Custom cooking by Tasty

Despite the fact that over 500 million people drool over the time lapsed food videos we can't seem to get away from in our news feeds - cookbooks are still one of the top selling published books each year. There is just something about the beautiful, glossy pictures that you can't quite replicate on screen. The downside is the cookbook experience can be limiting if you don't like all the recipes selected by the chef or author, leaving you sad and hungry.

But never fear friends, Buzzfeed's online cooking channel Tasty is coming to our cookbook rescue.  Using their repository of recipes, they have released a customizable cookbook changing the way we buy and use them.  You choose an adult or even a kids version, select the categories of recipes you want based on your tastes or interests, add a personal message or inspirational quote, and finally choose your cover.  Ta da! A brand new cookbook on your counter that actually has recipes you want to cook.   Or might try to cook.  Or not.  Whatever - we won't tell.

The smell of latexxx in the morning

The latest installation from European rail provider Thalys is changing the way people book travel one sense at a time.  As a follow-up to it's 2015 Sounds of the City campaign, the brand has partnered with French agency Rosapark to create Scents of the City.

The activation features a pop-up travel agency that allows potential travelers to explore cities in the Thalys network by scent.  That's right folks, by scent.  Using corresponding maps, visitors can experience the smell of buttered tartines from a Parisian cafe or the smell of lataxxx from Amsterdam's Museum of Sex if you're into that sort of thing.  In total, you can experience 16 scents per city.  All the while, hostesses are standing by to book travel live or provide helpful insights on the best times to travel.

Using the strong connection between emotion and scent, Thalys has given us a completely new way to experience the romance of travel.

Label of Love

A grocery store + product packaging = young love.  Not exactly how you expected to spend your Tuesday morning?  Us either.  But trust us, it's worth it.

For the last 85 years, Monoprix's iconic packaging has been a central element of their experience.  The French retailer and grocery features funny puns on their product labels created from the actual product names making them an unforgettable part of French pop culture.

To commemorate their anniversary, the brand created an adorable love story that brilliantly integrates that same iconic packaging into the central storyline - further ingraining them in the heart's of French consumers while giving us all the feels. The four-minute-long video is about a young boy with a crush on a classmate. He's so shy he expresses his feelings for her by anonymously leaving cutouts of the clever puns from Monoprix's boxes in her locker.  He quietly watches her reaction until one day she doesn't come to class and he's devastated to learn she's moved.

But that can't be how it ends right?! You'll have to check it out here for yourself.  Your welcome.

Experiences are for CEO's too

In most of our conversations around customer experience, we talk about a brand's relationship with it's customers. We don't talk much about brands being customers too.  But they are, and they want great experiences with the agencies and partners they work with.

So when OH Partners heard Airbnb was looking for a new creative agency, CEO Scott Harkey challenged the group to come up with a unique idea that would not only blow Airbnb CEO Jonathan Mildenhall's mind, but also secure a phone call with him.  The agency rose to the challenge and then some.  They created a real Airbnb listing in one of their Phoenix offices with a 24-hour livestream experience all centered around the great things to do in Phoenix.  Throughout the event they tweeted the highlights using the hashtag #JonathanCallScott.  And eventually he did just that.

From one non-NY agency to another, cheers to you OH Partners for killin' it!

Nice work, Chuck E. Cheese 

Chuck E. Cheese may be what most adult nightmares are made of, but let's face it, kids love it. The freedom to run free, play games, dance and scream noisily, all the while eating pizza without their parents chasing after them to clean up their greasy hands? I mean it's practically Disneyland. Ok, maybe not Disneyland, but in all seriousness, Chuck E. Cheese is a place where kids can experience a little bit of freedom, while having a whole lotta fun, and parents don't have to worry quite as much about their whereabouts.

The downside? The bright lights and extremely noisy atmosphere are too much for some children to enjoy, specifically those on the Autism spectrum. That's why CEC's Senior Director of Advertising and Media, Ami Anderson, decided to truly act on their slogan,"Where a kid can be a kid," and make their experience equally enjoyable for EVERY kid.

To do this, they introduced Sensory Sensitive Sundays, where the lights are dim, the sound quieter and overall more comfortable for a child on the spectrum. These events are set to take place the first Sunday of every month and have already received tremendous feedback. The financial return is still to be determined, but that's not the focus for Chuck E. Cheese - their main concern is creating a positive experience for all kids.

Guess what? Moms aren't always f!&%ing perfect

Let's be honest, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese's Mother's Day campaign, Swear Like a Mother, was pretty brilliant. I mean, what better way to show millennial moms that they understand the experience of motherhood in this day and age than to say "we know you don't believe in perfect parenting, and neither do we."

As part of the campaign, the brand partnered with Melissa Mohr, author of 'Holy Sh!t: A brief history in swearing,' to create a hilarious TV spot that moms are certain to relate to. And they didn't stop there, the brand also created fail-canceling ear plugs for kids so mom doesn't have to feel guilty when she just can't seem to censor herself. We'd say the brand certainly succeeded at creating a unique and relatable Mother's Day experience for these moms.

Snapchat steps up its brand experience

The social and digital space is ever changing, making it tough for brands to keep up with some of the major players like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Based on Snapchat's latest features, there are two very important things that are successfully setting them apart, and maybe even ahead:

1.) How important customization is to users in order to reflect their individuality and personality
2.) To seamlessly integrate brands into the experience, they're offerings must be fun and relevant

The newest feature involves a 'world lens' that overlays photos and videos taken with the outward facing camera with fun 3-D graphics sponsored by a particular brand. Also in the works are new and improved geofilters that would allow brands to tap into their smart geofilters based on real time location information. Some other exciting news for brands who want to partner with Snapchat? They can now sponsor lenses based on age, gender and what content people look at, which means consumers are only served relevant options and the brand gets a more engaged audience.

An improved experience for brands AND for users? Now that's a win win!

Nike helps consumers push their limits

Nike's latest activation for its Unlimited campaign is creating a lot of buzz, and for good reason. It's one thing to talk in a commercial about limits and boundaries a brand like Nike might allow you to push, but it's a whole 'nother thing to allow consumers to actually experience it. This is exactly what Nike is doing in the Philippines.

They've created a giant replica of their newly launched Nike Lunar Epic shoe in the form of a 100-meter stadium where 30 runners at a time can compete with their very own avatar. Through a series of challenges, they are encouraged to beat their avatar, and ultimately push themselves further than they thought they could, mimicking the feeling they'd get when they push themselves in real life. Talk about a compelling experience!

Dove knows not all bodies are created equal

We all know Dove is a brand that champions the natural beauty of women from their highly successful 'Real Beauty' campaign they launched over a decade ago. It tapped into women's #1 insecurity regardless of age, ethnicity or social status, and flipped it on its head.

Now, over thirteen years later, they're still inspiring women all over the world, but this time it's at shelf. Their limited-edition packaging now comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, just like the women that use it, and creates a more meaningful shopping experience for consumers, reminding them that our differences should be celebrated, not ignored.

How do I love me? Let me count the waze...

What if I told you that your customer experience was you? Makes no sense, right? Wrong.

Everyone's favorite way finder, Waze, is finally offering an option where YOU are giving YOURSELF directions. That's right, full on turn-by-turn in your own voice. Simply activate the new voice recording feature and repeat & record the multitude of Waze commands to build an experience that is truly unique.

While only available on the Android platform for now, this is sure to be a boon for all of you out there who just love the sound of your own voice.

Photo Credit: Chris Welch
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