The Next Big Thing: Wearable Tech

One of the most exciting aspects of attending CES each year is getting a first look at the stunning new technology. As we’ve described before, the international trade show is arguably the biggest event of the year for the consumer electronics industry, and has been described as “geek heaven on earth.”
Not surprisingly, what’s proving to be the next big thing in consumer electronics made a big impact at CES 2013 – wearable tech. Several gadgets at CES, including Nike’s FuelBand and CST-01: The World’s Thinnest Watch, signified the growth of this emerging trend. And with the recent hype surrounding Google Glass and rumors swirling around Apple’s potential iWatch, wearable tech has moved to the forefront of the tech world.


This is definitely something we’re excited about. Wearable tech has the power to completely change how we go about our daily lives. Smart watches, including Pebble and the rumored iWatch, are essentially smartphones for your wrist that provide information at a glance. The CST-01 is the world’s thinnest watch, weighing in at a featherlike 12 grams. Personal fitness gadgets like the Nike FuelBand and FitBit Flex give users incredibly useful information about their health and activity levels, in turn acting as a great motivator for exercise. And the buzz surrounding Google Glass isn’t without merit; eliminating the need to pull out your phone to take a photo or perform a quick search would be a huge time-saver in today’s fast-paced world. Plus, it’s just cool. High-profile users like Diane von Furstenburg are even turning Google Glass into a fashion statement.
Wearable tech isn’t projected to be a passing fad, either. According to ABI Research, wearable computing devices will exceed 485 million annual shipments by 2018. Though it’s hard to predict whether these futuristic devices will catch on with a wide range of consumers, the trend is already off to a great start. As the Washington Post explains, “Wearable tech no longer has to be something that you pick up as a gimmick to impress your friends or a goofy gift you pick up for your hipster buddies around the holidays. Suddenly, wearable tech has the potential to be so seamless that it integrates into your everyday life without making you feel like an alpha nerd.” Geek heaven on earth? It’s no longer limited to CES.

#TwitterHack2013: The Week of Brand-Hacked Twitter Accounts

Burger King was the topic of conversation amongst social media aficionados yesterday after hackers took over the brand’s official Twitter account. On a slow President’s Day, the story quickly garnered lots of attention, with blogs and newspapers ranging from the Wall Street Journal to the Boston Globe reporting on the hack.

Mandatory “lessons learned from the Burger King Twitter hack”-type posts followed suit, and by mid-afternoon today the entire episode was fading away. Then this happened:


Another brand’s official Twitter account – this time Jeep’s – was hacked, seemingly by the same person. The media jumped on the case once again, with attention-grabbing headlines like this one from Gizmodo: “Exclusive: The Burger King and Jeep Hacker Is Probably This DJ From New England.”
Just minutes later, the Twitter accounts for both MTV and BET appeared to have been compromised as well. But according to AdAge, the MTV/BET hack was “merely a joke following up on the Twitter account hacks of Jeep and Burger King.”
So, here comes the inevitable question numerous have already addressed: what should social media managers take away from Twitter’s recent events? Here are our thoughts:

  1. Remember your brand’s reputation. Luckily for Burger King and Jeep, it was immediately apparent that their Twitter accounts had been hacked. No one thought for a second that these well-established brands would take to Twitter the way the hacker(s) did. It was obvious that the accounts had been breached, so the brands’ reputations weren’t truly damaged.


  1. A sense of humor is key. Burger King chose to make light of the hack by welcoming their new followers (the fast food chain gained approximately 30,000 in one day). McDonald’s tweeted a cheeky claim of innocence – and Cadillac did the same. Like Oreo’s clever Super Bowl tweet, a smart quip gives brands a unique chance to engage with their audience.


  1. Just don’t take that sense of humor too far. Although some may praise MTV & BET for acting quickly in response to the second Twitter hack in 24 hours, others will likely feel duped and annoyed that the accounts pretended to be hacked. It’s extremely important to be honest and transparent at all times; you don’t want to become known as “the brand who cried wolf.”


  1. Look on the bright side. Dozens of articles will be written about these brands in the next few hours – on top of the dozens that have already been published. Burger King and Jeep will likely also continue to gain followers as a result of the hacks, and people will be keeping a close eye on Twitter to see what brand will fall victim next. In the end, a simple Twitter hack isn’t going to hurt anyone – it just gives us social media enthusiasts one more thing to analyze.

Congratulations – You Have One of the Top 10% Most Viewed LinkedIn Profiles for 2012!

Did you receive an email this week with that very subject line? You’re not alone – LinkedIn has sent these emails to millions of members over the last few days, essentially congratulating them on their popularity. We were a bit skeptical; what was the reasoning for this random pat on the back?
While you may have been thrilled to learn that you’re in the top 10% of most viewed profiles on LinkedIn, remember that percentages are relative. The email also noted that LinkedIn has just reached 200 million users – meaning if you’re in the top 10%, you’re one in 20 million. Congrats!
BIGfish President David Gerzof Richard appeared on Fox 25 Boston this morning to explain the clever marketing purpose behind LinkedIn’s email outreach (click here to watch the video). By congratulating 20 million users for their professional prominence – and offering these Internet savvy users tools within the email to immediately share the news on Facebook and Twitter – LinkedIn got themselves thousands of @mentions and a decent amount of media attention, all free of charge.


In all, the email marketing campaign was pretty harmless and pretty effective. By making users feel important, LinkedIn drove many to post a “humblebrag” about their popularity (check out this post for more on “The Age of Braggarts”), which in turn drove conversation about the brand. The emails also created an excuse to share the news that LinkedIn now has 200 million users, and even included an aesthetic infographic detailing those members.
At least in the short-term, the strategy was effective: it created some buzz, made millions of LinkedIn users feel important, and generated a few media hits, all from what was essentially non-news. And in the end, isn’t that what publicity stunts are for?


BIGfish President David Gerzof Richard Appears on NPR

WBUR-2.7.13BIGfish President David Gerzof Richard appeared on NPR this morning to discuss the social pressures of the digital world. “Some people feel that if a certain amount of time goes by and they haven’t updated or they haven’t tweeted, that there’s something wrong with them,” he says. “It’s almost like this hamster wheel — that they need to constantly be getting content out there.” To listen to the full segment, click the photo above or click here.

Brand Bowl 2013: A Slam Dunk in the Dark

Super Bowl XLVII was arguably one of the most entertaining games in recent history. It had pretty much everything a viewer could ask for: a pair of animated coaches who also happen to be brothers; a great comeback by the 49ers that had everyone on the edge of their seat; a fabulous halftime show brought to you by the Queen B herself; and a 35-minute blackout to boot.
So yes, all that was great – but as marketers, we’re here to discuss more than the entertainment factor. Which advertiser won this year’s Brand Bowl?
During this year’s game, brands chalked up $3.8 million for 30 seconds of precious airtime. Despite being the most expensive ad buy on television, according to the Wall Street Journal, “buying a spot during the big game may be the most efficient play on Madison Avenue.”
Well, Madison Avenue certainly learned a lesson about “efficient plays” last night as the power of social media proved itself. Shortly after the now-infamous blackout began, Oreo took to Twitter with this clever message:
In a move that resulted in more than 15,000 retweets and coverage from dozens of outlets ranging from The Today Show to Forbes to the Huffington Post and beyond, Oreo won the Brand Bowl without spending a penny.
Several other brands apparently had a similar train of thought and quickly posted blackout-themed tweets as well, but Oreo had already won the race.
The episode raises a valid question: will social media marketing eventually overtake traditional advertising, or is it simply a nice way to complement traditional ads when the opportunity presents itself? We’re not predicting that Super Bowl ads will become any less important (or expensive) in the near future, but Oreo’s tweet proves that brands can — and should — use social media to their advantage.
In a world where marketers are constantly connected, events like last night’s blackout present a gold mine of opportunities for brands to engage with their audience directly. Oreo acted quickly, and it paid off – a slam dunk in the dark.