Snuggle Turns To User-Generated Videos For Valentine’s Day Campaign

What Happened
Fabric softener brand Snuggle found a lovely way to generate branded content that people want to share – by lending the voice of its mascot Snuggle Bear to people looking to create their own Valentine’s Day video. The company launched a dedicated website that allows people to generate a customized serenading video by select a classic love song and uploading up to four photos of the recipient. The site will then generate a short video with the Snuggle Bear singing the song and the uploaded photos displayed throughout the video. Since the launch of the campaign on Jan. 21, over 50,000 customized videos have been created and the effort has reached an estimated audience of over 140 million.

What Brands Need To Do
A recent study from Marvck shows that user-generated content drives nearly seven times higher engagement than video ads on Facebook. And this new campaign from Snuggle serves as a good example of how crucial it is for brands to inject some customizable options into their branded content to make it more appealing and engaging to consumers. With more and more companies start to explore the vast potential of machine learning and AI-powered solutions, including the capability of transforming customer data into insights for personalization, it is time for brand marketers to start thinking about new ways to engage digital audiences with customizable, dynamic branded content.


Source: Marketing Dive

Header image courtesy of Snuggle’s YouTube video

Cathay Pacific Gifts Loyalty Members With Personalized Artwork Based On Travel Data

What Happened
Cathay Pacific is sending its loyalty program members a unique birthday gift – a piece of contemporary artwork created by a special algorithm based on their travel data. Working with McCann Worldgroup, the airline is presenting members of its Marco Polo club a mini-site that visualizes their travel in the past year into a abstract painting, which also comes with built-in options for people to easily share their personalized “artmaps” via social media.

What Brands Need To Do
This serves as a new example of how brands can find interesting ways to utilize the customer data they collect for marketing purposes other than retargeting. By employing a low-level artificial intelligence – in this case, a computer algorithm that generates artwork based on travel data – Cathay Pacific is able to transform data into something personal and share-worthy to its most valued customers.

As marketers continue to explore the possibility that machine learning and AI bring to marketing by powering conversational services and next-level personalizations. brands need to start identifying the kind of unique dataset that they own and feed it into machine learning services to either learn more about their customers or deliver a more personalized customer experience.


Source: Creativity Online


Ralph Lauren Built An Interactive Handbag Customization Salon

What Happened
On Friday, fashion retailer Ralph Lauren unveiled a new flagship shop in L.A. that comes with an interactive handbag salon, allowing shoppers to personalize their handbag orders in colors, materials, and monograms. Each handbag in the store is tagged with an RFID chip that automatically carries over product specifications to a touchscreen when a customer brings a bag to the salon to start their customization.

What Retailers Should Do
By focusing on personalization and offering a seamless in-store experience, Ralph Lauren’s new store provides a great example of how retailers can modernize their retail experience and attract shoppers to visit. With more and more consumers choosing the convenience of online shopping over physical stores, brick-and-mortar retailers need to take the initiative in creating in-store experiences that provide added value for customers.


Source LA Times

Google Brings Dynamic Ads To TV

What Happened
Google is making another play for a piece of TV ad spending with the introduction of a new dynamic ad tool. With DoubleClick Dynamic Ad Insertion, TV broadcasters and content distributors will be able to customize the in-stream ads to deliver more relevant commercials. This new ad product is powered by Google’s cloud service and works for both live TV and on-demand content. Google tested it last year with the Rugby World Cup Finals on French network TF1 and during the Republican Presidential Debates on Fox News. The setup currently works with AMC Networks, MCN, Roku, and Cablevision in the US and Globo in South America. Along with this new dynamic ad tool, Google is also adding live TV listings to its search results to help media owners reach more people.

What Brands Need To Do
The announcement came at an interesting time as Google attacked TV ads earlier this week with a new study reporting that YouTube ads offer higher ROIs than TV in 77% of cases. By making TV ads dynamic and customizable, Google is offering brand advertisers a way to make TV commercials more like data-driven digital ads. For brands wishing to make their TV campaigns more effective and targeted, this new tool should be worth a try.


Source: Marketing Land

Retailers Look To Data-Driven Personalization And New Digital Tools To Entice Shoppers

What Happened
After reporting fourth-quarter sales declines, a number of brick-and-mortar retailers including Sears, Kohl’s, and Macy’s revealed their plan for trying new digital tools, especially those that focus on personalization, to entice customers and lure them back into stores. Macy’s, for example, is working on making its mobile app easier to use by adding natural language search and building a more optimized experience that better syncs up the in-store experience to its digital assets.

Westfield Mall provides another good example in this regard as it tested a cognitive retail app at its San Francisco flagship store last December. The app, created by software company Gigster and IBM and powered by IBM’s Watson, can make personalized gift recommendations after analyzing several data inputs about the recipients, such as their gender, age, personality traits, or even their Twitter page. According to Gigster, the app was very well-received, racking up nearly 8,000 users and an impressive 11% click-to-buy rate for its gift suggestions during its 20-day run.

What Retailers Need To Do
With more and more consumers choosing the convenience of online shopping over visiting physical stores, brick-and-mortar retailers need to take the initiative in modernizing the in-store shopping experience with new digital tools as well as on-demand delivery services. Those aforementioned examples are illustrative of an emerging trend that sees retailers taking a more data-driven, personalized approach in their customer communications management, an approach that can greatly benefit all retailers.

For more information on how retailers can better utilize customer data to connect with shoppers throughout every step of the purchase journey, check out the Boundless Retail section in our Outlook 2016.


Sources: AdAge & IBM

New Facebook Tech Can ID You Without Seeing Your Face

Read original story on: The Next Web

Facebook’s facial recognition algorithm was first developed to enable easier “tagging” in photos to facilitate party photo sharing on the social network. Fast forward to now, however, the tool has become so powerful that it can recognize users in pictures when their face is not in shot. Instead, it identifies people based on their hair, clothing style, and other physical traits that it compares with old images already stored in its database, all to an astonishing 83% accuracy.

Facial recognition has been receiving a lot of press lately. The news comes a week after several prominent privacy groups terminated negotiations with the U.S. government and the tech industry after failing to agree on even basic privacy protections around facial recognition. Moreover, dozens of churches worldwide are reportedly using facial recognition to track if its members are attending their services.

Here at the Lab, we have always been interested in the development of facial recognition technology, believing in its potential in enabling more personalized consumer experiences. But we also firmly believe that this technology should only be applied with clear consent from the consumers, preferably on an opt-in basis. Anything less would be a violation of consumer privacy, and should not be tolerated.

Streaming Music Gets More Personal With Ads

Read original story on: AdWeek and AdAge

Music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify are enhancing the way that they target ads by getting more intimate with listeners. Spotify announced that it will allow brands to target specific consumers through custom playlists based on user activity and preferences. Ideally, the streaming company will be able to infer the context in which people are listening to playlists to deliver the perfect ad. Similarly, Pandora is moving closer toward programmatic advertising by allowing brands to target users based on more specific demographics like the users’ declared age, gender, and location, showcasing the wealth of targeted data they can provide brands.

Periscope Refines Comments And Discovery With New Update

Read original story on: TechCrunch

Coming off its explosive launch last week, Twitter’s live streaming platform Periscope is now trying to keep up the momentum with a new update, which aims to brings more customization features for users in stream discovery and live commenting. By splitting the live-streams into separate “Friends” and “Global” tabs, users can now easily cut through the clutter and find the streams from broadcasters they care about. Moreover, a new “Follower Only” mode limits in-stream comments to followers only, a good way to filter the rapid-fire live comment streams for popular Periscope users.

Header image taken from Screenshot of Periscope App

IPG Lab + Yahoo: Giving Consumers The Personalization They Want

New research study details consumer expectations of and reactions to personalized ad experiences.

Consumers are immersed in digital content and ads across a range of devices on a daily basis, creating a challenging and cluttered environment within which brands must try to stand out. Increasingly, personalization is emerging as the tool to help advertisers break through the noise and forge consumer connections.  To help advertisers more effectively leverage personalization, we teamed with IPG Media Lab, the creative technology arm of IPG Mediabrands, to create “Going Deeper: What Consumers Really Want from Personalized Ads,” a study of how individuals react to and feel about ad experiences that are tailored to them.

For marketers looking to strike the right balances when serving consumers personalized ads, we identified four key areas of focus:

  1. Do mobile better – Consumers expectations for personalization are highest on mobile devices, particularly when it comes to delivering information quickly and geo-located.
  2. Understand consumer preferences – Consumers respond best to ads that are tailored to where they are and what they do online.
  3. Understand the dimensions that impact personalization – The younger the consumer, the stronger the desire for personalization, especially for big ticket purchases.
  4. Put personalization to work against KPIs – Advertisers that utilized personalization saw increases in overall favorability and purchase intent.

Interested in learning more? Be sure to read the full study. And if you’re ready to put personalization to work for your brand, contact your Yahoo Account Manager.

Download the Going Deeper Presentation Deck Here

SXSW 2015: How Do Brands Stand Out?

One of the most pressing concerns at this year’s SXSWi was how brands can distinguish themselves in the mind of the consumer, especially in an increasingly commoditized marketplace. “The retailers in the best position are those that bring values in ways other than just inventory,” Ben Kaufman of Quirky noted. We’ve seen a few predictions at SXSW about how brands will modify their approach:

Personalization “if you’re a vegetarian, we shouldn’t be sending you coupons for a Baconator,” says Wendy’s Brian Kirby. The advantage of mobile payments and digital loyalty programs is better consumer data. The consumer experience can now be scalably personal.

Value At a panel on native advertising, Nikhil Sethi from Adaptly pushed toward a future of “pull.” “There is no ‘native’ anymore,” he says. “It’s about brands building content for consumers.” If the value proposition for a brand experience needs to be established early and often, consumers will seek it out.

Efficiency The panel observed that rather than inventory, the real scarcity was attention. So the challenge isn’t to create more, but rather better, content in order to capture that finite attention. The line between creative agency and publisher is blurring, so each actor needs to take on multiple roles. Maybe, the panel thought, native programmatic could become a reality — though Sethi found that “idealistic.” For now, it’s about efficiency.