Samsung Announces More Live VR Content From UFC, X Games, And Live Nation

What Happened
Following up to its refreshed Gear VR headset unveiled in late March, Samsung is doubling down on its VR initiative with a slate of exclusive content aiming to appeal to mainstream consumers. Users with a VR Live Pass will soon have access to 360-degree live broadcasts from mixed martial arts company UFC, extreme sports event X Games, and live entertainment corporation Live Nation.

What Brands Need To Do
This isn’t the first time Samsung has leveraged live entertainment and sports content to drive VR uptake. Last summer, it teamed up with NBC to produce 85 hours of VR content from the Rio Olympic Games. By aggressively investing in VR content, Samsung is addressing a key hindrance in VR adoption – the lack of good VR content. According to a recent survey conducted by Thrive Analytics, 55% of VR headset owners say they would like to see more VR content, while 45% of them say they want content of better quality. As VR content continues to diversify, it should gradually attract more consumer attention, which brands should follow with branded VR content or virtual product placement.

How We Can Help
Our dedicated team of VR experts is here to guide marketers through the distribution landscape. We work closely with brands to develop sustainable VR content strategies to promote branded VR and 360 video content across various apps and platforms. With our proprietary technology stack powered by a combination of best-in-class VR partners and backed by the media fire-power of IPG Mediabrands, we offer customized solutions for distributing and measuring branded VR content that truly enhance brand messaging and contribute to the campaign objectives.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Lab can help you tap into the immersive power of VR content to engage with customers, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Barrett ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.


Source: VentureBeat

Featured image and video courtesy of Samsung’s YouTube

NatGeo Creates Einstein Chatbot To Promote New “Genius” Series

What Happened
To promote its new Genius series based on the life of Albert Einstein, National Geographic channel is resurrecting the renowned physicist as a chatbot on Facebook Messenger. To introduce a more human side of the famed genius, NatGeo worked with interactive agency 360i and Imperson, a startup that specializes in building character-based bots, to create a Genius chatbot that showcases the personality of Albert Einstein and leverages Imperson’s AI technology to provide contextually relevant replies to whatever the user asks.

What Brands Need To Do
Chatbots are a natural fit for entertainment brands looking to promote their content on messaging platforms, as character-based chatbots offer an innovative way to engage with fans, drive social conversations, and build buzz for new releases. Previously, Sony Pictures created a chatbot based on the Red Queen character from Resident Evil: The Final Chapter to promote the movie’s theatrical release in January, and last May Paramount created a Kik chatbot to promote the Teenage Ninja Turtle movie. As machine learning and natural language processing technologies continue to advance, brands will be able to make increasingly smarter bots that will carry out a conversation and forge an emotional connection with consumers.


Source: Creativity Online

Fox Teams Up With Amazon To Promote “24” Reboot Via Echo

What Happened
Fox network has struck a deal with Amazon to promote the premiere of the franchise’s “24: Legacy” reboot, which will air immediately after Sunday’s Super Bowl game. As part of the promotion, Echo users can set their alarm sound to the trademark “24” ticking-clock sound effect starting this Monday. This is the first time Amazon has created a branded built-in function for the Echo devices. The Alexa alarm tie-in will also be featured on Amazon’s homepage as a top carousel ad this Sunday.

Moreover, starting Wednesday, March 1, Fox and Amazon will launch the “24: Legacy Daily Mission,” a mini-game that challenges Echo users with a 24-second-long challenge every day. Users will be quizzed with themed questioned or asked to perform quick exercise routines such as jumping jacks or push-ups by Alexa.

What Brands Need To Do
This is the latest example of brands exploring Amazon Echo speakers as a potential marketing channel, as well as a good example of how an entertainment brand can leverage Echo devices to reach customers in their living rooms. Last week, Sony Pictures created a cross-platform chatbot based on a character from its “ Resident Evil” franchise to promote its upcoming flick. While the “Daily Challenge” mini-game may seem trivial, it offers a good sticking point that will keep reminding viewers of the show and hopefully help with audience retention.

As a first attempt, Fox sets a clear path for other brands at employing Echo devices, Alexa, and Amazon’s online properties as part of an integrated marketing campaign. As more and more customers start to embrace conversational devices such as Amazon Echo or Google Home, their development as emerging marketing channels is something that all brands need to pay heed to.\

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience in building branded chatbots to reach consumers on conversational interfaces, including the NiroBot we built in collaboration with Ansible for Kia. We’ve built a dedicated conversational practice called Dialogue, which aims to help brands build a chatbot experience supercharged by our stack of technology partners with best-in-class solutions and an insights engine that extracts business intelligence from conversational data.

If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively reach consumers on messaging apps and other conversational interfaces, or to leverage the Lab’s expertise to take on related clients and learning opportunities within the IPG Mediabrands, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.


Source: Variety

Warner Bros. Taps Branded Puzzle-Game Lens To Engage Snapchat Users

What Happened
Warner Bros. is the first brand to use Snapchat’s recently added puzzle-game Lens to engage with users. As part of its promotional campaign for the upcoming movie King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, the studio created a Snapchat Lens that would overlay a crown and a robe on the selfies and turn them into an interactive mini-puzzle game where users move tiles around to reassemble the edited selfies. This sponsored Lens first ran on Saturday.

What Brands Need To Do
This serves as the latest example of brands exploring the unconventional ad products that Snapchat offers in hopes of connecting with mobile users. While studios buying sponsored Snapchat Lens is not exactly new, (last May, for example, 20th Century Fox bought the first-ever Snapchat Lens takeover ad to promote its X-Men movie.) this gamified Lens from Warner Bros. brought some interactivity into the mix to further drive engagement.

As Snapchat’s ad business start to catch up to its rapid growth, the company is presenting brands with a lot of interesting opportunities to explore what the future of mobile advertising looks like. Therefore, it is time for brands to reconsider their media mix and consider adjust the ad budget to include emerging global channels like Snapchat so as to reach customers at scale.


Source: Variety

Legendary Partners With Microsoft To Create Holograms Of Warcraft Characters

What Happened
Legendary Entertainment is teaming up with Microsoft’s HoloLens team to create mixed reality content. The production studio is beginning with holograms of the characters from its Warcraft and Pacific Rim movies. At the Hollywood premiere of the Warcraft movie, Legendary showcased a HoloLens experience where users could see people interacting with a hologram of Orgrim Doomhammer, a main character from the Warcraft franchise.

What Brands Need To Do
This partnership sets a precedent for brands looking to explore augmented and mixed reality and create next-gen branded content. Recently, the viral success of Pokémon Go has been familiarizing millions of mainstream consumers worldwide with augmented reality technologies, and brands that wish to jump on this hot trend should consider partnering with content creators to develop branded AR content.

The Lab has extensive experience with AR technologies and how they apply to marketing. For anyone that has yet to experience augmented reality, the Lab has a HoloLens that is ready for demo. Please get in touch with our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) if you’d like to request a HoloLens demo or have a client opportunity.


Source: GeekWire

Header image courtesy of Legendary’s YouTube Video

Sony Taps Lyft To Promote Ghostbuster With Themed Rides

What Happened
Lyft will be giving out Ghostbuster-themed rides as part of a Sony Pictures’ promotion for the upcoming reboot. For a limited time in the first two days of July, lucky Lyft users in five U.S. cities will be able to request a Ghostbuster-themed ride, complete with the Cadillacs from the original 1984 movie, drivers that are dressed up as characters from the movie, and Hostess Twinkies and Hi-C Ecto Cooler – two products featured in the original movie. Riders can also enter a sweepstakes for a chance to attend the L.A. premiere of the new movie.

Why Brands Should Care
While this campaign seems to be directly inspired by Warner Bros. using themed Uber rides to promote Max Max: Fury Road last summer, it stands out with the integration of the two third-party brands featured in the original movie. As the lure of experiential marketing starts to catch on, we expect to see more brands, especially those in entertainment and auto, work with ride-hailing apps or other on-demand services to attract interested consumers with unique branded experiences. Also, brands should look out for opportunities to integrate relevant products into their campaign to enrich the experience as Sony did with Twinkies and Hi-C.


Source: AdWeek

Header image courtesy of Lyft’s YouTube

Event Recap: VR Short “Henry” Demo

Live from Oculus Connect in Hollywood – it’s IPG Media Lab. We’re on the ground trying the latest demos and covering the latest news from the conference.

Today the IPG Media Lab had the pleasure to watch a new short VR film from Oculus Story Studio about a lonely little hedgehog who just wants a hug. As we sat on a red rug that matched the one in the film, we were transported to hedgehog Henry’s home hovering over a table during his birthday. The beauty of the experience was that, even though we weren’t part of the film, it felt as though we were physically there with Henry. At times during the emotional ups and downs of the film, Henry would look directly at us – at this point we were at eye level – and express his feelings.

Ultimately, VR filmmaking is still in its infancy. However, Henry may be the beginning of VR storytelling, some thing that will potentially change the way everyone experiences stories 5 or 10 years down the road. Furthermore, as more sensors become part the experience, it will be interesting to see how filmmakers will allow audiences to control character interactions and dictate outcomes of the VR films. ​



Header image courtesy of Oculus Story Studio’s website 

Why Facebook Is Talking With Hollywood About Oculus

Facebook is reportedly in talks with Hollywood executives and directors about creating content specifically for Oculus Rift. Given that most virtual reality headsets are currently developed for immersive gameplay, it is understandable that Facebook would want to explore its potential in providing a new breed of entertainment experiences. Imaginative genres like fantasy, horror, or sci-fi could potentially benefit greatly with the help of virtual reality technology, and new marketing opportunities can be expected to open up accordingly as well.

YouTube Introduces Trending Map

Google, YouTube’s parent company, released a feature today that maps out videos currently trending by city across the U.S. Previously, you could filter trending videos by age and location, but today is the first day that Google unveiled a map on which the trending videos are overlaid. And now, you can also view the trending videos based on the number of shares they’ve gotten, as opposed to purely the number of views they’ve gotten. The map is currently only functional for the U.S., but in its blog post YouTube suggested that it might roll the map out for other areas in the near future. 

PAUL Wants to Pre-Load Your YouTube Videos

The award for clever app name of the year goes to PAUL, an app named for the octopus who correctly predicted the outcome of Germany’s 7 matches in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Android app, created by inmobly, uses a predictive cache/download algorithm to provide videos that match your preferences, even without a data connection, based on videos you have watched in the past.  The service currently uses five major video sharing services – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, CNN, and ESPN ScoreCenter, with plenty of room for expansion in the future.  The service dramatically reduces network strain, but is also exciting for its potential to collect a gold mine of preference information.