January Wired Features LED-Powered Print Ad for Motorola Moto X

Motorola Moto-X Wired Interactive Magazine Ad

New York and Chicago area readers of Wired’s January issue will get to experience a interactive print ad promoting the Motorola Moto-X. Readers can control the 11 different colours of the phone in the ad by pressing on one of the coloured swatches lined across the bottom of the page.

To create the interactivity, the ad uses polycarbonate paper that covers LED lights, which are powered by four lithium batteries and controlled by circuitry running to the colour swatches.

For Facebook users, Motorola as created the Moto Match app which produces a Moto X based on the colours found in a user’s chosen timeline photo.

[via Engadget]


Air France Mobile App Unlocks Music Tracks Hidden in the Sky

Air France: Music in the Sky

If you’re at an airport and you notice people their iPhones up at the sky, they might not be taking pictures of the clouds. They just might be unlocking music hidden in the sky by Air France.

The Music in the Sky app enables it’s users to find, unlock and collect dozens of music tracks from a playlist of established and emerging artists. The tracks curated by Air France Music are different depending on which country you are currently located. The sky here in Canada contained tracks from artists including Fleet Foxes, Lana Del Ray, Feist, Kanye West and many more.

Simply point the iPhone up to the sky or ceiling, (it uses the built-in gyroscope to detect the angle of the phone) and scan around until you locate one of the floating music notes. Zero-in on the music note until you’re ‘locked-on’ to it. The track will then be unlocked and added to the playlist in the app, available to you to stream at anytime.

The Music in the Sky app was developed by BETC Paris.


Ex-Lover Blocker App Saves the Heartbroken From Themselves

Guaraná Antarctica Ex Lover Blocker

Guaraná Antarctica, the second best-selling soft drink brand in Brazil (second only to Coca-Cola) wants to save the newly heartbroken from a moment of weakness. With tongue planted firmly in cheek and a focus on it’s young male target audience, Guaraná Antarctica and it’s ad agency have come up with the Ex-Lover Blocker mobile app.

The app seeks to help friends protect their heartbroken friend from calling the ‘ex’. The user starts by blocking the contact number of the ‘ex’ (in the case of this demo her name is ‘Maria’), then selecting the contact information of close friends to help keep an eye on him. Then when he tries to call the ‘ex’, the app alerts his friends instead. If he declines their support and continues on with the fateful call, a message is posted on his Facebook wall highlighting his moment of weakness.

Yes, of course the app juvenile and when you think about it, Maria is probably way better off without this knucklehead and his buddies anyway.

The ex-Lover Blocker was created by DDB Brazil, and can be downloaded free from the Apple App store.


Crash Corsage App Brings Wedding Crashing Into the Modern Age

Crash Corsage Mobile AppIn the 2005 hit movie ‘Wedding Crashers‘, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson’s characters spend their weekends skillfully sneaking their way into the nuptials of unsuspecting couples. Once in they became the life of the party, helping themselves to food, drink and the odd bridesmaid.

Now the art of wedding crashing may have entered the modern age thanks to ‘Crash Corsage‘, a mobile app that claims to collect data from the open directories of wedding website directories like TheKnot, eWedding or WeddingChannel.com, then filter the list of nearby weddings. Users can score points for leading a conga line, catching the bouquet, dancing with the bride and more.

Call me overly suspicious, but I’ll believe this app is real when I see it approved and available for download in the iTunes store. It all seems like a stunt for something yet to revealed; an elaborate wedding invitation, maybe a promotion for a wedding planner, new website or a reception location.

The Crash Corsage project is the brainchild of R/GA Associate Creative Director Eric Schlakman.

Krispy Kreme’s ‘Hot Light’ app Tracks Fresh Supply for Donut Fans

Krispy Kreme Hot Light Mobile AppBefore 2001, Krispy Kreme donuts were a much sought after contraband in this area. We would seek out the glowing ‘Hot Now’ lights at locations in the Buffalo area before arriving back home with a fresh supply of the soft, warm sugar-glazed treasures for ourselves and closest friends. Eventually Krispy Kreme would open several locations in Canada before dwindling to just the 4 that are left in Ontario and Quebec.

Now with the ‘Hot Light’ mobile users can receive alerts when a nearby Krispy Kreme location has the a fresh supply of donuts. After learning that nearly 30 per cent of its web site and social media traffic was coming in by smartphones they worked with their ad agency Barkley to create the app. Users can search for nearby active Hot Lights or choose when and how often they’d like to get alert notifications.

According to Mark Logan, VP of Digital Innovation at Barkley, “If you’re a fan of Krispy Kreme, you know how powerful that Hot Light is. It’s such a strong brand icon. We wanted to find a way to extend its reach.”

The app can be downloaded in the iPhone app store or the Android Marketplace.

Note: the app only works with participating U.S. locations.

HarperCollins Canada Launch In-Store Augmented Reality Experience at Indigo Bookstores

HarperCollins and Indigo Books Host In-Store AR Experience for The Dark EndeavorHarperCollins Canada has launched an augmented reality experience in conjunction with the launch of Kenneth Oppel’s latest young adult novel ‘This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frakenstein’.

The large bookshelf installation pictured here can be found at Indigo locations in Toronto (Eaton’s Centre), Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa. Android users can use the ‘This Dark Endeavor’ app to scan the shelves looking for the mystery book that will bring the animated secrets to life. Smaller posters and bookmarks that also trigger the AR experience can be found at more than 300 other locations of Indigo, Chapters and Coles Bookstores across Canada.

When I visited the installation at the Indigo Books store at the Eaton’s Centre in downtown Toronto, I was disappointed that the two available Android phones were out of commission. One was waiting for a software update and the other had been unplugged and the battery was dead (I own an iPhone and I was without my Android toting friends). Thankfully, I was able to experience the AR on Kenneth Hoppel’s web site using my laptop’s webcam and a printed marker.

The project was brought to life by the Toronto office of Dentsu.

The ‘Dark Endeavor‘ app is available as a free download in the Android app Market.

Glamour Uses SnapTag Technology in September Issue

Glamour MagazineThe September issue of Glamour features an issue-wide test of SnapTags; Spyderlynk’s 2D mobile barcode technology used by such companies as Toyota and Office Depot. SnapTags are featured on 25 pages of the issue including ads for Lancome, Bebe, Land’s End and Smashbox as well as special deals on Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and French Connection.

Other SnapTags will link users to exclusive sessions featuring cover model Rihanna, Andy Cohen, Kate Bosworth and the Kardashian sisters, where they’ll answer questions on the Glamour Facebook page.

To scan and manage all the scans, readers are instructed to download the Glamour ‘Friends & Fans’ Android or iPhone app. The app contains instuctions, the SnapTag scanner and an special section to save the links to coupons and content for future reference.

A quick flip through the magazine (you know I’m always looking for style tips) shows that other advertisers are also using other 2D mobile barcode technologies including Tissot, MissMe.com and Merle Norman who are using QR codes. Garnier, Style & Co and Revlon are using Microsoft’s Tags to link users to additional content.

Glamour explains they don’t have plans to extend the use of the SnapTag in the October issue. It’ll be interesting to see if this use of 2D barcode technology will help push it to more widespread use by the public.

Sun-Maid Uses QR Codes to Connect Product to Contest Site

Sun Maid uses QR Codes to connect consumers with contest entry
This week Sun-Maid Raisins launched a campaign contest promoting the Dreamworks film Kung Fu Panda 2. Sun-Maid raisin six-packs and 24 oz cannisters feature on-pack QR Codes that direct users to a mobile web destination where they can enter for a chance to win a grand-prize trip for four to Zoo Atlanta for an up-close and personal experience with a panda cub.

Rick Bruno, Vice President — Brand Management at Sun-Maid explained:

“By keeping the promotion entry simple and easily accessible by mobile devices, we anticipate a lot of entries and overall site activity, and we look forward to awarding someone with an exceptional grand prize

Hmmm, so tell me how it actually works

When the QR code is scanned it takes the user to a mobile friendly landing page (pictured at right). So far, so good. Things get a little weird from there. When ‘Enter to Win’ is tapped, the user is taken to ‘sunmaidoffer.com‘, the main promotion site and one not optimized for mobile. The user is then required to click ‘Enter to Win’ a second time and then led to the entry form.

Considering the fact that the campaign materials and press releases focus so heavily on the use of QR Codes, it’s unfortunate that the same attention was not given to providing a complete beginning-to-end experience optimized for the mobile user.

Zapd: Simple Website Publishing From Your iPhone

Zapd iPhone AppZapd is my super-awesome, favorite iPhone app of the moment. Launched this week by Seattle startup Inkd, the app allows you to create a simple website in the matter of seconds.

First you select your theme, then add text, photos and links. Next you publish it and share it using Facebook, Twitter or Email. The best thing is you can do this all on your iPhone or iPad. Granted the sites are very simple, but they would be great for creating a collection of photos while out for the afternoon and then immediately share it with your friends. You can always come back, add more content or switch between the selection of 2o themes.

After trying all weekend to figure out how to use Color, Zapd is a breath of fresh air. Here’s a basic site I created in less than 5 minutes with some photos I took on Friday night.

This continues the trend of simple, effective publishing platforms like Tumblr, Posterous and Flavors.me.

Macy’s Uses QR Codes to Promote Backstage Pass to Spring Style Tips

Macy's QR CodesThe adoption of 2D barcodes over the past year has been steadily increasing. What was once considered an oddity (at least in North America) when we first used one back in 2008 is now being used by more small businesses and mainstream retailers each and every month. We are commonly seeing the 2D barcodes on everything from business cards, sales receipts, product signage and transit ads.

Recently Macy’s introduced QR Codes as part of their Backstage Pass campaign. Shoppers can scan the code or use SMS to access the 30-second videos featuring style tips and fashion advice from Macy’s team of spokespeople including Bobbi Brown, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and Tommy Hilfiger.

Martine Reardron, Macy’s executive VP of Marketing said:

“Macy’s new Backstage Pass is an exciting evolution that brings our stable of fashion experts and designers directly to the customer while they’re shopping in our store, through their hand-held mobile devices. By providing fun and informative video features via an easy-to-use, direct-to-consumer platform, we are connecting and engaging our customer in a personal way that enhances and adds a new element to their shopping experience.”

To help explain how to use the QR codes Macy’s created a demonstration video “How to Use Macy’s Backstage Pass” (above), making it available to customers who text “learn” to MACYS (62297) or on the Find Your Magic sitelet, Facebook page or YouTube Channel. Macy’s sales associates will wear Backstage Pass lanyards with instructions on how to use the QR codes. Customers can download a free QR code reader application by texting “reader” to MACYS (62297).

Macy’s and Mobile Technologies

This is not the first time that Macy’s has embraced emerging mobile technologies. It first used 2D codes in magazine ads in 2010 was is of the first national retailers to use Shopkick, a mobile application and platform that allows users to earn points for checking in at stores to receive special offers.

QR Codes a Passing Fad?

QR Codes are not simply a passing fad as seen in the answers to my question posted on Quora. As GPS and image recognition technologies advance and customers become more comfortable with the check-in, I think we will look back at QR codes as merely the critical first step in connecting real world locations to online content including loyalty programs, deals and value-added content.