Friday, January 21, 2011

In the News

Who Said We Are Rational?
An obesity crisis is upon us and the solutions have proven to be stubborn. The most popular government policy proposals have been rooted in the assumption that humans will make self-interested choices in the face of well-designed incentives. That is to say, that we’ll be rational. Selectively imposed taxes, nutritional labeling, and improved access to fresh produce are just three ways that Federal and state governments have—through faith in reason—worked to lure our palates away from the excessive consumption of junk food. By no means have all these efforts failed, but 68 percent of Americans are still overweight or obese. This figure shows no sign of retreat.

Arrest your Audience
No, not with handcuffs and a badge, but with simple, compelling images—the critical first step en route to engagement. The most well-crafted message will go to waste unless the audience is delayed long enough to at least consider one key selling point. The image of an elephant riding a wave on a surfboard is as preposterous as a flying pig. Yet we never fail to notice these exercises in creativity.

Gold Vending Machines Land In Las Vegas
Another unique and creative venture is the installment of gold vending machines in Las Vegas. At JCK 2010, the jewelry industry’s premiere trade event, the Hon group from Seoul, South Korea, introduced the Gold Rush Kiosk. The Kiosk is a 42-inch touch screen machine that lets customers purchase solid 24K gold bar cards of their preferred weight and size using cash or credit card. Bars are available in six weights, 0.5g/ 1.0g/ 2.0g/ 3.0g/ 5.0g/ 10.0g and will be available for purchase inside of Las Vegas Hotels, casinos, cruise lines, airports, malls, department stores and jewelry stores. Customers can select and alter the design on the card and also create personalized messages and the kiosk comes equipped with a shipping function. Prices for the gold bar cards vary with the global market price of gold. The Hon Group hopes to repeat the successes of this unique idea here as they did in South Korea.

A Unique Brand Opportunity
What if I told you about a platform even less cluttered by brands than the iPad’s section of the App Store and that is selling units at 160,000 a day -- more than four times as fast as the iPad...would you be interested in its future? You’d be super excited, right? Well marketers, meet Android. Google has really done an amazing job with Android. When it was first released, it was a pretty poor comparison to the iPhone. In a little under two years from launch, it’s become a very serious competitor to Apple. Despite its commercial success in the market (HTC saw a 63 percent increase in sales from Q2 2009 to Q2 2010), marketers have been slow to embrace the platform. Right now, Android’s Market is about as vacant of brand presence as the App Store was a year and a half ago. Note to marketers: Avoid the competition and get in now, while the gettin’ is good.

Computer viruses that steal identities are nothing new. But 2010 introduced the world to something potentially far more dangerous: Stuxnet. Stuxnet is the world’s first publicly known cybersuperweapon— a computer program that is able to cross the digital divide and destroy a real-world target. The first target? An Iranian nuclear facilities. But future variants could be used to hammer US critical infrastructure, too, the Congressional Research Service warned in December. Stuxnet was designed to control and destroy industrial control systems and could be activated by merely plugging a thumb drive loaded with the weapon into the target’s computer system. It "threatens to cause harm to many activities deemed critical to the basic functioning of modern society," the Congressional Reseach Service reported Dec. 9.


  1. I think the gold vending machine story is very interesting.

  2. Thanks! New articles coming soon!