Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Your Brand Should Be in a Mobile Game

I generally prefer to write about design, but this is something that’s been front of mind lately — I do work for a mobile game studio, and we have considered working with brands, but as someone who works to promote an early-stage startup all day, I find the increasingly lucrative marketing opportunity for brands in mobile games really fascinating.

More than half of all US mobile phone users – we’re talking 125 million people, or 40% of the total US population – will be playing games on those mobile phones by the end of the 2013 (eMarketer, 2013). As you’re likely aware, those same devices dominate a large portion of minutes in the average American’s day, 150 on average. 

Thinking long term, this number looks even better – 8 out of 10 smartphone users are projected to play games on their phone by 2016. Your audience is already spending time on social and mobile gaming, immersed in an interactive experience that is in its very nature one of the most engaging digital interactions available.

The most exciting opportunity in the space, from a brand perspective, is that in-game advertising can actually enhance the player’s experience – brands can become a hero to the user by providing them value within the game environment. Creative engagement aside, more traditional advertising within gaming continues to impress in terms of performance, with over 22 times the average engagement rate of online banner ads (AdoTube, 2013). The success of social and mobile gaming campaigns is exponentially higher than other digital alternatives; marketers needs to make mobile gamers their priority.

A few creative options:

[1] Value Exchange Ads

Services: SponsorPay, Kiip, Lootsie

[2] Video (in-stream, interactive etc) 

Services: Virool, Sharethrough, Unruly Media

[3] Location-Based Features + Gaming and Social Media Components

Services: Zigi, Plot

[4] Custom Experiences Tied to Gameplay – Making your Brand the Hero

Services: MediaMob, a few others I can’t find at the moment! Often these campaigns are the result of one-on-one relationships with developers and brands, like SimCity and Dunkin Donuts (below):



Living In The Now

We’re all too aware of the concept of ‘carpe diem.’ From Andrew Marvell’s cheeky poem, To His Coy Mistress, written in 1681, to ‘YOLO’ by Kendrick Lamar, released this year, we’ve never been oblivious to the passing of time. While the digital age might make us think ‘now’ is a more urgent phenomenon, people have been stressing about it since the dawn of man.

Here’s what we’re not aware of — the digital age hasn’t squeezed ‘now’ into smaller moments. It’s turned ‘now’ into our eternal reality. As Douglas Rushkoff puts it in an interview with Fast.CoExist about his book, Present Shock: When Everything Happens NOW: 

“The cultural bias and economic bias metaphor is shifting from hard drive to RAM, from potential energy to kinetic energy… we need not worry about the future at all, because we are living in a present that will continue forever.”


If we think of the future in this way, we start to realize we’re not stretching towards some climactic conclusion, but collectively making decisions, choices, mistakes and memories together in real time, and will continue to do so for eternity. I love thinking about time as an element…  there was a quote in a novel I read in high school that sparked a long interest in how we create Time artificially by developing context for the ‘passing of time.’ Can’t remember the book, but it was about a tribe in Africa, where their leader claimed that in their remote, self-sufficient society, “we create our own time.” And it’s true!


Alicia Eggert’s most well-known world, ‘You are (on) an island.’

I love this quote from Alicia Eggert, a TED Fellow and multi-media artist who focused on time, found art, and words in her work: 

When I was a kid, I lived in South Africa for a few years because my parents were missionaries there during apartheid. South Africans had three different ways they used the word “now.” A simple “now” was a really casual reference to the present; it lacked any sense of urgency. “Just now” was even more casual. It’s like, “Oh, I’ll get around to it.” And then “now now” was a more urgent expression, meaning “This is happening right at this very moment.”


As she says, we don’t have enough words to describe the concept of ‘now.’ Rushkoff mentions the difference between the Greek terms chronos and kairos in his interview — the difference is time and timing. “We’ve been living in chronos for the past thousand or so years,” says Rushkoff. “Time was what’s on the clock. And now that our digital devices can take that for us, we can move into kairos.”

Put simply, the time that a ‘moment’ occurs no longer matters. What matters is the ‘timing’ of that moment in the context of what happened before, during and after it. And this isn’t just philosophical — these changes have huge impact on political events, product design, our understanding of the human body, workplaces, the global economy.  

So Living In The Now isn’t so much about Living While You Can. It’s not about living in the Future, it’s not about not living in the Past. It’s about avoiding that feeling of falling behind on all the information, all the incoming messages, the constant flow of alerts and updates. It’s about realizing that we create the present that the digital world records for us. It’s about living with the knowledge that we’re not trying to catch up to it — it’s trying to catch up to us.

In Rushkoff’s words, “I’m a Presentist.” 


If you want to …

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood … instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This is an awesome way to think about building company culture. Check out Helpscout’s post on building Customer-Centric Companies.