What We’re Hooked On: Microsoft’s Universal Apps, ABC Family Rebrand, Twitter’s Moments Tab, Got Milk? Campaign & Facebook’s Ad Publisher Scoring


Microsoft’s Universal Apps

In alignment with the brand’s strategy to focus on mobile software and the cloud, Microsoft has announced a new set of devices that will utilize “universal apps” on its new operating system. Universal apps require only minor tweaks to allow them to run across the company’s new smartphones, tablets, fitness trackers and laptops. This means way less time and work for developers who have, in the past, shied away from building Microsoft apps due to the small audience.

Why we’re hooked: The implications of universal apps may help the company increase its share in the Apple- and Android-dominated app store market by appealing to more developers willing to create these apps. Microsoft hopes more available apps will mean more device sales.

ABC Family to Relaunch as Freeform

ABC Family is undertaking a huge rebranding effort and changing its name to Freeform in the process. They are dropping the “family” from their name and programming to focus on 14-34 year olds, a group the network has dubbed “becomers”. They are said to be a group experiencing a multitude of “firsts” in their lives, from first kiss to first child. The re-launch will take place in January, in tandem with season premieres of its most popular shows, and ABC Family is asking fans to submit their photo or video interpretations of “Freeform” for a chance to be featured in the launch campaign.

Why we’re hooked: The network was founded in 2001 and the name and branding have remained, for the most part, steady. Whereas ABC Family has had some difficulty appealing to advertisers in the past, that should change – especially since users will be actively involved in Freeform’s launch. The new “becomer” target is at a stage in life where they’re starting to develop brand affinities, so advertisers should want to take advantage of the re-launch to forge an emotional connection with consumers.


Twitter’s Moments Tab

In an effort to attract new users, Twitter has released the Moments tab, which pulls the most relevant content regarding popular current events and groups it all for easy browsing. It’s curated by editors with a mix of text, photo and video.

Why we’re hooked: This new addition makes Twitter more approachable and appealing for new users, who have found the jargon and site functionality confusing in the past. The learning curve has virtually stalled user growth, so Moments could be a huge push in the right direction for Twitter. People will be watching, especially as Jack Dorsey steps up again as CEO.


Image Courtesy of GotMilk.com

Milk’s Best Friend

The traditional and iconic “Got Milk?” ads have undergone a major facelift. Enter the “Food Loves Milk” campaign, which focuses on milk as the perfect pair for virtually anything – ranging  from sweet to spicy, to late-night snack experiments and even peanut butter and bacon sandwiches. The site, gotmilk.com, has also been redesigned to align with the new look and feel.

Why we’re hooked: Though it is one of the most well-known and recognizable campaigns, “Got Milk?” has not been refreshed in quite some time. The new look breathes new life into the campaign. It does not make milk the focal point, but instead, focuses on milk as an enhancer for your favorite flavors. The campaign also pairs with chefs to bring some legitimacy to the pairing suggestions in the eyes of the consumer.


Facebook’s Ad Publisher Report Cards

App publishers in Facebook’s ad network will be getting what they call Advertiser Outcome Scores on a scale from 1 to 13 to see how well they’re performing in relation to advertising objectives. Though Facebook has used the info internally, this is the first time they’re sharing it with the publishers. So, publishers can see their scores and optimize their effectiveness.

Why we’re hooked: This puts control in the app publishers’ hands. If they aren’t working to improve their scores, publishers know that they may get fewer ads served by Facebook. The scores are extremely specific, with details down to the page and placement within different levels of the app experience. Ad publishers can even see how they stack up against the competition. This latest push is pushing the industry away from equating a higher number of clicks as a measure of success and focuses instead on how advertising objectives are achieved.

Sun, Surf and Sampling in SoCal with WANU

Equipped with an awesome cooler bike and 3 wheeled coolers, GNF’s WANU Brand Ambassadors handed out 10,000 sample bottles of WANU in sunny Southern California. Derived from the combination of WAter + NUtrition, each bottle of WANU offers refreshing fruit flavors, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber with no sugar or artificial sweeteners. WANU’s clean hydration let consumers at Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach celebrate healthy living one sip at a time. SoCal sand and surf coupled with low-cal WANU water made for one refreshingly beautiful weekend.

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Dew Tour Gets Sweeter with Mike and Ike

GNF got extreme at Dew Tour this year from August 14-16 with a sweet activation for Mike and Ike’s sponsorship. The celebrated sports event took place in Los Angeles, the heart of the skateboard industry. Visitors got to enjoy delicious samples of Mike and Ike candy when they stopped by the branded tent. We sweetened the deal with a “Spin and Win” wheel where every participant won awesome gear like Mike and Ike candy and branded ear buds, wireless speakers, or even fuzzy slippers! One of the awesome attractions was a photo-op designed by GNF where consumers could take pictures of themselves bursting out of a larger-than-life cutout of the classic Mike and Ike box. To top it all off, we organized the “Snap, Share & Win” sweepstakes, asking users to snap a pic with the giant Mike and Ike box and tag it with #MIDewTourEntry for a chance to win a skate deck signed by all winners of the 2015 Chicago Dew Tour. The event was an epic success, with long lines of people waiting for their turn to participate. Now, that’s sweet!


Color Me Awesome with Alcatel

To demonstrate the awesome and interconnected features of the Alcatel OneTouch Watch and IDOL™ 3 Smartphone, GNF created a unique experience in Minnesota at The Color Run, the single largest event series in the world.

Color Runners were given a unique opportunity to borrow the Alcatel OneTouch Watch during the run to track key stats like steps, heart rate, and calories burned. Certificates listing the data from their run were given to the borrowers, many of whom just had to have the smartwatch for themselves and purchased their own at the booth that day.

GNF designed and displayed three IDOL™ 3 kiosk stations to show off the unique benefits of Alcatel’s unlocked smartphone and demonstrate how the smartwatch could connect and communicate with the IDOL™ 3. Consumers interacted with the devices firsthand to “unlock” the features for themselves. We created a sweeps where visitors could collect a stamp at each of the kiosk stations, present the stamped card, and get a chance to win an IDOL™ 3 Smartphone. Using the exclusive “Unlock App” created by GNF for the promotion, participants had to guess the secret code that would “unlock” the prize box. Two lucky winners cracked the code and went home with a free IDOL™ 3 Smartphone! They celebrated in clouds of colored dust.


What We’re Hooked On: Freightliner’s Record-Breaking Marketing, Facebook Video Ads, Kleenex Ad, & Amazon’s
New Patent


Freightliner’s Record-Breaking Marketing Feat

Photo Courtesy of Eventmarketer.com
Photo Courtesy of Eventmarketer.com

Freightliner broke the Guinness World Record for highest light output projection when it turned the Hoover Dam into a projection screen to announce the launch of its new Inspiration Truck. Media members and other influencers were present for the spectacular 420,000-square-foot display that took viewers through the history of Freightliner and outlined important milestones. After the show came the arrival of the new, fully autonomous driving tractor-trailer – the first ever to be licensed to drive on public roads. The Inspiration Truck drove in from the mountains above.

Why We’re Hooked: As a symbol of ingenuity itself, the Hoover Dam was the perfect place to host this monumental debut – connecting the location with core brand values in this never-before-seen stunt. The display shows that brands are constantly innovating. They are searching for new ways to make a larger impact and creating meaningful connections using the new technologies that are being invented every day.

Facebook’s Video Ad Pricing

Facebook Video Ads
Image Courtesy of Digiday.com

Facebook announced that it would be changing the way it charges for video ads by giving marketers the option of paying once the ad is viewed for more than 10 seconds. Prior to the change, advertisers were charged immediately once the video came into view on the users’ screens, which could lead to being charged for ads that the user quickly scrolled past. However, the new option isn’t perfect. Due to the electronic auction structure of ad buying on Facebook, advertisers who opt for the 10-second alternative could actually end up paying more.

Why We’re Hooked: The change comes after complaints by marketers. Ramping up video advertising to keep up with industry demands is inevitable for Facebook and keeps them in the game as other platforms, like Twitter, offer similar options for advertisers to choose from.

Facebook has been busy. Here’s some more Video Ad news…

Ad-Supported Video Testing – Facebook to Share Revenue with Creators

Facebook Video Ad Mobile Testing
Image Courtesy of Socialmediasatisfied.com

The company is testing a way to serve up related videos from advertisers with the users original video selection in the form of a suggested videos feed on iPhones. As the selected video is played in a window overlay, people can scroll down and click to watch related videos. If one of the selected related videos is an ad, Facebook will make money from that advertiser and share that money with the original video’s creators. As of now, they plan to keep 45% of the money and share 55% of the money with the original video’s creators – a split consistent with YouTube’s standards. It is still undetermined how video completion will factor into the money that gets shared with creators, though.

Why We’re Hooked: The proposed structure puts the power to choose which ads to watch – if any – in the users hands. This is yet another example that shows Facebook is devoting its time and energy into video ad solutions as a means to keep pace with business leaders, like YouTube, while creating its own unique approach.

Kleenex Ad is a Tear-Jerker

Video Courtesy of Youtube.com/Kleenex
Better grab a box of tissues before viewing this video ad by Kleenex, starring Chance, the wheelchair-bound dog. After being hit by a car, a local shelter rescued the puppy and gave him a second “chance”. The ad documents the inspirational story of the dog along with his adoptive owner, who’s also in a wheelchair, to prove that anything is possible. The “Someone Needs One” campaign, reminds users that Kleenex is there to dry their tears.

Why We’re Hooked: The ad has sparked up tons of conversation around the web, causing people to unexpectedly share personal stories about their special-needs pets who’ve gotten second chances. The success and positive word-of-mouth reinforces that social remains a strong sharing tool for brands, even amidst copious amounts of content and algorithm updates that may have unfavorable implications for brands.

Amazon’s New Patent? We’re All Ears.

Image Courtesy of Pocketnow.com

A new patent by Amazon may mean ear recognition technology for future cell phones. Ears are uniquely made up of different curves and points, which can help determine identity and could enable future Amazon Fire phones to be thumbs-free. The technology detects a user’s ear and captures photos to verify identity. Customizable preferences, like volume, ringtones and even buttons, will be automatically loaded on the device based on the user.

Why We’re Hooked: Though we know of fingerprint scanners, passcodes, and even facial recognition technologies that unlock phones, ear recognition has not been done before. We’re anxious to see if and how Amazon will use this technology in the future.

Maestro Dobel Tequila Rocks Out at Bonnaroo Music Festival with The Piano Bar

GNF hit the open road this summer to join Maestro Dobel® Tequila at Bonnaroo, the out-of-this-world summer music festival in Manchester, Tennessee. Boasting 150 artists, 700 acres, and countless memories, Maestro Dobel set up its one-of-a-kind Piano Bar at what has become one of the largest annual music festivals.

Any of Bonnaroo’s 85,000 visitors could stop by The Piano Bar in the artist hospitality area during the four-day festival for some fun, sun, and – most importantly – tequila. Visitors had opportunities to get cool giveaways and sip on delicious cocktails featuring Maestro Dobel Tequila, all while being entertained with piano music by Adam Weiner of Low Cut Connie.

With Adam on the keys, entertaining the crowds and having fun with the artists, it’s no surprise that The Piano Bar was a huge success. In fact, we’re taking The Piano Bar setup around the country to other huge music festivals like Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, and Austin City Limits. So, if you’re planning on attending any of those festivals, make sure to keep an eye out for the tent; you won’t want to miss this!

Check out these photos from the event:
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What We’re Hooked On: Skittles Auction, Apple Music & Taylor Swift, Twitter’s Project Lightning, Ad Blockers



Skittles Auction

Photo Courtesy of SkittlesAuction.com

Skittles is hosting an online auction in the Canadian market to give away dozens of Skittles-branded items, like a Grape Skittles Acoustic Guitar, a Strawberry Skittles Beanbag Chair, and a Green Apple Skittles Snowboard. All you need to do is place a bid on the item you’d like via an auto-generated Facebook post. The more “likes” you get on your post, the higher your bid amount. The bidder with the most “likes” wins the item. Simple, right? Well, yes – it actually is.

Why we’re hooked: In a world of increasingly complex and complicated promotions, Skittles keeps it simple with this approach, making it more accessible to users and therefore (hopefully) increasing participation and engagement.


Apple Music & Taylor Swift

Photo Courtesy of Apple.com

Apple will finally join the world of streaming media. Its new service, Apple Music, will launch on June 30, 2015. Similar to other streaming services like Spotify and Rdio, you can pay a flat fee to access the catalogue of music and music videos owned by Apple, though there is no free service level. Consumers can try the app free for three months before committing, but the plan for this trial offer was not well-received by artists. Taylor Swift took to social media to voice her disappointment that Apple would not pay royalties to artists during all free trials. This is a real problem for independent artists and small labels who would miss out on the income from important album releases during the free trial timeframe.

Why we’re hooked: Ultimately, Apple changed their plan and announced it would pay full royalties during the free trial period. This is a true example of just how powerful social media can be, even against huge names like Apple and especially with a voice as influential as Taylor Swift leading the charge.


Twitter & Project Lightning

Photo Courtesy of Techcrunch.com

Twitter will be launching Project Lightning later this year, giving users access to a menu of curated, real-time content collections. Videos, images, tweets, vines and periscopes will be aggregated under event-based collections to gather relevant content and organize it for users.

Why we’re hooked: Traditionally, users had to log in to view Twitter content, and even then, they had to sift through to view relevant content. With Project Lightning, the curated content is available to everyone, with or without an account. This is a way that Twitter hopes to gain new users and create value for existing users in one shot.


Ad Blocking

Photo Courtesy of htxt.co.za

Installing ad-blocking extensions to web browsers is becoming increasingly popular. Millennials are more likely to use these ad blockers than any other age group, indicating that the trend will only grow in the future. Ad blocking is becoming more accessible, not just on desktop, but on mobile as well as we’ve seen with Apple’s recent announcement to allow ad blocking extensions to function on their mobile Safari browser. The increasing popularity of ad blockers can be detrimental to online publishing businesses as it can cause a decrease in revenue, but it also impacts the consumer.

Why we’re hooked:  Online publishers will need to look at other ways to either earn revenue or cut costs. When publishers can’t afford to keep producing free content for their visitors to enjoy, they may be forced to take measures like spending less on content creation costs, causing content quality to suffer. Publishers may turn to options that combat ad blocking such as paying the ad blockers themselves to allow ads to show up on their sites, ramping up native advertising, creating “freemium” versions of their sites, and most drastically, blocking content altogether from those who have enabled their ad blocker. This is not a new trend, but it isn’t one that’s going away, either. Online publishers will be watching closely, and we are likely to see them implementing solutions in the not-so-distant future.


Gran Centenario Honors LA Angels at “Angels in the Sky” Event

On Cinco de Mayo, GNF dropped The Angel of Victory into The City of Angels to mark the kickoff of Gran Centenario’s “Angels in Training” program. The sound of her horn summoned an array of Angels who approached passersby to share details of the search for “Angels In Training.” The program honored and celebrated Latinos within the Los Angeles area, who through their selfless actions, ultimately led to helping a neighbor or an entire community.

GNF invited the “Angels in Training” to attend the star-studded “Angels in the Sky” event at the glamorous SkyBar at Mondrian. This GNF produced experiential marketing event had hundreds of guests enjoying a red carpet experience and specialty cocktails with Gran Centenario tequila. Angels dangled from hoops high in the sky and floated on top of the pool as Brody Jenner and William Lifestyle showcased their DJ talents for all. Other notable guests included actor Ryan Phillippe, actress Sophie Simmons, and of course, the 35 hand selected “Angels in Training” who were easily identified by their silver Angel wing pins!


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 Gran Centenario Tequila Presents Angels In The Sky Gran Centenario Tequila Presents Angels In The Sky  

Brewery Ommegang Kicks Off Nirvana IPA Launch with Growlers, NYC Growler Store

Craft beer lovers, this one’s for you. In celebration of its new Nirvana IPA, which launches April 20 in the tri-state area, Brewery Ommegang is offering limited edition growlers and opening a Growler Store in NYC from April 13-19. There will also be a chance for consumers to taste the beer before the April 20 launch; the first 300 to purchase their growlers online at IFoundNirvana.com will receive an invite for two to a tasting event held at the Growler Store.

April2_SocialPost_BuyGrowler Continue reading “Brewery Ommegang Kicks Off Nirvana IPA Launch with Growlers, NYC Growler Store”

Technology Meets Teamwork with VSPEX BLUE

This week we had life-size fun launching the EMC VSPEX BLUE hyper-converged infrastructure appliance at VMworld 2015. Overlooking the San Francisco skyline, the reception incorporated the product’s “teamwork” theme by featuring an inflatable human foosball field, providing an interactive way for attendees to relax while simultaneously testing their ability to work as a team.

Throughout the event, world-class professional foosball players instructed and challenged attendees at a series of standard foosball tables. DaMarcus Beasley, a member of four United States FIFA World Cup teams, was also on hand to further support the product’s underlying focus on teamwork.

“The event was a smashing success—thanks again to GNF’s creativity, support and hard work. This is the first time I’ve worked an event where I didn’t feel like I had to scramble and check up on everything—you guys had everything under control and it was ran perfectly. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, ‘Whose idea was this???’ [in a good way, of course].” — EMC

GNF also worked with EMC in the past to introduce its unified storage solution, the VNXe. Check out some photos below and see more on our Facebook page!

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