Fog of World: Turning your travel into a game

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Usually people travel with smartphone aims to check locations or search the route. However, there is an app completes your travel experience more than those functions.

Two Taiwanese developers came up the idea about an app remembering everywhere users have been in their whole life journey and tuning the experience into a game. That is, an app documentaries the route where you have been. My college classmate from Taiwan visited me last Friday. When she arrived in Seattle, she could not wait to open the app “Fog of World” excitedly. The concept of this app is about imagining a world covered in fog which is not completely and totally explored yet. The app keeps on track while users exploring new place. As they go to new places, the map gets clearer. It sounds like the GPS on your mobile device but more than current navigation. In fact, there are a number of apps that show you where you went on a given day or trip.

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“Fog of World” changes the user experience. The unique point is turns the documentation into a game. It uses the similar idea from games like covering an opponent ’s alignment until users get in range and applies it to the real world. The entire globe is covered in fog, and users slowly uncover it as they traveling with their smartphone. The interface is neat to see users’ path etched into the fog, and the app takes it a step further with achievements and percentage trackers as you keep uncovering fog. Users can also import the tracking as files through iTunes and Dropbox, sync and backup exploration data through Dropbox account.

Some users consider it would be more attractive if this app has more functions. They expect it integrates with Foursquare and has geotag access from photos or being able to leave message and interacts with other travelers. On the other hand, some users think more function make this app more complicities and lose the original features. No matter what, the app definitely makes traveling experience much fun and motivated.

Right now the app is mainly promoted by social media. There are 50% official website visitors from Twitter. Usually if developers are not well-known, it would be hard for them to get advertisements or cooperation in the beginning. For “Fog of World” developers, they do not worry too much about that. They believe that a fun app is able to create conversation and makes users want to share is already a successful begin.

Posted in Mobile Media Observation | 3 Comments

LINE: A Mobile Platform for Everything

First week I had a brief introduction of my three messaging Apps, Whatsapp, LINE and WeChat. LINE is the App users can make free voice calls and send free messages. I have been paying attention on LINE’s developments because it provides unique and interesting approaches. Right now NHN Japan ‘s strategy for LINE is building a platform for games, music, books, news, and social networking. Apparently, LINE positioned itself as a mobile platform for everything. NHN Japan Corporation has grown its free LINE application into one of the world’s most talked-about apps. Is it going to be a mobile version of Facebook?

Compared with Facebook, LINE concentrates on the need of mobile users and enables them to connect with each other anytime and every time. The biggest difference from Facebook is the design of LINE all focusing on the mobile users in mind. NHN Japan says that LINE’s strategy is focused on growth rather than profit. I consider their business goal is like the beginning of Amazon, the priority is attracting users rely on their platform

Compared to other messaging apps strategies, one thing unique to LINE is their service surrounded by animate characters and other stickers. The stickers are known for its cute and oversized animated chat emoticons  Characters like Moon, Brown, Cony and James have swept the Japanese and Taiwanese market. Users can include the stickers in their chat messages, pictures and also social games. According to techcrunch.com, NHN hasn’t released recent numbers on the app’s financial performance, but in July, consumers spend $3.75 million per month in sticker sales.

Since the Line animated characters become the money tree, LINE even made online animation and real spin-off products keep attracting users. 

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Another example is “LINE POP”, an official mobile game made up by LINE animated characters. The simple game aims to get rid of blocks with abundant characters’ expressions. Users can even play with their LINE friends and receive the hearts needed to play and compete for higher rankings.

manga

LINE keeps extending the potential of mobile services such as “LINE manga”, which collaborates with more than 50 Japanese publishers as e-comic book reading services. Users can read almost 30,000 comic books throughLINE and download stickers from the comic book characters. Furthermore, they can recommend comic books to their LINE friends. I consider this service not only strengthens LINE’s social networking also bring a new wind to Japanese printed publishers.

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IKEA Interactive Catalog App with Augmented Reality Brings the Pages to Real Life


Before what I heard Augmented Reality applied to mobile are almost about one-time marketing campaigns. The innovative and realistic playing experience attracts customer’s attention and brings the brand awareness. However, I wonder if there is more useful function can bring to customer’s real life. After searching, I found the IKEA catalog App. IKEA’s printed catalog with a great display of smart, innovative and stylish design furniture at affordable prices always brings me very enjoyable reading experience. Released on 2012, IKEA Interactive catalog App let you find some extra information moving your smartphone around the relevant page by scanning the catalog and experiencing more. I consider this app is a head-first dive into image recognition featuring augmented reality.

IKEA

Here is the update introduction of IKEA catalog App function on Google play, “By scanning selected pages in the printed catalogue you will be able to access additional images, films, and 3D models. Just look for the pages in the printed IKEA Catalogue 2013 that have the smart phone icon on the top right corner. Note that you need to scan the whole page, the symbol itself is not enough to recognize a page and get the extra content.”

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Every Augmented Reality varies by different effects. For example, the app shows a video displaying how soft the bed you selected is, or takes a look at closet or bookshelf from varied perspectives. Besides, users can even take a picture of their home and drag the IKEA furniture into the photo to see if it is a good fit and share the pictures to others. “A lot digital stuff becomes very interesting when you mash it up with the tangible items of the real world,” said Andreas Dahlqvist, Global Deputy Chief Creative Officer of McCann, the creative agency behind the IKEA catalog App.

My friend who used to scan the printed IKEA catalog in 5 to 10 minutes now play around the functions in an hour and strengthens the desire to buy the products.

Overall, the App is a breath of fresh air for me though it could be better for some improvements. First, it ran out of my storage space easily. The app itself is 14MB. Browsing the catalog takes another 53 MB of data. Not mentioned there is another kitchen catalog also takes space. Second, this app is slow-loading. My phone is crashed and being forced to close almost every time. If the developers can fix those problems, I am sure it will get more popular. This app is definitely a nice move for the possibility of catalog. I consider right now lots of printed magazines and catalogs have electronic version but it still stays the one-way communication step lacking of interaction.

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Battle of Messaging Apps

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Messaging apps with varieties of features beyond text messaging are emerging as popular social networks among people around the world. For me, I have three messaging apps in my Smartphone which are Whatsapp, Line and Wechat since 2011. Whatsapp used to be the leading messaging application. It’s simple and easy to use as a new beginner. In Taiwan, unlimited text message plan compared to data plan is not very popular and economic so Whatsapp, as a free messaging app, turned out to occupy the market. But these years I stopped using Whatsapp since there hasn’t any innovation compared to other messaging apps. Besides, most of my Taiwanese and international friends moved to other messaging apps. I consider it is a good chance to reflect those messaging apps and make a general comparison of features and popularization.

Line

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Line has been available in Taiwan since August 2012. It is made by Naver Japan and known for its cute and oversized animated chat emotions. Characters like Moon, Brown, Cony and James have swept the Japanese and Taiwanese market no matter online or offline. Obviously, their strategy is targeting on Female’s market. Recently it has formally launched media campaigns employing celebrity spokespersons in Taiwan. Those big-budget integrated media campaigns are trying to create more awareness. In addition to the aesthetic design, LINE has advantage allowing you to reply to messages by installing a PC or Mac OS program, providing users registering number with an email account and making free online calling.

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WeChat is the most popular messaging apps in China and definitely as LINE’s top competitor in Asian market. Recently they also have launched mobile campaign and employed celebrity as spokespersons in Taiwan’s market. This social app gathers all of your sharing and communication tools in one place, including video calls, text messages, and images. WeChat is well-known for some innovative social features like letting users look around for other WeChat users to chat with, or browse their own contacts by shaking their phone. If users are concerned about personal privacy, there are ample settings menus for updating WeChat profile and adjusting privacy settings. One function called Drift bottle, I personally am not interested in but apparently it is a fresh way to make new friends randomly. When users select “Throw” to send out voice or text message, they wait and see if anyone picks up their bottle and replies for further relationship. Users can also choose to reply for it or throw it back to the sea.

According to statista.com, LINE has 120 million users and Tencent, a Chinese investment holding company, announced that the total number of WeChat users had reached 300 million, including over 10 million overseas users. Whatsapp, LINE, WeChat all have simple interfaces and group chat functions. I believe different users from business professionals to teenage might value differently using the messaging apps such as battery draining, social networking and quality of free online calling. Challenges for LINE and WeChat dominating markets might be ensuring a high percentage of monthly active users and identifying revenue streams in their platforms. Since this two messaging apps are free, I am interested in how they truly find returns on their investment and will continue to introduce it in the following posts.

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Ironic Marketing Humor

You just can’t decide if it is cool to like or dislike.
In this anti-anti-cool, counter-counter-culture or be-rich-but-appear-poor:
it is the ironic marketing humor.

This online video adopts an ironic way to deal with product placement and it turns out to be a viral video in China. Users enjoy it and cannot stop sharing it.

Background

Home Aegis is an innovative brand of cleaning products based in Shanghai, China. Their core products are washer tank cleaners and air conditioning disinfectant. The products aim to solve family’s slot pollution of washing machine and heat sink pollution of air conditioning. We as consumers seldom take the initiative to concern those kinds of products. When we think about disinfectant, large and even boring information like chemical composition pops up in our mind. The company has the challenge to put effort to educate customers, stimulate the demands and let consumers take the initiative to accept and spread it.

The opposite way of product placement

Home Aegis takes advantage of the current social media trends, communicate with consumers in a form to lead great attention. The effect is consumers not only take the initiative to accept the product information but also become spreaders. More and more consumers are already tired of product placement. Home Aegis adopts in an opposite way, clumsily tell consumers “It is an advertising” and mock the cliché about roaring, elopement and love triangle. People love to be entertained. The commercials of cleaning products used to be made up with perfect family and full of clean performance. Audiences do not have the desire watching again. As a result, this irony video gets a great deal of support from the users. It is definitely one of the most talked online videos this year and even attracted many advertisers to imitate.

[Call to Action!]

From the textbook, I learn that humor in advertising is a delicate method of attracting a viewer’s attention to the client’s product. Doing so requires a little a-ha! moment. However, due to some cultural differences, humor is not an easy method to apply in Asia. Based on previous working experience at an agency, I want to explore the persuasive process from the production side. I met some proposal meeting when the creative director says, “Maybe we should try a humorous approach.” The look in a client’s eyes shows that ” There’s nothing funny about our business.” As a professional or people just interested to share, have you ever deal with the persuasive process to adopt the innovative advertisement of humor or irony? Welcome your sharing!

Posted in Online Video from China and Taiwan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

獲獎無數《不老騎士》Awards winner – Dream Rangers

What do people live for?

For missing someone?

For keep living?

For live longer?

For leaving?

Or for……

Dream

Background

The reasons of introducing this video are not only touching heart story, high hits accumulation, and also many winning awards from competition.

Recently, the most representative short videos competition in Great China area is 1st Microfilm competition as part of 21st China Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival in Beijing on December 2011.

For the first time, short online video makers have the chance to join an official film competition. The festival aims to provide a stage for young Chinese filmmakers while enriching the creativity of domestic filmmakers. Sina Corp., a Chinese online media company, hopes to attract more people to join to the movie industry and promote network between investors, producers and filmmakers.

There were total 71,766 competitors last year in the competition. Dream Rangers had four nominations, awarded best commercial microfilm, and even also won the final Grand Prix, the best videos from all the competitors.

Most of the compliments are similar: simple but profound and the background music gives audiences a fighting power!

Storyline

Five seniors average 81 years old, with cancer or heart disease, live an unhappy life. One day, they hear that one friend has passed away. The five friends frown and have awkward silence in the funeral. Suddenly, one of them yells with strong will “We should fulfill the dream of riding motorcycle around Taiwan.” They start physical training and complete thirteen-day riding around the island. In the end, the narrator asks “What do people live for?” The answer is dream.

This video is adapted from a true story of a Taiwan Seniors Foundation. Their riding adventure is filmed as documentary Go Grandriders and released in Taiwan on October 2012. Lots of audiences are deeply moved by their passion of chasing dream.

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This commercial is made by TC bank, established in Taiwan in 1992. TC bank aims to build an image that they stand together with the public with 100% caring. They would empathize the emotions from the daily life of common people.

Comments

Normally, when we think about a picture of a bank, it is just a place having transactions and other business. We don’t normally tend to connect bank to personal relationship. However, recently more bank commercial videos try to make close personal relations with customers to appeal their emotional feeling.

In this case, this video even brings emotional orchestration of self actualization. We see our dreams being filmed in the advertisement and there are others cheer for our dream.

Due to the convenience of the Internet, we are able to see many creative and excellent videos. But not many of them are able to cause resonation among audiences. So, this is an outstanding case I would like to share.

 

[Call to action!]

Does an impressive bank advertisement really influence your selection of bank? For me, I see myself as a quite rational consumer. My shopping consideration of daily products sometimes might be affected by impressive advertisements. However, for bank, I still consult with relatives and friends and choose by convenient location.

How about you? I am curious about your opinion.

Posted in Online Video from China and Taiwan | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

《80後紀念館》Post-80s Collective memories:The power of Nostalgia as a marketing strategy

Background

  • Post-80s Collective memories is made by Jianlibao, a soft drink brand from China which was established in 1984.
  • This video has accumulated 4 million hits and more than 25 pages of comments from Yuku.
  • What is Post-80s? A colloquial term which refers to the generation born between 1980 to 1989, aged from 22 to 32 in Mainland China. —wikipidia

Storyline

The new generations of kids often play i pad and smart phone as toys. They no longer crazy about traditional toys as post-80s share nowadays. Chen, a 31 year old salesman, serves at a traditional toy company. Facing the trend, the company announces the closure. Chen is depressed and decides to convene his friends to create a post 80s memorial collection displaying traditional toys. He hopes this memorial collection can save the good memories of past and encourages the post 80s. However, his friends already busy with the reality of life pressure have lack of interest in it.

Comments

Jianlibao is an old brand in China and used to be very popular. In 1990s, the Jianlibao drink was one of the best sellers in China, even had the same status with Coca-Cola and Pepsi. However, poor management and stiff competition let them get more than US$121 million debt in 2005. The company has not developed well these years so they project itself in the video. This is what marketers called a Nostalgia marketing strategy, a sentimental longing from the past with happy personal memories. It influences people’s evaluation of the advertised offer by emotion being generated from good old days.

Jianlibao hopes awaking earlier memories and creating favorable attitudes about products and the brand through this story. When consumers are stirred up by warm feelings, we could say Jianlibao brings emotional orchestration and let consumers have good first impression by the brand. I guess lots of grown-ups must be moved when Chen talks to the radio saying the lost dream and discloses some unspeakable regrets from most people.

In addition, there are two interesting features different from Deep in, the last video I introduced. Without good looking young idols and one-sided of positive evaluation, post 80s Collective memories is starred by amateur actors and has evaluations divided into extremes opinions from opposite. I read some comments from Youku, the second largest video site in the world hosting service by China and find out that some people do not appreciates the Nostalgia strategy.

“Too fake”

” Too sensational”

“This may be touching to someone but I have to admit that don’t dwell on the past! Move forward please! This ad really sucks.”

I was trying to interpret that China’s economic is transforming with high-speed development. Therefore, some people tend to go forward and being more realistic. I am also interested about people’s attitude toward Nostalgia marketing strategy in the states and find out that some people also cannot accept it.

“Nostalgia works if a population is homogeneous which goes against what’s really happening in the US today. As an immigrant, my parents don’t have the benefit of remembering the Beatles on Ed Sullivan or any other pop culture icon since then. My parents are assimilated and extremely educated but nevertheless, I have to explain the context or history of something… It’s almost like they are not “in on the joke” or similar.”

 

[Call to Action!]

For marketers, they might be careful of adopting Nostalgia as a marketing strategy. Different ages or culture seem to have unlike degree of acceptance. At least, being discussed means this commercial video is successes. Do you have different perspectives of Nostalgia as marketing strategy? Welcome your comments.

Posted in Online Video from China and Taiwan | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments