Foursquare FTW

I am a pretty big fan of Foursquare. I have personally tried to be an advocate of the platform in my city for a long time now. A lot of people have been skeptical, some simply haven't heard about it and some are not sure how to fully utilize it.

Foursquare just gave everyone two more reasons to fall in love with the service ...

Visa and MasterCard.

They are kicking things off with a U.S-wide BK partnership.

They are kicking things off with a U.S-wide BK partnership.

According to Foursquare's latest blog post:

To make saving money even easier, we’re working with First Data and CardSpring to expand our seamless credit card specials to Visa, Mastercard, and debit cards.

Here are three reasons why this is HUGE for Foursquare and its existing - and future - userbase: 

  1. Even more valuable specials - Some venues may already be offering some form of monetary discount as a special; however, now they have the opportunity to team up with credit card companies to offer even more. This also means they can be creative and potentially use other types of specials for non-monetary rewards. They could use the specials to build-in some fun for the brand e.g. A fast-food restaurant could use a loyalty special to giveaway a free t-shirt! 
  2. Spending metrics - Venues will now have the ability to see how specials tie into purchases. This can give them some serious insight into which products are popular among certain users - simply by combining the Foursquare venue demographics with purchases to tell a story. This kind of understanding could help in future product development and marketing e.g. If venue managers realize that males aged 18-24 are most likely to purchase X product, then that product could be further improved for that specific demographic. The company may also choose to begin a marketing campaign around that product targeted specifically to that demographic. 
  3. Removing friction - The really interesting feature of credit card based specials are that they can be redeemed without the additional required interaction with an employee at the venue. On previous occasions, this interaction may have caused friction due to an employee not knowing about the special. Although this does remove a barrier for the consumer, I strongly believe that venue owners should make all of their staff aware of these specials even though they do not have to be involved in the redemption process. I believe this is important because it gives employees a tid-bit of knowledge that they can then share with consumers to allow consumers to have an even more valuable experience. 

I simply cannot wait to see more credit card based Foursquare specials come up. I am very, very excited for the future of this platform. Foursquare ... for the win.

Content Marketing The Sub Way

I love how creative companies are getting with their content marketing. This latest example by Subway is one I find particularly brilliant.

Subway has designed a new online contest where anyone can virtually build and run a virtual Subway store. Contestants will go through various challenges and be rewarded for completing these challenges and according to a PSFK article:

Five winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to the U.S. to meet founder Fred DeLuca and the global executive team, attend a special session of University of Subway, and get a VIP tour of the HQ.

What can content marketers learn from this?

1. Build it and allow them to come - The brilliance of this contest from a content marketing perspective is that the majority of the content is not coming from Subway but instead from contestants (users). Subway has ingeniously figured out how to create an entire campaign around user-generated content. In order to do something like this, brands need to spend time thinking about the platform that users will create the content on. 

2. Educate your audience - The really neat part about this contest is that it may actually educate the consumer on the process behind running a Subway restaurant or even just the process around running a franchise in general. Regardless of whether or not you're a Subway fan, if you have any interest in entrepreneurship ... this could potentially be something you engage with.

Make social easy.

Make social easy.

3. Make it inherently social - If the content is engaging enough, people would find value in sharing that with others ... so make it easy for them to do that. Subway has done a great job with this by using social sharing buttons and easy calls to action. Consider building a platform with social in mind as opposed to adding in a social layer after you've got the core of the platform built.

Subway's approach to content marketing: Engaging, educational and social.

Three traits worth emulating.

The Microsoft Channel

Microsoft may have just put another piece in place to create the ultimate platform.


Microsoft is getting into original programming.

It's going to start with content aimed at the core Xbox audience; however, it will most likely evolve from there to other audiences and users of the Xbox.

Much like YouTube original programming, this announcement by Microsoft is a game-changer for the future of television. It also places Microsoft in an extremely powerful position as it will own a significant part of the content supply chain (the hardware, the software and the content creation itself). 

Here are some reasons why this move allows Microsoft to come closer to becoming the ultimate platform:

  1. Content created with the device in mind - The Xbox is interactive. A show could potentially become interactive ... how? Who knows. It is yet to be invented. The point is, the technology exists so it's just a matter of time until it actually happens.
  2. Advertising relevance will be made easy - Microsoft can offer advertisers something very, very enticing ... they know the kind of audience consuming a program ... and they have control over the interface through which that audience is consuming this program. This means ... if a show is talking about an app ... a download button could hypothetically appear on the screen, you could wave your hand, point to it and then it could start downloading directly to your Windows Phone. Not only will this change the way consumers interact with ads but it will also change the very notion of how ads are created. Value in advertising will become far more prevalent.
  3. The Xbox becomes an all-in-one device - No more cable, no more blu-ray player, no more multiple remotes. A TV ... and an Xbox. If Microsoft gets into TVs then they suddenly start selling living rooms. All the content you need: games, programs, the web ... all can be easily accessed through one device ... and due to the nature of the cloud, this device could theoretically move with you through your Windows Phone or even your Surface tablet.
The Microsoft Channel ... coming soon to a TV near you.

Moment Hacking

During the Superbowl this past weekend, something occurred that caused a real disruption. A disruption to the way the game is played.

Of course, this had nothing to do with Football ... and everything to do with advertising.

Before we get into that, I would like to bring up a concept I came across a long time ago called, 'newsjacking.' I first read about it through the brilliance of Joe Chernov and began to understand how easily it could work into an organization's SEO strategy. If your organization has an active blog, newsjacking is an especially useful tactic. Here's how it's defined:

It’s [newsjacking] the act of redirecting the momentum from breaking news into your company’s favor by injecting a fresh perspective … in real time.

Now, let's return to the Superbowl this past weekend. By now, you have probably heard of and seen these (Warning: They are brilliant): 

A Tide Moment Hack.

A Tide Moment Hack.

An Oero Moment Hack.

An Oero Moment Hack.

These are examples of what I am calling: Moment Hacks.

A Moment Hack occurs when a brand uses a trending topic as its basis to ship a piece of creative work which reinforces a brand's message. 

In order to do this well, brands need to be agile. They need to be willing to take a risk. Let go of the red tape because in this game, speed is absolutely everything. Tide, Oero and even some others seized a very opportune moment and produced something remarkable.

Newsjacking and Moment Hacking are very similar concepts. In my view, Moment Hacking deals with the production specifically of a creative piece of work, it needs to be visual so that it can be easily shared. Moment Hacking can also occur in a much shorter time-frame and even has a shorter life-span because moments/trending topics sometimes don't last long.

In the coming year I am sure we are going to witness many more moments. Let's see how they get hacked.

6 seconds or less

To share an experience.

On Thursday of last week, Twitter launched a new mobile service called Vine. It is an app for iOS devices at the moment; however, Twitter does have plans to expand it further.

Vine is simple, it allows you to capture and share video footage that lasts 6 seconds or less and then plays it in a continuous loop.

Although the app is only meant for iOS devices, people with other Twitter clients (including the web version) can still be exposed to 'Vines.'

As always, I'm curious about what this means for marketers:

Twitter has forced marketers to think creatively in the space of 140 characters. 120 if you include any kind of link to content. The really interesting thing that Vine has introduced is video. A picture is worth a thousand words. Marketers now have 6 one second pictures strung together with the opportunity to add a caption that can be up to 119-120 characters in length (a Vine link is about 21 characters).

I hope this will result in more storytelling. I hope it will allow brands to become even more human. Share things that allow consumers to relate to brands in new ways.

Time will tell how brands will take to this but for now I'm sure we can expect to feel a little more emotion when looking through our Twitter feeds.

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The genius of Myspace

When I came across this landing page for the new Myspace, I could not help but marvel at the genius of it. Allow me to break down my thoughts:


1. Clear heading - Also it's intriguing because if you didn't know that was the name of JT's new single then you may be slightly confused ... yet curious, which is a good thing (It causes you to learn more).

2. Nice image - He's not stock. He's gorgeous.

3. Short but sweet copy - You don't need much, you just need to explain your headline.

4. Cleeeaaarrr calls to action - Also, only two calls to action! So easy! The person visiting this page only has two options!!! Well, they can also leave the page without doing anything, but that's a risk anyone faces. 

5. White space - Gives your eyes time to focus instead of being assaulted with images, copy and calls to action.

Overall = genius.

Check it out for yourself.

A Hot Disruption (Podcast)

Listen to the episode on iTunes

Listen to the episode online



Episode Summary:

On this shorter episode, I am joined by my good friend and regular guest Andrew Baskerville. Baskie and I attempted to discuss three hot topics in the news including the Apple announcement, Amazon announcement and Facebook announcements. Sadly we experienced a technical difficulty and had to cut the show short, it was still fun though. We hope you enjoy the show! (Runtime: 30:00)

Sources for the discussion:

Interesting sites to check out:

Andrew's Blog