Smoke Signals

May 17th, 2012

Welcome to the Tribal DDB weekly Smoke Signals trend report, news from the frontier of digital marketing. We’ve scoured the net to bring you the hottest stories in the digital, media, and marketing space. Have any thoughts on any of these stories? We want to hear what you think!

Click here for the PDF version of this weekly report.

In this issue:
My Offers by American Express
ZeroN

My Offers by American Express

Earlier this week, American Express updated its iPhone app with the My Offers feature.

Still in the pilot phase, My Offers provides local, targeted merchant offers to cardholders in New York and Los Angeles. The service is updated in real time and recommendations are catered to each cardholder based on their spend graph (which pulls in details such as their transaction history and location). Several nationwide offers are also available through partners that include Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin’ Donuts. To access and track nearby deals, cardholders may reference their My Offers dashboard — and to redeem them, simply use their credit card. According to American Express, the resulting savings are delivered as a statement credit.

This is not the first time that AmEx has attempted to reach its customers through smart phone technology; in addition to its utility-based mobile app, the company partnered with popular location-based mobile service Foursquare in 2011 to provide cardholders with discounts and local merchant offers that were accessible when the user checked in to specific venues (source).

Like Foursquare, businesses may also create, manage, and monitor social and mobile offers on My Offers to targeted US cardholders through AmEx’s free Go Social program.

Implications: Because My Offers enables hyper targeting using cardholders’ spending habits and location (it even allows for loyalty-based offers for repeat customers), it is quite a stark contrast to other online coupon initiatives such as Groupon Now – which focuses on a more blanket strategy.

ZeroN

Creative offline initiatives frequently incorporate digital interaction through sensor-tracking tools such as the Kinect (e.g. Starfield, which used Kinect to create this interactive galaxy of stars with the assistance of a video projector, swing, and openFrameworks).

In the same vein – but on a much more sophisticated level of technology – comes ZeroN. ZeroN is a system that was developed at the MIT Media Lab by Jinha Lee, a Ph.D. student and research assistant. After working on the concept and execution for almost two years, Lee has put forth a “physical and digital interaction element that floats and moves in space by computer-controlled magnetic levitation.”

Implications: The system allows for tangible interaction between modalities which are usually confined to 2D surfaces, so that they are able to levitate mid-air and be controlled by both computers and the human touch. According to Lee’s 2011 thesis, ZeroN also combines optical tracking and image projection on to the levitating object — allowing users to use the system in a game of ping pong just as easily as they would to film an intricate virtual rendering.

Please contact Kumiko.Ide@radarddb.com for more information.

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