer, the billboard absorbs and filters vast quantities of polluted and particle-laden air, pumping out cleaned air at the equivalent rate of some 1,200 trees. A solid inspiration to aspiring students. [Watch].

And we saw another cool enhanced digital poster campaign this week too. Misereor is a charity fighting global poverty and injustice, dependent on donations in order to carry out its work. It hit upon the insight that 40% of donations were coming from credit cards – and that many of us don’t carry as much cash as we used to. So its solution was to integrate a card payment facility into its posters. Each $2 swipe of a credit card brought the poster to life, showing the changes their cash was making. Simple and cool. It’s the digital equivalent of the old coin-activated mechanical donations boxes. [Watch].

Both campaigns are a timely reminder that technology can do heaps to augment traditional ad formats…


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