Tag Archives: Marketing

SIC 2016: It’s a Virtual World We Live In

Dave Curry of POP and Jonathan Faunae of HTC Vive

Dave Curry of POP and Jonathan Faunae of HTC Vive

Virtual reality and augmented reality are fast becoming part of our new reality, it’s as simple as that. There will be plenty of skeptics, naysayers, and the like, but we’ve always had that when new technology comes along. I say this after not having held any prior opinion on VR and AR before my visit to this year’s Seattle Interactive Conference. But I feel that I’ve really come around to this new tech. It began to intrigue me after listening to the session put together by POP VP Dave Curry and HTC Vive Creative Director Jonathan Faunce.

The Gear is Here: It's a Virtual World!

The Gear is Here: It’s a Virtual World We Live In!

Faunce and Curry provided a lively look at how new tech is already becoming the new normal in the way companies present their products. A great example is the old store catalog model. Forget print catalogs. Forget even PDF catalogs. The new trend is to provide an immersive experience. Consider Lowe’s Virtual Room Designer. Or IKEA’s Virtual Reality Kitchen Experience. Just type in “virtual” or “VR” and you will soon find that virtually everything will have its own virtual reality experience.

The signs of change are coming. Take 3D GIFs. They’ve been making the rounds these last couple of years and you’ll be seeing more and more of them. As the landscape shifts, big traditional companies will seek help. They needed it with the advent of the internet, and then with the emergence of social media. Faunce at HTC Vive and Curry at POP invite them all to give them a call.

8ninths gear

8ninths gear

One point that Curry and Faunce made really stuck with me: no matter how much they described VR and AR, you really have to try it to see for yourself. So, I did just that. SIC has a couple of stations, one by 8ninths and one by Samsung, and I dived in. The tech, at this point, is pretty remarkable. At 8ninths, I was completely blown away by my tour of a virtual car. I even got to look into the interior as well as check under the hood.

Samsung Gear VR

Samsung Gear VR

At the Samsung booth, I can tell, because I was looking for it, there is no motion sickness that’s going to grab you. If you get a chance, try the rollercoaster demo. In fact, stick around and try as many demos as you want. The more I did, the more I came away with a confidence in the tech. Who knew, but you can go inside a volcano and feel all giddy and get educated all in one.

Resolution will keep getting sharper and the immersive experience will continue to improve but we’ve clearly reached a tipping point. Imagine it this way: we’re already a couple of years in; we’re at the third generation level right now; and it’s just a matter of a few more production cycles. You can choose to join in or miss the boat and let your friend clue you in on how cool her goggles are. Nah, you’ll want to have a pair of your own too.

2 Comments

Filed under Seattle, Seattle Interactive Conference, Technology, Virtual Reality

SEATTLE INTERACTIVE CONFERENCE 2016: A Comic Strip Observation

seattle-interactive-conference-2016

Seattle Interactive Conference is an annual event celebrating the convergence of online technology, creativity, and emerging trends in one of the world’s most innovative cities. I will provide you with a look at this year’s conference, October 18–19, made up of my notes and illustrations. Let’s begin with this comics observation. All you really need to know is that this is a tech conference with lots of folks geeking out over various discussions of future trends in the market.

sic-comics-seattle-01

sic-comics-seattle-02

sic-comics-seattle-03

sic-comics-seattle-04

sic-comics-seattle-05

sic-comics-seattle-06

sic-comics-seattle-07

So our consultant ended up feeling a bit frustrated just tapping away on his laptop and not really tuning into the beauty of his own mind and heart. Well, maybe he’ll figure it out in due time. I’ll have more to say on some of the actual sessions taking place during this unique two-day event!

11 Comments

Filed under Seattle, Seattle Interactive Conference, SIC, Technology

Movie Review: STAR WARS: EPISODE VII – THE FORCE AWAKENS

the-force-awakens

And so it begins, a Disney Star Wars movie. Disney had its share of false starts when it started venturing away from such titles as “Superdad” and “The Apple Dumpling Gang” to its first PG-rated movie, a sci-fi action flick no less, the box office flop that was 1979’s “The Black Hole.” At the time, it was deemed too expensive for Disney to use some Star Wars magic and rent equipment from George Lucas and his Industrial Light and Magic. Of course, all that was a long time ago. After the Disney buyout of Lucas to the tune of $4.05 billion, would Disney gain some real Star Wars cred? The goal seems to be met.

This Star Wars movie had to be better than the last three installments and it had to harken back to that something special from the original, without kowtowing to it. Were the Egyptian pyramids this intimidating to build? Yes, I think so. When I read Lev Grossman wax on about Star Wars in Time magazine, it felt like he was describing something too big to fail. When I saw the Star Wars special edition of Jimmy Kimmel Live, I saw in J.J. Abrams one relieved dude. The major players from the cast were there with Mr. Abrams. And they too looked relieved, after having carried a mighty weight upon their shoulders. They had all survived an enterprise involving enough money to bankroll a number of countries’ annual budgets.

Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow) in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow) in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This movie was designed to not disappoint anyone. And, if you believe the speculation from diehard fans, the opening line says it all, “This will begin to make things right.” The opening line is recited by Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow) at the prospect of finding a gone missing Luke Skywalker. But, as core fans will tell you, it sure sounds like a coded message related to fans’ distaste for the Star Wars prequels. This is something that Abrams certainly took to heart.

Finn (John Boyega)  and Rey (Daisy Ridley) in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Finn (John Boyega)
and Rey (Daisy Ridley) in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

There is no doubt that the shadow of the Star Wars legend looms larger than life here. An answer to R2-D2. Check. An answer to Han Solo. Check. An answer to Yoda. Check. And so on down the line to the Mos Eisley Cantina and Luke Skywalker’s X-34 Landspeeder. The sense of urgency to get it right is ferociously palpable. It is directed into every single scene by J.J. Abrams. Abrams wrote the final script with original trilogy writer Lawrence Kasdan. The two best new additions to the franchise: John Boyega as Finn, a runaway deserter; and Daisy Ridley as Rey, a reluctant new hero in touch with The Force.

In simpler times: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford

In simpler times: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford

Star Wars was never true science fiction. It was fantasy and, more to the point, a comment on fantasy. At its core, Star Wars was a quirky tribute by George Lucas, a nostalgic look back to Buck Rogers and action-packed pulp fiction. It was a nostalgia for childhood entertainment that was then reconfigured into something even more enchanting. By the time that the original trilogy was completed, George Lucas was done. So, it’s hard to really blame him for the direction he took with the prequels which was as far removed from the original source as possible. It was simply too early to get all nostalgic over something that was nostalgic to begin with. And, anyway, Harrison Ford would never have reprised his role at that point. More time would need to pass which brings us to what amounts to this fun revisit.

But how often can you successfully tap into nostalgia with a franchise like Star Wars? As the James Bond franchise has learned, it all needs to be measured out in proper doses. For now, it looks like a new trilogy has been mapped out that holds on to what made Star Wars worthwhile to begin with. In the end, at its best, Star Wars was an eccentric notion by an eccentric guy named George Lucas. It’s now a franchise designed to not disappoint anyone.

20 Comments

Filed under Disney, George Lucas, J. J. Abrams, Movie Reviews, movies, Star Wars

Book Review: ‘H8 Society – How An Atomic Fart Saved the World’

2Dans-H8-Society-How-an-Atomic-Fart

Transmedia, content that includes more than traditional text and illustrations, is still so new. Basically, it is storytelling on multiple platforms: there’s not only a book but there is video, music, games, social media, and so on. I feel it’s going to take a number of years before the novelty wears off and things integrate more naturally, if they ever do. Take this latest hybrid of book, music, and social media: “H8 Society – How An Atomic Fart Saved the World.” It does not take on the whole transmedia spectrum but it is in the same ballpark. The intent is to bring in young readers and it is designed to be ideally read on a smartphone.

This is a young adult book which has an overall upbeat and dynamic vibe to it so there’s some real potential there to attract new readers. This is a sci-fi adventure of sorts that is meant to appeal to teens. That is absolutely the demographic that is being targeted. It is clearly stated in the title, and not just the idea of farts. The idea of haters is pretty obvious. A lot of buttons are pushed, including all the usual suspects of sex, drugs, and race. The story begins with a satire on a jihadist which is odd at best. There are also scenes you can call sexist at best.

The press release describes this book as “a first-of-its-kind ‘extreme reading experience’ that marries music, graphics, and literature to tell an unforgettable story about an apocalyptic American dream.” Much more to the point, this is light entertainment or contemporary pulp fiction. It is not literature. It’s just light stuff featuring popular music. This book is sort of a contemporary version of Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon singing in “Beach Blanket Bingo.”

An illustration by Bill Sienkiewicz in "H8 Society"

An illustration by Bill Sienkiewicz in “H8 Society”

Something that is strongly in its favor is that the book is punctuated with vivid artwork by master illustrator Bill Sienkiewicz of DC and Marvel Comics fame. And the music peppered throughout this story is an impressive collection of twenty-six indie songs (curated from over 4,000 ReverbNation submissions). You’ll be reading along for a while and then have the option to play a song that sort of goes with the narrative. For instance, Boomer and the gang are right in the middle of an exciting scene. To add to that reading, you may want to listen to Valora’s “Extreme.”

While you read "H8 Society" on your smartphone, you can listen to songs like Valora's "Extreme."

While you read “H8 Society” on your smartphone, you can listen to songs like Valora’s “Extreme.”

The story is a caper involving two rival teen gangs who must confront a global network bent on taking over the world through mind control. It’s not the most cutting-edge scenario but it gets the job done and proves to be as entertaining as any light sitcom you might stumble upon. The choice of music is fun and that’s probably the most intriguing thing about this project. From time to time, a reader, immersed in his or her own reader’s world, is open to supplemental material. If you get that right choice of song, it can have a very moving and lasting effect upon a reader and actually enhance the reading experience.

First, you need a worthwhile reading experience before you can enhance it. In the case of this book, it is what it is: a simple caper story. And maybe that’s just what some readers will want during a commute. One caveat, the creators of this book go by the name of 2Dans. They are two former MTV executives which adds to the sense of this being more of a packaged deal and less of something to take too seriously. But then, atomic farts were never meant to be taken seriously, right? Find out how you can access this book for free by visiting the official book site here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bill Sienkiewicz, Book Reviews, Books, Mark Z. Danielewski, Marketing, MTV, Music, Transmedia

Zeusvision Democratizes Outdoor Advertising and Makes It Affordable for Everyone

Zuesvision-Digital-Double-Decker-Bus-Disney

Zeusvision levels the outdoor advertising playing field in an exciting and innovative way and makes it affordable for anyone to get their message out. You’ll be hearing a lot more about Zeusvision in the days and months to come. Let’s start with a closer look now.

“Outdoor advertising is an elitist business. I want to bring the power of large-scale outdoor media within reach of the average person.” –Giovanni Wolfgang, CEO, Zeusvision

Here’s a great way to look at it in a nutshell: Think of Zeusvision as a huge iPhone™ on wheels that can position itself wherever the client desires, delivering customized multimedia messages and experiences for as little as $99.

Today’s tech makes it possible to do things unheard of, or just beyond reach, a generation ago. So, it makes perfect sense, and it’s perfect timing, for Zeusvision, digital double decker buses that can get your message out into hot spots, with lots of people traffic, at a price anyone can afford.

More details follow from our friends at Zeusvision:

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Advertising, Marketing, pop culture, Technology, Zeusvision

Comics to the Rescue: Fluevog Sole Strips

Fluevog-Sole-Strips

Comics are such a versatile medium. They can certainly get a message across. Here is a clever use of the comics medium by our friends at Fluevog. Check it out here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comics, Fluevog, Marketing

Comics in Your Cereal!

General-Mills-DC-Comics

As they say, “for a limited-time-only,” you can find a comic book featuring DC Comics’ Justice League characters in “specially marked” boxes of General Mills Big G cereals. That will appeal to kids from all over as well as those who are still kids at heart.

Press release follows:

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Comics, DC Comics, Marketing, Promotions

Zombies and Incest: Archie Comics Goes Too Dark?

Archie-Comics-Cheryl-Jason-Blossom-Incest

In a story in today’s New York Times, an article featuring Archie Comics’ new chief creative officer, playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, had a lot to say about the new direction of Archie Comics. One thing you probably never expected: an Archie comic that takes two characters from the Archie universe and puts them in an incestuous relationship. The characters are siblings Cheryl and Jason Blossom. Now, the entertainment industry is notorious for dropping a provocative nugget and seeing who will take the bait. Dig a bit deeper to the actual comics series referred to and this pairing of siblings suggests more than it outright says. The series in question is Afterlife with Archie, which is Archie Comics’ foray in zombie comics. And the incest, well, perhaps an ambiguous suggestion. So, a provocative nugget.

Continue reading

11 Comments

Filed under Archie Comics, Comics

BALLARD COMICS #8

Editor’s Note: Here in Seattle, we have an election this Tuesday. And, here in Seattle, we are going through some vastly problematic growing pains. What exactly are we doing as we sprout condos in every conceivable spot? Well, rest assured, Seattle will elect someone mayor. However, we the citizens of Seattle need to look beyond this, or any, election. Consider, for example, visiting a site looking to make a difference, Reasonable Density Seattle. Sure, growth can be wonderful, just as long as we don’t stomp out the very reasons Seattle is so attractive.

Ed-Murray-Mike-McGinn-Seattle-Mayor-2013

Emmett-Watson-Lesser-Seattle

Seattle-Mayor-Ed-Murray-Mike-McGinn-2013

Visit us every Monday for a new installment of Ballard Comics.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ballard, Ballard Comics, Cities, City Living, Comics, Editorial Cartoons, High Density Development, Political Cartoons, politics, Reasonable Density Seattle, Seattle, Social Justice

SEATTLE INTERACTIVE CONFERENCE 2013: When Transparency Isn’t Enough: Cal McAllister of Wexley School for Girls

Cal McAllister, Co-founder & CEO of Wexley School for Girls

Cal McAllister, Co-founder & CEO of Wexley School for Girls

With the Seattle Interactive Conference just closing up for another year, I wanted to share with you a very engaging and informative presentation I got to see today (more news to come later on), with a quick sketch of the presenter included. Seattle can be proud to say it is the home base for one of the great advertising agencies, Wexley School for Girls. SIC had the honor of having its Co-founder and CEO, Cal McAllister give a talk today.

The presentation by Cal McAllister, of Wexley School for Girls, was full of punchy lines like, “Social Media is like a weapons system. Social media is like an F-16. Once you acquire one, you have the power but you need to know how to operate it.” These thoughts were running through McAllister’s mind since Wexley is currently working on NATO’s efforts to use social media. Pretty heady stuff but McAllister certainly looked up to the challenge.

McAllister was going for an offbeat take on the 2013 SIC theme of transparency, talking about how we’re drowning in a clutter of facts, many of them fake facts, so transparency alone isn’t going to solve the problem. He skewered Jenny McCarthy for using her massive platform as a celebrity for spreading the idea that vaccines cause autism. He said that 98% of pediatricians don’t believe there is a connection so he’s going with that statistic. He provided similar examples of how facts get lost in the shuffle, like the recent viral video of an eagle lifting up a little boy hoax, and the little old lady who got a coffee burn from McDonald’s, which was a legitimate case but was exploited by the right as an example of a flimsy lawsuit.

Great take-away: People are proud of their decisions. Once they believe something, it is very difficult to get them to stop believing. When confronted with the facts, when given proof that they are wrong, they will shut down. So, despite all the proof of it being a hoax, people would rather believe that an eagle swooped down and picked up a little boy.

McAllister then went on to show how you win over customers: by giving them opportunities to participate. He took great pride in Wexley’s campaign to invigorate The Sounders brand. It was a three year process. First, you show the fans how to behave, like when to wave their scarves; then you bring back old traditions; and, finally, you allow the fans to own the game.

Another successful Wexley campaign was for Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. It was painting a message in a handicap parking lane at high schools that said that spot could be reserved for the next teen drunk driver. It is a controversial statement but it got the message across. And it specifically did not include the MADD brand since it actually alienates teens. “Teenagers already have one mad mother to deal with. They don’t need more,” said McAllister. That was perhaps the best line of the presentation, if not the whole SIC.

The last thought was sparked by a question on where Coca-Cola is headed with branding. McAllister thought it was great how Coke had partnered with Google on the Happiness campaign. “It’s just another great example of providing ‘added value’ for the customer,” said McAllister. Considering the theme of transparency, it is a curious place to stop. Can the giant of soft drinks, be associated with happiness? Well, that’s the magic of advertising. We’ll just have to see how NATO’s makeover works out. Can the military industrial complex really be associated with happiness? Oh, perhaps wrong campaign. One never knows for sure.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advertising, Capitalism, Seattle, Seattle Interactive Conference, Social Media