Advertising and Marketing Tricks that Use Technology

19 03 2013

If you have been a good businessperson these days, you should always have an ear to where the marketing buzz is at. From TV and Radio ads decades ago, to now the information age, marketing focus has always been trending towards where on gets the most exposure and the best reputation. For now, everything is being invested online, with online marketing budgets skyrocketing. Add to that the additional investments for mobile marketing as people get access to smart phones with on demand internet access and you already have a good blueprint of where you want your advertising to be in the coming years.

However, there is no ONE trick with Hi-Tech advertising these days. Its nature is dynamic with lots of trends and fads in advertising. People may have not yet have time to deploy their hi-tech advertising tricks before the next new trend arrives. Things are happening, that fast with little warning.

So how are you supposed to think about your own contemporary high-tech advertising scheme? Well it is about your own creativity and quick thinking really. Of course that is easier said than done, but we do have some great examples that you can take inspiration from. Below is a list of high tech advertising campaigns and marketing tricks with the latest and greatest technology involved. Discover what you may want to do for yourself.

Interactive Billboards

Below, you will find a Youtube Video. If you watch it you will find how Adobe, the makers of Software like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator used interactive billboards. These billboards have motion sensors that “sense” people as they go near a billboard. Now, whilst they walk across the billboard, the images move in the billboard, much like how one scrolls a video via the scrollbar.

As you can see with the YouTube video, the animation is pretty amazing and people walking to and from will be able to influence and control the movement of the billboard animation. It is a high-tech trick that people can interact with as they pass along the street going to work. Of course, it might be a little bit expensive to maintain.

“In Game” Advertising

Anyone with a smart phone or computer has played many games on those platforms. They are highly interactive, highly entertaining and of course highly addictive at times. Believe it or not, many companies are counting on those kinds of reactions to video games to garner some sort of hold in the “gaming demographic”.

The word here is “In game” advertising. That is right! This is where advertisements appear in a game world or as a game artifact or even area. With millions of people spending hours in games, there is no surprise that you can do some great marketing with your own logos and advertising copy within certain theme related video games. For example, if you are a restaurant, why not have your logo splashed into a game like “Diner Dash”? There are many examples like this and we have provided one in the video below.

In the video, you will see how the game trackmania does advertising via video game car paint jobs, wall advertising etc. It is basically just normal advertising, but in a virtual world. A very interesting concept, and one that has potential of reaching so many people that play games, casual or hardcore gamer alike.

Interactive Stores

Disney opened their interactive stores just a few years ago. The feature video can be seen below. What they did was integrate technology and the magic of going into a toyshop. The result is amazing as kids and adults alike can see magic mirrors with actual changing and interactive displays. They also have power tools, robotic assembly areas and many other interactive and real life tools that make many of those Disney Cartoons come to life. The result is a truly remarkable store that kids and adults can enjoy as they try out the new advancement sin toy technology.

QR Codes and scanners

We then have Quick Response (QR) codes. The QR code is usually found in printed marketing material. It is a black and white graphic with certain shapes and blocks all confined in a square shape. This graphical code is scanned by a smart phone or table with camera and QR code scanner. Once scanned, the device will automatically open a browser and go directly to the marketing link contained by the QR code itself.

Many marketers use QR codes to direct viewers to discover additional content online whilst they browse an “off line” world. We have a video example of how QR codes work below. This should give you an idea of how you can add Hi-Tech elements in your printed marketing through these codes. Take note though that you will still need a high quality printer to print QR codes in prints such as posters and flyers. Make sure you do this correctly so that the link is indeed scanned correctly by those devices.

Augmented Reality

The term augmented or enhanced reality has been thrown around lately. The basic concept here is to change your view of current realty with digital means. Now there are many ways that this can be done, and for the most part, Google has been researching stuff like the Google Glasses to explore this kind of augmented reality.

In recent times though, Blackberry created a very nice interactive, augmented reality ad for London’s fashion week.  What they did was let the public become fashion models. All they did was let anyone who wanted to walk on a catwalk with black canvass all around. Then the audience in London Fashion Week regalia appears as an augmented reality video. It is a pretty amazing experience that any consumer will likely remember.

There are still tons more examples of advertising like this out there online. Only our imagination really limits how we can use current technologies today for marketing gain. Hopefully all the ideas above have inspired you to create your own brand of hi-tech advertisement.





Hi-Tech and Low-Tech Networking Tools for Businessperson

12 03 2013

Business NetworkingWhile we have seen so much innovation in terms of science and technology these past years, one thing that has remained the same for business is the fact and function of business networking. While there are digital social networks, outsourced support and online teleconference meetings, if you want to get real partners and reach great clients and customers, meeting people and doing networking still remains the same.

A good businessperson such as yourself should value, networking. While people need suppliers, services and products, they usually will only buy these things comfortably if they trust the person giving it to them. Hence, even now, business networking is and should be one of the major concerns of any business person.

Now, the purposes and concepts of networking may be the same, but some of the tools have changed. There is more to it of course than just handshakes and small talk. Let me give you some of the more important tools (both hi-tech and low-tech) in business networking that you will probably need today to achieve your business networking goals successfully.

1. Mobile Phone (with business networking abilities)

Of course, every businessperson needs a mobile phone. Without one, you might as well be living in the “stone age” of business. However having just a mobile phone is not enough. More likely than not, it should be a smart phone now, with an IOS, Android or Windows8 operating system (yes phones have OS’s too). Finally and perhaps most importantly for a businessperson with a phone, that mobile phone should have business networking abilities.

Now, I am not talking about a “phone book” or contact list here per se. Of course all phones have those already now. What I am talking about here are special business apps that actually simulate business cards in a sense, but in a digital manner. Apps like “Bump” and “Jump Scan” offer special features that let people exchange contact information quickly, just like giving each other’s business card.

The process really is simple though. When you find a potential partner or client, you can ask them if they have a smart phone and business card application. You can then just send your contact information through your phones via Bluetooth, but with better and more advanced details. In a conference or meeting, this can be a quick and hi-tech way to swap information. So it is a good idea to have these apps ready in your smart phone.

2. Business cards (upgraded)

Now, I know we have been talking about hi-tech business card apps in mobile phones, so you might be asking why do you still need real printed out business cards? Well the answer is actually very simple. They still work, and in fact they work beautifully.

Printed color business cards still work today, but they ONLY work if you customize them and upgrade them correctly. First, when it comes to customization, you should really go all out and create something original. The boring black and white business card with clip-arts or built-in fonts is something you should AVOID. Add creative colors, textures and be creative with your logos and background. You can even experiment with different business card shapes. Most importantly, go for high quality materials in printing. A professional business card printer like printplace.com can help you there. Better quality means more memorable business cards.

Beyond printing upgrades, you may want to do hi-tech upgrades for business cards. That’s right, you can actually turn a paper business card into a hi-tech tool. All you need is to use NFC features embedded in the card. “NFC” stands for near field communications. These are special device features embedded in paper that can be scanned by an NFC capable device (which is more likely the new phones coming out).

What this does is that instead of bothering to activate blue tooth for 2 phones, and then doing the waiting, the NFC chip can easily be scanned by a phone enabled to scan it. It is a bit quicker, and of course people can still keep the business card. Beyond that, another great feature is that you can update the data within the business card. So if you want to change the number or maybe some other information that NFC chip can be updated as you need it.

3. Social Network “Packages”

Another important feature that your business cards should always have are social network details or packages. What I am saying here is that it should have ALL your social network page or profile links. To be more specific, it should have social network links that can be easily remembered. From the twitter account, to the Facebook page, that LinkedIn profile to maybe a Google Plus Author profile, all the important social handles should be present.

This not only to make you look more “connected”, but it also helps people easily see where you are and eventually interact with you in a quicker manner through online social media space. Any businessperson with at least one of these social media links will usually be considered a bit backward and you will not get any additional business leads because of it.

4. Hi-Tech Catalogs or Brochures

It is never a bad idea to always have a catalog or brochure in your file case. Beyond just paper prints though, you may want to use Hi-Tech Catalogs and Brochures. You may of course have online catalogs, but a printed catalog and brochure can also be a very powerful networking tool. Why? Because you can already show people a feature of your products and services at a moment’s glance. No firing up the tablet or connecting to the internet and loading pages. It is ready and can be given to people which of course they can keep.

The only thing you have to worry about is the Hi-tech part of these prints. No, we are not using NFC chips here (though it is possible). The best way here is to use QR codes. These are graphics that can be scanned by smart phones via a QR code reader App. Akin to a bar code, QR codes can be scanned and a URL or a link will be sent to the phone. This will then direct the person’s phone to a webpage.

Now that webpage (optimized for mobile) can have a landing page, an image, a video or even a coupon code. This gives the print catalog an extra digital dimension as people can scan and see more information simply by scanning the code. Some magazines and catalogs have found success in it.  Whatever the case,  catalogs and brochures with QR codes can help you network easily with the quickness by which you can showcase your products.

5. Hi-tech Freebies and Data (USB Drives)

Finally, you can never go wrong with freebies. People always remember something free that they from you, and of course by consequence remember you as well. There has been some talk about “flash drive” marketing, and the premise is that flash drives are perceived with a bit of a high value due to it being technically a support gadget for computer users (which is most of us).

The premise is that USB flashdrives are now very cheap to make. Add some customization and you already can create a useful marketing freebie that people almost always like. Whatever the case, giving out hi-tech freebies like USB drives give you an extra marketing edge, ensuring that you do get remembered, adding that open opportunity for more business in the future.

Great! So before you go ahead and do networking, make sure you have some of these business networking tools to aid you and help you become successful in the Job.





Coca-Cola vs Pepsi: The Cola War in Vintage Ads

9 03 2013

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Pepsi or Coke? Next to Microsoft and Apple, the Coca-Cola and Pepsi rivalry is among the most legendary brand rivalries in the world. Theirs is a long-standing battle that has been going on for more than a century. Coca-Cola was first introduced in 1886 and Pepsi some 12 years later. Since then these two cola companies have been slinging mud at each other.

Often, the fight involved billions of advertising dollars spent in offering incentives that will coax people into buying their cola over the other. Money is not an issue to them as long as they get the top spot in the Cola industry.

There’s a lesson to learn, though, from this war. For a start, Coca-Cola and Pepsi set the stage in shifting design trends. For instance, from elaborate logo and print ads, both companies saw the beauty of simplification. They stripped their brands and magnified it to the core image they want people to see of their product. This is a trend widely use in the graphic design industry today.

Also, creativity is promoted. Advertisers have to put all their creativity on the table to develop ads that will turn heads and push people to buy. This has led to several re-branding strategies from both companies. Redefining a brand, though, is not always as easy as it seems, and both Coca-Cola and Pepsi learned that the hard way. When Coca-Cola replaced their classic Coca-Cola with a reformulated New Coke in April 1985, consumers went crazy. The company was forced to return to its classic formula and original brand just three months after the release of the New Coke. Pepsi, on the other hand, recently suffered from bad re-branding. The company spent $1 million on its latest logo design , but the result was a “real waste of time and money, especially if you’ve seen the design spec document… An amazing, purposeless document that has no brand value at all,” says Frankel.

Interesting enough, both companies have good reputation in terms of advertising. They both have colorful and thought-provoking ads, which added color to their long-standing rivalry. Even in their vintage ads one can see the heat of the competition.

Pepsi ads, 1900-1960s

1909 vintage Gibson girl tin serving tray

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1950s Pepsi ads targeted the figure-conscious, classy, upscale women.

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1960s ads were for the young generation with different values, thus the catchphrase “The Sociables prefer Pepsi”.

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1964 Pepsi ad carried the slogan “You’re in the Pepsi generation”

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Image credit: http://www.retronaut.com/retronaut-cat/ads-and-brands-rtc/; http://www.adbranch.com/timeframe/1900_1930/?brand=pepsi

 

Coca-Cola ads, 1900-1980s

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Image credit: http://www.beautifullife.info/advertisment/history-of-coca-cola-in-ads/

 

There’s no clear indication that the Cola war is ending. To consumers this is a great advantage as price war will continue which will force both companies to reduce their prices and improve their products. To the advertising industry this is also great news as designers and business owners can pick up important lessons in branding and advertising strategies. We can, thus, expect Pepsi and Coca-Cola to battle each other in the years to come.

 






What Women and Design have in Common

3 03 2013

 

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Women are fickle creatures, say researchers from Exeter University. By nature, they are more indecisive than men. John Gray, the author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus even describes women like a wave. According to him, a woman’s self-esteem rises and falls like a wave. One minute she feels good and her wave reaches sky-high and the next she changes her mood and her wave crashes down. This is the very reason why men are often regarded as more consistent in personality than women.

However, though often type casted as unpredictable, there are few things designers (web or print) can learn from women. There’s something in a woman’s fickleness that can prove to be valuable when it comes to designing. Here are some of these valuable women traits that can be emulated in design:

 

  1. It’s good to be the oddball. A woman’s mood changes are often due to her desire to be unique. 20-something single women who want to be attractive to the opposite sex are not afraid to be eccentric and unique just so they will stand out from the crowd. In designing web pages or business cards, you don’t have to always go with the flow. You can choose to break some rules so you can make your design more interesting and gripping.
  2. Focus on what you know. Though women are stereotyped as unpredictable, the one thing admirable about them is that they know and understand what they want. When they set their mind on something, th
    ey see to that it gets done right on time. The same thing should be applied in design. If you know and understand your project, the easier and faster you’ll be done with it. Just make sure you gather enough details to be effective on your project.
  3. Don’t be a diva. Women who act like a diva don’t get far, so don’t even think about being one. If you want to go far, be humble and patient. If you aren’t seeing eye to eye with your client, find something you can both agree with and start from there. Remember that you don’t want your clients’ opinion of you to crash down, so learn how to compromise with them.
  4. Contrast is highly recommended. Women may be fickle, but they are great friends. Often, they choose friends that aren’t in the same league as them—different race, nationality, hobby, etc. These differences don’t hinder their friendship rather keep them stronger together because it’s these differences that keep things interesting between them. Contrast is also important in design. If you can make full use of the right contrast in design elements (color, size, etc.), there’s a greater chance of creating materials that will leave a lasting impact on people.

Women may be much more inconsistent than men, but there are good sides to this fickleness that can result in unimaginable opportunities, especially in design. If you know how to use these women attributes in design, you’ll surely find better and more efficient ways of creating valuable materials that’ll put your message and your company in front of people.





Star Wars Business Cards: How to Network like a Jedi

25 02 2013

In a world dominated by computers, the Internet, and high-tech gadgets, you wouldn’t expect business cards to still exist. They are rapidly becoming relics of the past meant only as nice collector items. People these days would rather get your Facebook or Twitter account than be stuck with a paper business card which can get torn or lost in time.

However, there’s something sneaky in business cards that let them manage to still exist even in today’s highly digital world. They are tangible, simple, easy to access, handy and will allow you to exchange contact details with everyone especially those who aren’t present online yet. Add to that the fact that people still do ask for a printed business card in networking events these days, so it will be unwise to go out your home without your trusty cards with you.

Mary Sue posted a variety of Star Wars business cards that were created in the 1970s. These are old collector items, but there’s a thing or two that we can learn from them. Their simplicity and witty titles create captivating pieces that are sure to entice receivers to keep them. Perhaps you can include Luke Skywalker’s “Professional Hero” or C-3PO’s “Human/Cyborg Relations Specialist” in your own card to spice it up a bit. Just a thought.

Below are some of the Star Wars business cards posted in the site. Take a close look at them and one day you might come across one of them.

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This is a good example of a professional Jedi business card. It highlights Luke’s abilities including his background in moisture farming. It also describes Luke as a professional hero, something you can consider adding in your own card.

leia

Princess Leia’s card indicates her diplomatic duties as a senator, but also mentions about her ability to insult and organize rebellions.

Here are the rest of the Star Wars cards:

chewie

solo

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11 years of Oscar Winner Posters and what you can learn from them

23 02 2013

The 85th Academy is just around the corner as of this writing, we see another great set of dramatic poster designs for the nominees of best picture. While we all agree it is the story that makes a great film, the poster designs of these films gives people an idea of the dramatic value and feel. There is great care, thought and creativity that is poured into these posters so that they embody what the films represent.

In many cases, we want our own posters, be it for marketing or art to embody these same characteristics. What we usually do in these cases of course is to actually look at the best examples of those kinds of posters. So, let us take a look back through 11 years of winners for best picture and their poster designs. We will go through each and see what we can learn.

2001: A Beautiful Mind

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The poster for “A Beautiful Mind” is a very classic portrait poster. What you can see emphasized here of course is actor Russell Crowe’s face dominating the whole layout. There is some good contrast as you can see the dark left side of the poster and the brighter right side of the portrait’s face, then framing the blurred background. What we can learn here is that first the emphasis on the character of the movie which of course has the beautiful mind, and then the premise “slogan” artfully framed along with the background that reads “he saw the world in a way no one could ever imagine”. Those two factors are needed to understand the appeal and novelty of the film’s story.

2002: Chicago

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In 2002 the winner was the movie musical Chicago. It had some heavy hitting actors and actresses like Richard Gere, Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones. These actors are of course the best feature of the film and are displayed full body at the center in their attractive poses. Again here, we see the play of contrast with the dark background emphasizing the people and symbols at the middle. If you notice, we also have a triangle balance here with Gere’s head at the top and both women’s feet as the base corners.  We learn here the importance of contrast and balance as a subtle way to emphasize and guide eyes to what is important.

2003: Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King

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In 2003, the fantasy genre was finally honored in the Academy Awards with Lord of the Rings – Return of the King winning the prize for best picture. Like most adventure or fantasy posters, it is the unusual and exciting elements that are emphasized. This lead them to a more collage style design where various main characters are patch-worked into a greater whole with their action poses so that people can get a taste of what adventure the film brings.

On the artistic side, notice the division of the poster with the top left side centered on Arragorn, and the bottom right side centered on Frodo. Between them is a sweep lighter shade, whilst all around we see darker hues. Again we see the eye being lead here on the emphasis of the new main characters with the rest as side decorations. The darker bottom and side areas of course all point people to what is important.

2004: Million Dollar Baby 

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A great example of a simple but effective poster is the one for Million Dollar Baby. Winner of the 2004 Academy Awards, Million Dollar Baby’s poster sports only half body images of three main characters, with Hilary Swank of course as the one prominent in the foreground. The beauty of this is its simplicity. We just have a very dark background illuminated by the grayscale image of the actors. It is effective because it focuses solely on the actors, and of course we have Ms. Swank’s muscular shoulders as the centerpiece. The lesson here is the beauty of simplicity, contrast and of course some great shots of the human physique.

2005: Crash

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On the gritty social drama side, we have Crash and its mix of interweaved stories. In this poster we have some real raw emotion as you can see with the main actor in anguish. If you look closely at the lighting, again we see the lightest part of the poster right at his face, and the rest of the whole poster in a darker hue. We also see a splash of grunge font for the Title, helping to reinforce the “crash” theme. What we learn here easily enough again is contrast, and the role of typography in posters.

2006: The Departed

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When we come to the 2006 winner, we have The Departed with Leonardo Dicaprio. As you can see this style is very different from what we have for the first five. It is more of a typographic style, with the movie images cut in the shape of the text. This is actually an older style of poster, used in the 80’s and 90’s especially for action movies. In fact if you look at the whole theme you do get that ode to past crime drama or police drama movies. Here we see the value of going for a past or Retro style that people can relate to. Sometimes, it actually gets more attention because of the novelty of the retro style

2007: No Country For Old Men 

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The poster for No Country For Old Men is a pretty simple one but with great promise. You have a center ban that has all the lightest parts, displaying the title, and featuring the foreground character in motion. Beyond it we see the subtle and faded background of the antagonist with eyes that seem to watch you or the foreground character.

In this poster we learn the lesson of subtlety. Unlike those other posters that have collages of full visible images, you should see the value of being subtle with some elements. The background here with the faded image of the antagonist here gives us a mysterious or tense aura that gives the poster and the movie its value.

2008: Slum Dog Millionaire

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For 2008 the winner was Slumdog Millionaire, and as you can see from the poster, it was a “feel good movie”. In fact it was a great film and it shows both the gritty side of Indian slums along with some of the best sites the country has to offer. When we do look at this movie’s poster you will see that it is actually a pretty standard poster actually.

What we can learn from this poster is the concept of color combinations and balance. Since the movie has a more family and feel good message to it, they opted for a lighter background with quaint yellow, orange and pink colors. These colors fit well with the white, and adds the lightened mood for the film. So remember how colors convey those feelings as that is a big factor in poster design.

2009:  The Hurt Locker

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The Hurt Locker poster has a lot of interesting things going on. Right off the bat, notice that the edges of the whole poster have a slightly darker hue than the center, bringing the eyes in. Then we have the contrasts in color. The white sand contrasts with the darker prominent figure of the protagonist at the center. We then have the red colored title contrasting with the more monochrome white and darker hues of the other poster elements. 

Finally we have the grunge texture for the text, to imply the gritty nature of the source material. So we see here light-dark emphasis, color contrasting and typographical elements all helping to shift your eyes to the right place and that is the dramatic and tense nature of the film.

2010: The King’s Speech

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The King’s speech poster is definitely a classic case of symmetry. While it is “been done” already so many times, there is no denying the innate beauty of a purely symmetrical and balanced poster designs. As you cans see here we have two men on each sides of the poster (Mr. Firth and Mr. Rush).  We then have the statue at the background lining out the center of the design.  On the center we encounter the concept of framing where both the title and the reviews are framed by the window and the two men as well. Take note also that the color theme is a washed out blue and white, but the yellow stars and title elements bring out some contrast.

2011: The Artist

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Finally we have “The Artist” poster. It has a lot of the same styles as the Million Dollar Baby poster. We see here the wise use of black and white, where the lighter whiter side is the main focus.  The black and white color palette of course reinforces the setting of the film itself as it is styled on old black and white dated films. We then have just one striking contrast at the center where the red “THE” is, helping you focus on the title of the movie itself.  It is simple, easy to understand and totally effective.

So what have we Learned?

After seeing all those movie posters, we have already encountered a lot of useful concepts for creating great looking color posters. Here is the summary of all the best tips and tricks that we can learn from them.

  • Light and Dark emphasis – In a lot of these posters, we saw how lighter and darker areas of the poster gave readers focus, leading the eye to where the main feature of the design is. This is a simple classic technique and can be done with filters or just some darkening or “burning” of the edges or areas that need de-emphasis.
  • Color Contrasts – Also a great trick is to use color contrasts. Bland color backgrounds with contrasting vivid colors help titles and primary design elements pop out. Being aware of the right color harmonies of course is important, but the contrast concept helps make that intense message get seen.
  • Balance and Symmetry – This one is a classic and is still used a lot in design. Have the right balance of elements in the poster layout helps make it look more aesthetically pleasing. Symmetry is beauty in its own way and one can hardly go wrong with the right balanced elements top, bottom, left and right.
  • Framing – The style of placing some key elements in a frame directly or with subtlety helps also bring important things into focus, and sometimes makes for a nice way to balance elements out.
  • Typography – The typography of the poster title we all saw has a big impact on how people will perceive the movie, and your own posters will benefit from matching styled fonts depending on your theme.
  • Retro/Vintage – The retro style or vintage style has its charms today, and people do appreciate a style that comes from an interesting cultural era. It has that novelty factor that people will be curious about.
  • Subtlety – Finally, we have the concept of subtlety. Some of the posters add subtle but meaningful backgrounds that add extra detail and meaning to the poster. We get a better understanding and feel the right emotion and theme of the poster when these additional subtle elements are added.

With that learned, you should at least know most of the best tricks that those Oscar Winners and their posters designs use for their marketing art. If you can combine many of the tricks above, your posters should be in line with the professionals. Just make sure to use a reliable poster printer such as printplace.com and choose the right high quality paper materials to get the best effect. The more you combine all these great methods, the easier it would be to get award-worthy posters.








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