Kringl Has Been Shortlisted for Best AR App at the Webbys!

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I am very excited and proud to share that Kringl - The Proof of Santa app created by my agency Zulu Alpha Kilo has been shortlisted for Best AR App in the Interactive Advertising and Media category at the Webbys. As I mentioned back in December, Kringl is an iOS and Android video application that helps you prove to your kids that Santa Claus is real. It’s a great little app and I’m proud to have had a small part in helping bring it to life.

While the Webby Academy selects its Webby Winner in each category, every nominee is also up a Webby People’s Voice Award as selected by the voting public. I’d be honoured if you’d be willing to vote for Kringl, which you can do so here.

Voting is open from April 8th to April 24th. Thanks in advance for your support!

Dulux UK Understands the Importance of Storytelling

This is a wonderful example of a brand that understands how transformative storytelling can be as a tool. Dulux UK recently released this 80-second commercial that provides consumers with a view into a different world. Pretty impressive for an otherwise quite boring category. Well done.

UPDATED: In response to my blog post, Dulux UK has provided me with my own colourized Twitter avatar:

Dulux Twitter Avatar

Great example of continuing the conversation in social and providing those who promote their campaign with a tangible ‘thank you’. Awesome all around!

See You at Dx3?

 

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I’m proud to announce that I’ve been asked to participate in Dx3 Conference‘s very first Ambassador Program (in partnership with Boost Agents). As part of “Canada’s top 100 marketers who are on the cusp of leadership positions within their field” I’ll not only get access to some of the industry’s seasoned experts but I will get to help shape the future of Dx3! (Pst, you can find my profile here, if at all curious.)

What is Dx3, you may be asking? Well, Dx3 is Canada’s largest conference and tradeshow dedicated to digital. It brings agencies, brands, publishers and retailers together for two days of networking and education.

Happening March 5-6 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Dx3 will feature speakers that include Eric Harris (EVP, Business Operations at BuzzFeed), Duncan Fulton (SVP Communications & Corporate Affairs, Canadian Tire Corporation CMO, FGL Sports and Mark’s), David Jones (VP, Social Media, Critical Mass) as well as speakers from Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, AOL, Walmart, Visa, and many others.

I haven’t yet had the chance to attend Dx3, so I’m looking forward to attending with fresh eyes and a keen interest to learn as much as I can! But the best part of this opportunity, in my opinion, is that I get to offer my friends and readers a $75 discount on the All Access Pass to Dx3. Simply use the code “DX3AMB” when purchasing to redeem. You can register here.

Hope to see you there!

PSA: Media Buyers… Don’t Do This

 

So I was looking at a funny video my friend told me to watch today, and noticed this with the pre-roll:

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See anything funny? How about that lovely YouTube pre-roll title? Or perhaps the name, “Larry Testburger”? Uhhh, really? You think Special K will want their brand associated with this username? Unlikely.

Say I was interested in Special K’s ad and product. So I click through… to this:

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Great consumer experience there, eh? No branding, fake name, no where to go. Media planning fail.

Digital agencies or media planners: Please make sure you upload your client’s video up to their actual YouTube account. Otherwise, you’re gonna have a bad time.
(Yeah, I totally ended this on a meme.)

Instagram Introduces “Instagram Direct”

The life of a Digital Strategist or Community Manager these days is pretty tough! Social platforms seem to be constantly making changes and it can be difficult to keep up.

Today, Instagram introduced “Instagram Direct” – a feature on Instagram that allows you to share your Instagram photos with just one person or a specified group of people. Like friends, family, roommates or even strangers (no, really, you can do that according to their blog post).

As with many launches, Instagram has created a product video to show off the new feature:

Introducing Instagram Direct from Instagram on Vimeo.

As my Facebook friends list seems to be saying, “It’s like Snapchat. Without the disappearing act.”

Frankly, as someone who works on brands who are quite active in the social space, this is exciting news. This feature could definitely be used to connect more directly and privately with followers, influencers, or even contest winners. Imagine using this feature to send clues to a select group who is participating in scavenger hunt. Or sending a user an Instagram photo showing they’ve won a contest. Or even just giving your followers only a sneak peak to exclusive, behind-the-scenes content.

There’s tons of potential here and I can’t wait to see what brands do with this feature!

Zulu Alpha Kilo Launches Kringl – The Proof of Santa Video App

Something we’ve been busy working on for the past several weeks here at Zulu Alpha Kilo is our holiday card. But this year, it’s not a card but an app! Say what? You may ask. Well, let me elaborate…

Kringl is an iOS and Android video application that helps you prove to your kids that Santa Claus is real. 

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I am so honoured to have been a part of the making of Kringl with the amazingly hard working team here at Zulu and with our partners at Thinking Box.

How it works is that you can film a location in your home, choose from several of our Santa scenes, and in seconds you’ll have footage of Kris Kringle eating cookies by your Christmas tree (or doing something else!). So simply put: You can recreate the magical story of Santa for your kids.  

Along with creating this app, Zulu has partnered with Make-A-Wish Canada and all proceeds raised will benefit Make-A-Wish. If you wish to do so, there is a button in the app that will bring you to a donation page where you can help keep the magic alive for other deserving children.

It’s a great little app and I’m proud to have had a small part in helping to bring some Holiday cheer to the world.  We’ve also created this adorable little video that showcases Kringl:

To find the download links or get more information, you can go to KringlApp.com.

Thanks to the whole Zulu Alpha Kilo and Thinking Box team for pulling this together in what felt like overnight! And to Zak specifically for believing in this vision.

 

The Very First Community Management Conference: CM1

Community Management is a fairly new title in digital advertising and marketing; really, it has only come into existence in the past few years.

I still remember working at Publicis in 2009 on Rogers. Together, we were creating great Facebook contest apps for our Facebook Page, but quickly realized there were – gasp! – questions on the wall from customers. Within weeks, I became the person responsible for responding to those questions and comments. As Rogers’ Facebook community grew, so did the questions. Suddenly, social media felt very real and we all knew we needed to build processes and guidelines. Now, a governance model or a response guideline document seems like an obvious first step… but back then – only four years ago! – this was new territory for us all.

Stories like the above are not unusual – and it’s become clear that Community Management is now a key role for many clients and agencies who are entrenched in social media. Yet, because so many people still see Community Manager as a low-level role (see Marketing Mag’s recent series on Community Management) it was no surprise that there hasn’t been a conference that focuses exclusively on Community Management… until now.

The good people at the FITCDx3, and The Tite Group have realized that there is a huge opportunity here and have launched the very first Community Management conference, called CM1.

 

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CM1 will be a one-day conference for Community Managers and it’s happening right here in Toronto on November 14th, 2013. You can expect to learn and discover new ways of inspiring, engaging and measuring communities.

I won’t be attending, but my agency Zulu Alpha Kilo will be sending our lovely Community Manager, Miranda, there to get the goods on this evolving and growing role. I’m excited to hear all about the learnings and trends Miranda will surely bring back to us from the conference.

Other notable speakers (and some of my favourite peers!) include:

 

If you’re a Community Manager, or interested in learning more about Community Management, I highly suggest you attend. You can buy tickets here.

If you attend, I’d love to know what you think! Feel free to leave a comment below or let me know on Twitter.

Absolute Challenges You to Transform Today

Absolut Vodka has recently released this new TV spot, along with a new global brand tagline: Transform Today. This comes after a switch to Sid Lee, following a 25 year AOR relationship with TBWA.

As with many alcohol brands, Absolut is trying to tap into the finicky Millennial market. As Eric Alper (Managing Partner at Sid Lee) said, Absolut was trying to take a more modern approach to their long-standing history of supporting artists, in the hope of connecting with Millennials. Absolut is looking to become an “agent of transformation” between consumers’ regular selves and their “extraordinary selves.” Sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?

But have to say, I like this ad. It has a dark, sexy edge to it. Nicely done, Absolut.

You can read more on the new global campaign in Marketing Mag here.

Google Calls its Next Android OS… KitKat?

Google just announced that it will call its next Android OS (operating system) KitKat, after the Nestle chocolate bar.

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Since 2009, Google and its partners in the Open Handset Alliance have codenamed each Android release after a type of treat, with major updates progressing a letter along the alphabet. [...] Previous versions have been called Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo (short for frozen yoghurt), Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean.

Although the developers had referred to the forthcoming version as KLP in internal documents, Mr Lagerling said the team decided late last year to opt instead for the chocolate bar. [...] ”One of the snacks that we keep in our kitchen for late-night coding are KitKats. And someone said: ‘Hey, why don’t we call the release KitKat?’

“We didn’t even know which company controlled the name, and we thought that [the choice] would be difficult. But then we thought well why not, and we decided to reach out to the Nestle folks.”

Mr Lagerling said he had made a “cold call” to the switchboard of Nestle’s UK advertising agency at the end of November to propose the tie-up.

I just find this so, so funny. Ah, marketing and advertising.

Source.