Future Now: Reality Augmented Through Mobile Phone

This is the future of mobile search and augmented reality as imagined by a Tokyo designer and published in February 2008.

And this is a video of an Android phone running Wikitude that checks your geo coordinates and tells you what it is you are looking at.
-- via Erwin van Lun

Flash Game Accessible to the Blind

Flyzzz is one of the four Flash games that accompany beautiful TV spots for Leonard Cheshire Disability. Flyzzz can be played by the ear -- you help the chamelion catch flies when they are buzzing right above him.

Color-Blind Image Simulation
Advertising for the Color-Blind
Tool: How Color Blind People See Text
Advertising in Braille
The Robotic Shopping Assistant
Playboy in Braille

41 Commercials In One Music Video

How many of the 41 commercials mashed up into one music video can you recognize? How many brands can you name?
-- thanks, Roni

Advertising Lab Turns Four

It is amidst cries announcing the death of blogging that AdLab celebrates its fourth birthday this week (the official DOB is November 12; we are late to our own party). Thank you for reading AdLab over the past year, bookmarking it, sending it to friends, adding it to blogrolls, and writing back.

Traditionally, some numbers:
  • Total page views: ~1,909,881 (up from 1,362,218 in AdLab's third year, up from ~580,232 the year before, and ~130,000 on its first birthday)
  • Total RSS readers: ~11,000 (up from ~3,900 in Y3, ~1,200 in Y2 and ~200 in Y1)
  • Posts served this year: 362, to the total of 2,312. It's only half the previous year's volume (700, total of 1950 by Y3).
  • AdSense revenues also halved, which can attributed to the last year's redesign. On the other hand, Balihoo's sponsorship this year kept the blog in the relative green (thank you!).
So, I've gone easy on posting stuff this year, and there are a couple of reasons. One is that there's less blogging time now that my family has grown 50%. More importantly, blogging is tough once you've been on the same beat for some time. I'm sort of running out of novelty stuff like Holopops, and ads on butts are exciting only the first three times even if they may well be the future of advertising.

While I'm considering other options, why don't you shoot an email or leave a comment if there's a topic you'd like to see covered here in the next year?

Advertising Lab
- Turns Three
- Turns Two
- Turns One

Tutti Frutti

- Juhll is the company of Jennifer Uhll, the former creative director at Lower My Bills who ushered in a new style of banner-making (NYT had the story a couple of years ago). Adverlicio.us has an entire gallery.

- What Kind of Blogger Are You? (The tool is kind of like those generic heartwarming zodiac readings that feel oh so personalized.)

- Dissecting Influence is a newly discovered blog that focuses on what's going on inside your (your!) head.

- Why. So. Serious. (in Heath Ledger's voice): "I'm not sure if this is supposed to be some sick, Brazil-inspired joke, but the "thought leaders" at Ad Labs raided the Half Bakery to come up with ten "half-baked" advertising ideas that they hope to see in the future. Ad Labs calls them "brilliant"; I call them scary, and not good scary."

- Make any photo a Polaroid photo with Poladroid.

- iPhone apps that never passed through the gates of iHeaven.

- Google classifieds search in Russia (in Russian).

Flogos: Foam Clouds Shaped Like Logos

Via our reader Flummox comes the word of Flogos, a company that makes machines that make clouds shaped like corporate logos. The clouds are made from "proprietary surfactant (soap) based foam formulations and lighter-than-air gases such as helium." Some videos to illustrate: Nintendo's Kirby (below) and a bunch of other samples (on Flogos' site).

Dr. Pepper Owes You a Can of Soda

Remember how in March Dr. Pepper promised everyone in the States a can of Dr. Pepper if Guns'n'Roses released its "Chinese Democracy" album in 2008? Well, guess what, the album is coming out on Thursday, and now it's time to pay up. To its credit, Dr. Pepper is doing just that.

Ten Half-Baked Advertising Ideas

Today, we are raiding Half Bakery for a glimpse of the improbable advertising future. Put your sunglasses on; the brilliance of these ideas is blinding.

1. Advertishoes. "Replace the soles of your shoes with soft rubber, impregnated with chalk or ink, that squashes out onto the ground as you put your foot down. Similar to a self-inking rubber stamp."

2. Get to the airport luggage screeners with X-ray-visible ads: "If two ads are printed on the same page in a magazine, but one is printed with large letters in radiopaque white ink, then the white-on-white ad will only be visible if the magazine is in carry-on luggage viewed by x-ray techs at airport inspection stations."

3. Ads on status bars (also independently described by AdLab):  "Put scrolling text messages in progress bars, and make some money on the side."

4. Skyscrapers as smoke jet printers:  "Except instead of ink being shot on to a page of paper it shoots smoke up in to the air. The print head is mounted on top of a high rise building, and instead of the print head moving it relies on wind to move the 'paper' to the side."

5. Rainbow advertising: "Using refraction and rainbow technology, it should be possible to advertise right on airborne drops of moisture. Simply vary the color makeup of your light source."

6. Books printed in sponsored typeface:  "Free classic books reprinted typeset in a font that has McDonald's M's and Special K's and so forth."

7. Ads on fake phone numbers in the movies: "Whenever they use a telephone in the movies, they always use a 555 number. I guess they do that so people won't go home and try to call. Wait a minute. Why not encourage them to call. Talk about a captive audience..."

8. Logo clouds: "Create large lakes in the shape of corporate logos. When the sun shines on them (on a windless day) logo-shaped clouds will appear above them. Note that it might be cheaper to change your company's logo to the shape of an existing lake."

9. Lonely?  Invite telemarketers in your life with a "Please Call Me" list:  "Maybe the local resteraunts could call you around lunch-time and tell you what kinds of specials they have, just so you don't have to go sit down to find that out."

10. Spitball billboards: " This display uses a computer aimed pneumatic spitball cannon which "paints" a picture out of colored spitballs. The display can be wiped clear with a water hose, so the next image can be painted."

Event: Futures of Entertainment at MIT, Nov 21-22

Judging by the speakers list for this year's FoE @ MIT -- a cyborg anthropologist, production designer of Watchmen, producer of Blair Witch Project,  director of interactive marketing at WWE, Peter Kim, Grant McCracken -- it looks like it's going to be fun.  Registration closed on Tuesday, Nov 18, so hurry.  Check out video and audio recordings of the last year's event, and the year before that.

Embed This Banner

Another step towards bookmarkable advertising: this Adobe banner came with an embed code, like your friendly neighborhood YouTube video. It's a somewhat lousy execution of an idea based on an interesting insight -- there's a small percentage of people that would not only click on your ad, but would also show it to other people.  Bummer, though: the ad links to a pdf file that pops an error. Plus, I wish this "embedebleness" came with some sort of revenue share.

The banner links directly to a pdf that doesn't display on older versions of Acrobat Reader.

The Adobe banner on Techcrunch.

Gift Cards As Speaker, Camera

One of Target's gift cards this year is a 1.2MP digital camera (via).

BestBuy's cards have a little speaker and a 3.5mm jack that you can plug into your iPod. (via )

Advertising in Calendars

Not like Pirelli Calendars (wiki), but still pretty cool, in a geeky kind of way. Calgoo: "a permission-based marketing medium that uses the electronic calendar as the delivery channel."  In other words, your ad messages in other people's Outlooks and iCals via a dynamic calendar feed. See the demo to understand how everything works.

Bookmarkable Banners with Reminders from Spongecell

AdLab's Inbox: Claymation, Widgets, and NASDAQ

Letters to the editor from the past few weeks. Keep'em coming.

-- An Orange America: an abstract visualization of the aggregate conversation on Twitter showing frequency and context of election-related words. Simon, one of the creators (together with JESS3), writes:

"To make it work, we take a sample from Twitter every 30 seconds and analyze them in 50-result batches for associations and term matches. They accumulate for 5 minutes and then we flush sample aggregates to the database. So the database has samples from when it started through present in 5-minute granularity. As new terms trend, they begin to populate on the X-axis. The system back end will be implemented using a Java-based stack and PostgreSQL RDBMS. The presentation will be implemented using Flash targeted to Player 9, standards-compliant XHTML/CSS targeted to modern browser versions with significant market share (Safari 2+, Firefox 2+, IE 6+)."

-- Scientific American: Does Consumerism Make Us Crazy? (No.) -- from Micah

-- Media Tools for Creative Professionals

-- Reader Lena from Russia has a question. Do you know of any now-common English words that were minted by the ad industry in the past? Or, in her own words, "I'm looking for - words that were created especially for advertising and PR, brand-names, etc. They may be quite common nowadays, but I really need to know what words appeared thanks to advertising."

-- Widget strategies

-- A beautifully illustrated report from Razorfish. Tip: print the report to pdf; will be easier to read. Oh, and this: "Razorfish is strengthening its brand by choosing one of the most memorable and iconic names in the digital world. After extensive brand awareness research, we determined that the name Razorfish already enjoys powerful brand equity and best represents our evolution into the global agency of the future, which taps into the immersive and social nature of digital."

-- CellForce claims to have "the world's largest consumer database of U.S. cell phone users and email addresses", but since there was no URL in the press release, there won't be any here.

-- NASDAQ sells ad space on its website. NYSE apparently doesn't.

-- Here's a company that creates video claymation tutorials - Claytorial.

-- Roberto asks: "I would like to know if you could put a link to our web page." Sure. Here's a link to the site of a company that "offers the Bentley´s of Billboards."

Elections Through Gamers' Eyes

See larger. Credit.

CNN "Hologram" and Other Studio Gadgetry

Wired runs an overview of the heavy gadgetry trotted out by networks during last night's elections coverage. The CNN's "hologram" was not a hologram at all, unfortunately, but we have to admit that this "via hologram" sounds pretty awesome. Here's a similar effect of "telepresence" as demonstrated by Cisco.

MSNBC's 3D set-up from Brainstorm was pretty cool, too.

Loved the virtual capitol on CNN:  "The "virtual Capitol" is newer, and so perhaps cooler. I'm standing in the studio looking at an empty desk, and glance up at a monitor and see how a full model of the Capitol building has somehow been dropped on top of that desk (which is still empty). Then you can open the top of the Capitol (don't try this at home) and see how the seats are being won and lost as the night goes on." (source )

Video of the virtual capitol.