Tag Archives: mobile

Cannes Lions 2017: From stories to experiences

Movies like Terminator, iRobot or Minority Report didn’t predict the future, the creators just opened up a new way of thinking within the realms of their scripting.

Similarly, as an industry, we advertisers pride ourselves on creativity and storytelling. We strive to create new ideas and worlds every day and communicate these through stories. Our stories get seeded online and then evolve amongst communities online and offline. They’re influenced globally by opinions and cultures, evolving and developing as multiple varieties from that one original core. The best stories transcend through the industry as ways of inspiring others.

But we must move beyond just stories. In today’s ‘post cinematic’ world we have so many new and exciting ways of creating, telling and sharing experiences; immersive mediums, alternate realities, cognitive and predictive data, connected and intuitive ecosystems. All of these things push the boundaries of storytelling, so why then, when for years we have successfully told linear stories, do we suddenly get ‘tech fear’ and limit ourselves at the hands of technology stressing over whether it’s been done?

This year I was honoured to be invited to judge the Cannes Lions mobile category and it was clear to me that when creativity and technology meet there are a few key trends emerging across the globe:

  1. Tech for tech’s sake is taking a back seat, FINALLY! The pioneers of converging an idea with the pace of life today are really doing their research to nail the killer insight at the heart of an idea, and you can see how this helps the idea evolve but not stray.
  2. That said, few are brave enough to state they don’t quite know what they’re doing (which is OK by the way as long as you are ‘doing’) and so stick digital and social amplification plasters over the cracks in an idea and talk about reach (I’m rolling my eyes now).
  3. Too many brands are quick to experiment but slow to adopt and scale, they come with an award in mind but lose sight of their audience in doing so.
  4. Very few have really, truly wrapped their minds around how to move from telling a story to putting their user at the centre of it to create an experience.
  5. Those brave enough to explore new terrain are doing so with a cause at the heart of it, which is empowering, I salut you.
  6. Ethics and morals aside for a moment, there’s still a ton of opportunity to just do really cool shit that leaves your brand emblazoned on the minds of those you want to buy your product.

Two words in most of the case studies and two that I hear every day are; Disruptive and Innovative. For me, true disruption emerges at the convergence of technologies, ideas and of course stories.

I was excited to see the bar is inching up, however there is a whole new world we can create through the next generation of stories and experiences that is currently untapped.

Whilst I love a good story, it’s definitely left me fuelled to continue to push for experiences, ones that make hairs stand on end, screeches escape mouths and eyes to well up, all of which happened in the jury room #justsaying.

Cannes Lions 2017

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one forwards, two back

For every degree of separation that technology has connected in the digital world, I’m starting to think that many of us are stepping one further away from those we know in the real one.

The six degrees of separation theory was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy in 1929, then some decades later (hard to find an actual date from the reports freely available) sociologists proved a theory that if you spoke to enough people you were really only three degrees separated. The first degree is physical, the second emotional and the third spiritual.

So if the only thing that depicts the first degree is physicality, then arguably in our digitally connected, socially ‘always on’ world we could all be within two degrees of each other. That sounds quite nice in theory, the prospect of seeking, finding and establishing a new connection with people all over the world.

As someone who spends a lot of time in front of a screen because of my work, I make an effort to not look at my phone when I’m out and about and look up at what’s going on around me. From what I observe, as a society we have become latent in our socialising skills, too many of us are better at being who we are online that who we are in the real world.

Yesterday I overheard a conversation on the train; two girls, one had just dumped her boyfriend, the other was asking her how he’d taken it, she replied ‘I don’t think he knows, I just posted it on Facebook.’ I felt more sorry for her then I did for him, he dodged a bullet there whoever he is…

I’d love to be able to work out the ratio of degrees closer in the digital world v degrees further apart in the real one. Facebook published an article back in 2011 that outlined 4.74 degrees just on their platform and that’s old news now.

For all the time we spend looking down rather than up, what opportunities do we miss to connect to someone properly, physically? Not just your eyes across a crowded room malarkey, but getting to know the guy at the paper stand you pass every day and pick up your copy of Wired from, the couple who take their dog to the park when you do, the lady wearing that really nice dress you’d like to know where to buy.

Forget the rise of the robots, in this smartphone zombie era we’re turning into autobots ourselves.


Image by dodo91 found on deviantart.com – thank you!

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Time is our currency

This week has been all about the disruption of the Financial Service sector, well for me anyway; I’ve been exploring the future of traditional banks through the eyes of millennials, pretty interesting stuff when you really get under the skin of it. 

Once upon a time (which for me is before the Internet became adopted mainstream) banking was based on the banking giants being in control; they had the money, they got to dictate their terms, from opening hours to transfer charges, meaning we mere mortals had to play by their rules. 

The Internet has changed this, and with disruptive start ups like; Transferwise, Credit Karma, Lending club, Privlo, Avantcredit (the list goes on) all delivering better placed insightful thinking with more convenient and contextual user friendly solutions, the consumer now has choice, ease of use and more importantly ease of moving around. 

So what does this mean for the Giants? It means they are no longer in control. 

I was part of a workshop last week with a bunch of industry leads, where we were fueled with coffee and left in a room to decipher how technology has lowered the barriers for these disrupters, and how we should be navigating the landscape moving forwards…

Essentially, startups get to copy the infrastructure set by traditional Giants and simply create a frictionless, seamless interface making it easier to bundle these services together in a friction-free way. This means the old school need to stop trying to use the existing tech to just push services they already have and realize a top down centralised approach won’t work anymore, in our ever increasing Internet of Things, there are thousands of data points now so the model must flip to a bottom up collective. 

Giants will need to truncate their legacy systems to give more choice and more personalization, if they don’t they will lose further pace, they’ve already lost the edge on driving innovation and millennials are losing their patience in equal measures.

In short, we must address the minutiae to reach the mass, empowering rather than enforcing. 

gold egg timer

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Tell me what I want before I want it…

But stop invading my personal space.

It’s a tricky juxtaposition to deliver seamless personal service whilst not freaking consumers out with a big brother approach. I for one HATE banners, especially the ones that stalk me for days on end, however, I would like my utilities provider to remember who I am and take me to the last place I visited, or a nice welcome back page, rather than straight to paying bills even though I have a Direct Debit set up and they owe me money.

So given we’re seeing the fastest evolution in how we interact with devices ever, and that cloud computing means everything is on hand instantly, how long before intelligent assistants make all of our decisions for us?

The key difference will land when the predictive nature moves from our smartphones into our cars, our homes and eventually our offices en masse. It’s happening already; cars are synced to Spotify lists and traffic lights, in-home devices monitor how many bodies are in a room in order to moderate the heating but, this connectivity is not everywhere, yet.

Wearables are bridging some of the gaps; how long before my GP phones me up because my heart rate is too high when I’m out running or how long before my digital radio wakes me up to Stevie Wonder to sooth the after effect of a bad dream…

I’ve been prototyping with A.I solutions recently and can’t help but wonder when I will be able to curate my party playlists based on who’s attending, when I will be able to book taxis to pick up my guests and drop them off in the most effective order possible, when I will NEVER have to do a tax return again or manage my inbox…

I reckon true anticipatory computing is closer than we think.

Now get out of my cloud.


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PULS v Samsung Gear S

I’m not sure that ‘next generation’ of wearables is the right phrase for this as we’ve seen a constant stream of evolution in this area recently, but the two that I’m stuck between are Will.i.am’s ‘PULS’ and the Samsung Gear S.

The PULS can be partnered with a jacket that powers it, a backpack to play your beats and shoes that prompt you not to chomp on too many doughnuts (it measures your weight and has a built in pedometer). It also comes with an O2 sim in the UK, which is where it starts to cross into Gear S territory for me…

The Gear S is one of the reasons I’m holding back from getting the iPhone 6, that’s a big (bendy) phone going on right there, not a good look stuck in the pocket of my skinny jeans… whereas the Gear S is just as sleek as Will.i.am’s fashion led creation, also able to put me off doughnuts and seemingly comes with better connectivity through 3G, WiFi and Bluetooth, with the simple touchscreen interface and good ol’ QWERTY keyboard making life simpler still.

Maybe if Will.i.am can stream his amazing tunes as a service that would swing it…

will.iam.s' new smartwatch

Samsung Gear-S

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Are you Mobile?

In 2010 19 million users accessed mobile internet in the UK.*

Across the world there are more than 2.4 billion mobile phone users with a thousand more hooking up every minute.**

The latest Tealeaf research alludes to the fact that after 15 years of e-commerce, when a consumer visits a website there is no tolerance for a bad experience. If it doesn’t work they will blame the brand or business.

A lot of the time a user’s first impression will be on the mobile web and being used to the level of experience that you gain from a desktop web journey, they expect that to be consistent cross-platform.

Users are spending more and more time on their phones especially with the vast uptake of smart phone devices over the last year.  Your phone is an extension to your body, lose your phone and it’s like losing a limb, it’s an intimate and trusted accessory.

If you provide a user a slick, easy navigable experience then you buy into that expectation they have from technology.

Is your brand or business meeting the mobile consumer expectation?



*Source: Yahoo, Appetite, 2011

**Source: Forrester Research, 2011


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Privacy v’s Security

In a world where we’re connected to each other, quite often by several ways at once, the most talked about topic at the moment seems to be how to balance our privacy with security.

The company behind Blackberry smartphones recently released a statement ensuring their customers that data was indeed private and protected but, internet security experts say that protecting our privacy is a growing battle against the demands for access to the communications occurring across networks.

You can maybe understand how governments might justify the need to tap into certain watched individuals but they do that anyway don’t they? Why do they need to know what I thought of  ‘the film last night’ or ‘which route I took to work’? Feeling exposed? Well it’s certainly getting Joe Public up in arms.

Communications companies and service providers appear to be on the side of the consumer with a growing volume of content being encrypted (Google mail recently undertook a lot of work after big trouble in China) but as this information starts being distributed for intelligence how long before our every move, exchange and decision is open source?

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Foursquare: The Facts

Foursquare was founded by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai.

Foursquare is a location-based social networking website and game.

Foursquare is built primarily for smart phones.

Foursquare has more than 600,000 people checking in at this moment in time.

Foursquare grew more than 10% during one conference (SXSW). That hasn’t been done since Twitter.

Foursquare employ 16 people. The square root of 4 is 16… See what they did there?

If you want to know more, check out their blog.

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3D filming in your hand

The ongoing 3D debate is growing as more ways of enjoying it come to the market, and just as we’re getting our heads around the viewing side of it, ways of recording it are going main-stream.

The latest development is 3D recording on your phone! ‘What?’ I hear you say, it’s true, already the first to launch a 3D TV Sharp have jumped even further ahead of everyone else and are planning to launch the world’s first 3D camera module for mobiles and hand-held cameras by the end of 2010.

The camera shoots 3D footage at 720p resolution (it handles both stills and video), we’ve yet to see what level of production quality we can expect but demo versions are set to hit us by the summer so watch this space.

Sharp is also in charge of developing the 3D screens for the upcoming Nintendo 3DS and plans to produce a whole range of 3D devices before the end of the year.

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iPhone v Android

I’ve been the owner of an iPhone for almost a year now but I doubt very much I’ll ever own one again once my contract runs out, reason being Android are kicking the heels of Apple all the way and seem to be doing everything better and above-board.

One thing that I particularly don’t like about Apple is the way that they treat their developers, having worked with teams on the receiving end of their do’s and dont’s you get to a point when you think enough is enough, just be nice it doesn’t cost anything Apple!

What’s nice about Android is they have a firm but fair term of service policy that make it much easier to develop apps and get the support you need to get it right, interested? You can read the full thing here.

Android have also adopted a full refund policy, if you buy an app you have a 24 hour cooling off period to decide whether or not it’s worth the money you paid for it, beneficial both to the user and the developer, also another thing Apple don’t offer.

Can’t help but think Apple are going to start sweating a bit…

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