Not everyone sees the light on dark social.

Brands are only just beginning to dip their proverbial toes into the anonymous realm known as “dark social.” Apps like Secret and Whisper haven’t created ads (yet), but newcomer Anomo has already rolled out native offerings, and brands are starting to jump on board.

Is “dark social” just a blip, or is it a new frontier that brands should be capitalizing on? Our own Harley Block (svp, brand development + marketing) thinks that it’s only a matter of scale until these new “anonymous” channels become part of the marketing mix.

Read more over at Adweek.


Can the new Foursquare take on Yelp?

Foursquare’s move to a dual-app system with Swarm has raised many skeptic’s eyebrows, but the tech company is doing something pretty novel with the new data streams the tandem apps now produce.

Swarm’s check-in data is now being synced with Foursquare’s combination of search/discovery and GPS-based recommendations to more specifically target ads. Theoretically, information from the apps will make each others’ ads smarter. With this new trove of data, Foursquare’s basically gearing up to take on the  hyper-local reviews and recommendation space, a la Yelp. So, what does this mean for brands looking to partner with Foursquare?

They’d have a smorgasbord of data, from users’ “tastes” and lists, to their actual physical location (are they in your store?) and more. However, cautions Harley Block (svp, brand development + marketing), Foursquare has yet to prove how deep they can mine this data without coming across as “creepy” or invading the privacy of its users.

Read more over at Adweek.

Should brands be able to delete negative comments on ads?

As social platforms—notably Facebook and Twitter—continue evolving from organic communities into paid media channels, they’ve begun offering native ‘promoted posts,’ promising increased engagement and reach. However, promoted posts can often be a double-edged sword due to an intrinsic social media functionality: comments on ads.

Naturally, this often backfires on brands, in big, very public ways. Haters gonna hate. So, should brands continue to pay for (potentially) negative press? There are two opposing camps on this:

  • Some think that brands shouldn’t have to pay for negative backlashes, and so, should be able to shut off comments on ads or, at least moderate them.
  • Others completely disagree, and think that if a brand is using native advertising, they should accept the risk that comes with posting any other piece of content; comments are a basic part of a free and open web.

Who’s right? And, what about native ads on platforms like Instagram, or how brands can avoid feeding Internet trolls? Rokkan’s Harley Block (svp, brand development + marketing) digs deeper over at Digiday.

The future of connected devices: SoDA Talk

Our own Brian Carley (SVP, Executive Creative Director) spoke at the Society of Digital Agencies talk on “Connected Devices” at the Art Director’s Club gallery.

Joining co-panelists Michael Lebowitz (Big Spaceship), Christian Cantrell (Adobe), and Gavin Becker (MediaMonks) for a boozy thought leadership brunch, Brian dived right in to discussing the challenges and exciting future of “The Internet of Things.”

The rise of iBeacons and Nike’s dropping out of the wearables game have both spurred debates on the fundamental use of location-based marketing, NFC and Bluetooth technologies. Brian talked about how can capitalize on these innovative technologies in unique ways, while still respecting consumer’s privacy, and not coming off as intrusive or creepy.

From handballs that teach kids, toothbrushes that tell you how well you brushed your teeth, and the recent deluge of “wearables,” the spectrum of connected devices hitting the market has exploded, with wins and WTFs on all sides.

"Connected devices get really interesting when people have to do nothing to use them." - Brian Carley

However, fundamental crux that the panel arrived at was this: the future of connected devices is moot unless software and hardware developers and engineers work together to create products with real value. Ensuring a strong positive impact on people’s lives—giving them a tool that is easy, relevant, and useful—is the first step. Working with a brand who isn’t afraid to innovate is the next.

The talk closed out with a lightning round of SoDA’s trademark “fishbowl” speakers, where a few audience members, from students to industry veterans were encouraged to come up and join the panel to share their own points of view, creating an interactive, candid conversation.

Read more about the SoDA Connected Devices event.


How are healthcare marketing plans changing?

In our latest work with Wellpoint, Rokan helped create the “Real Health” initiative. We collaborated with real people, and let them tell their personal stories about how health plays into their daily lives.

How have WellPoint and other health insurers had to shift their marketing strategies surrounding the Affordable Care Act?  Read more in Advertising Age.

What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever gotten?

If you’re fortunate, along the way you’ll find that person a few years further along in their careers than you who can be the Kenobi to your Padawan. However, not all career advice is created equal.

Brian Carley (SVP, Executive Creative Director) talks about the worst career advice he’s ever gotten over in Digiday.

Mobile Security: Fingerprints vs. Facial Recognition

With the rollout of fingerprint security to the masses with the iPhone 5S, and Facebook and L’Oreal firmly sitting on Team Facial Recognition, which security measure will win out, in 2014? As privacy and security are now more important than ever, Zach Newcomb (SVP Client Partnership + Strategy) explains how fingerprinting will become the go-to security method for product development in the New Year.

Read more in Mobile Marketer.

Will Facebook’s Mobile Ad Success Be Their Undoing?

As Facebook continues to evolve far from its roots as a social network for college students, how will they continue to keep people engaged with the platform? Will new features like mobile ads and auto-playing video ads drive users away? Jordan Schenck (Senior Strategist), cautions balance and premium content, among other tactics, to warm users up to Facebook’s new role as social publisher, on top of a peer-to-peer networking site.

Read more at Mobile Marketer.