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We often hear about technology’s double-edged sword: it’s intended to bring us closer together but more often than not, it distracts and disrupts us from making real human connections. As we continue the debate on technology’s role in facilitating honest and emotional communications, engineers, programmers, and designers are taking baby steps toward making technology feel more human.
Take for instance, the new free app from Rebtel: Re:Beat. This is the first app to take a function of the human body-the thud thud of a heartbeat-and turn it into a digital “love note.” The app works like this: the camera and flash function on a smartphone “senses” the beat of a person’s heart by measuring subtle changes in the color of their fingertip. Next, the rhythm is animated as an image of a beating heart. As a Valentine’s Day bonus, the app provides a couple of heart warming messages to send along with the personalized heartbeat.
Rebtel, one of the world’s largest mobile VoIP providers, designed the app as an homage to the everyday connections their services provide. According to the company “…sending your heartbeat to someone dear to you is a perfect way to express the depth of your love, especially if you’re not able to see them in person.”
Want to send a human connection in a digital package to your sweetie this Valentine’s Day? Here’s a link to the app. And from me to you, dear reader, Happy Valentine’s Day!
If you’ve ever designed a PowerPoint presentation or business development tools of any sort you have encountered image powerhouse, Getty Images. And if you are familiar with Getty Images’ Web site, you know there are AMPLE images from which to choose. So many, in fact, that a simple task of finding a man eating an apple can turn into an overwhelming quest for a man with just the right smile-not too flashy, not too teethy-poised to bite into a crisp apple with a pinkish reddish blush (yes, you can be THAT specific with Getty Images).
So hats off to AlmapBBDO, the Brazil-based leg of BBDO charged with illustrating the diversity of Getty’s digital photo archive. Project managers included copywriter Sophie Schoenburg and art director Marcus Kotlhar, who together devoted a total of six months to researching and handpicking images from the archive to illustrate the image bank’s visual narrative building capabilities. The result? A video montage that utilizes 873 still shots to illustrate the narrative arc of life itself including life, love, birth, death, and the hope of happiness. With a nuanced almost symphonic flow, I think AlmapBBDO successfully illustrates Getty’s power to form and feed narratives of all shapes, sizes, and subjects.
What do you think?
John Carter landed in theaters this past weekend with a quiet thud. In reality, it should have landed to a symphony of gold coins falling from the pockets of Mickey Mouse’s red shorts to the floor. That’s right, Disney ate it big time on this cinematic flop, coming in second place at this weekend’s box office.
But how? It seemed all the pieces were in place for the film to be a smash hit. An esteemed director of other Pixar hits (Wall-E and Finding Nemo), Andrew Stanton, stood at Carter’s helm and the film boasted a plot that would resemble Indiana Jones on Mars-an almost surefire guarantee for box office gold. Yet when Carter hit American big screens it-as a New York Times article stated-was treated as a corpse.
But perhaps Carter’s box office death was not in vain. Disney has made it clear it will not point fingers and place blame but, rather, look at this as a hard-earned lesson. We can learn something here too. One of the key missteps that Disney and Stanton took was a lackluster marketing campaign that failed to consider its audience. Pixar creates quirky, fun-loving animations, not war-torn epics about outer space and the Civil War. Most of Pixar’s target audience doesn’t know of Edgar Rice Burroughs or the Barsoom novels. Nor is Pixar’s audience familiar with Taylor Kitsch (star of TV series Friday Night Lights). Marketing also did little to educate and attract this crowd. So when creating a new product (of the film kind or any other) be sure to consider your audience. Be sure to ask questions like: What has appealed to my audience in the past? Who are they familiar with? What’s the best way to educate them about a new product? How can I make them care about this product too?
If Disney had considered some of these questions during the (many) rounds of production for John Carter and subsequent phases of pre-release marketing, then the film may not have derailed and disappointed.