Snapchat Spectacles show the US Open from your point of view

Snapbots have descended on the 2017 US Open to distribute Snapchat Spectacles - HD-filming glasses that give fans the opportunity to share their experience, from their perspective, directly to their Snapchat followers. So that friend that's sick of seeing your court-side selfies can finally experience what's really going on. 

The Spectacles can be purchased through September 10th via on-site vending machines. How did the Spectacle-dispensing machines arrive on site? You might say they made a splash. 

Flip your perspective on your freshman year

The experience of starting college is rough. New school. New friends. New weight gain. It's not always the carefree, freedom-from-my-parents place that students think it will be.

Enter: Shine. This free texting service offers daily messages Monday - Friday with quotes, articles, and messages to motivate and get your day started right. Shine's new campaign, The Flip Side, is specially designed to make the experience less painful by helping college students get over the anxiety hump of their first week. 

In partnership with Kik, this short-term campaign helps freshmen see the flip side of college stressors - because we've all been there. And we've all survived to tell the tale. 

Move over Uber Eats, it's all about jet ski delivery

You're on the beach. Hunger strikes. What are you to do? Well, if you're vacationing on the south coast of England, there's an innovative food delivery service in town.

Deliveroo, a British food delivery service, is taking the food delivery experience to the next level with jet ski drivers that bring food from local restaurants to folks vacationing on the beach. The test is only in Bournemouth this summer, with the company awaiting customer feedback prior to rolling out again next year.

I know I'd enjoy dinner and jet ski show. As long as I don't end up with a soggy burger.

Learning the still-secret recipe the "hard way"

Building on the trend of the Escape Room, KFC is using virtual reality to supplement its cook training program - one that includes preparation of the secret Original Recipe chicken.

The Hard Way, a KFC Virtual Training Escape Room, guides cooks-in-training through the five preparation steps of the famous fried chicken. KFC hopes the immersive experience not only provides a fun and innovative way to train its employees, but helps tell a greater story connected to the iconic Colonel Sanders.

But, will gameifying the preparation of KFC chicken - "the hard way" - actually help its cooks? Guess only time will tell ...  and a pit stop to KFC for a taste test.

A once-in-a-lifetime experience? Yes please.

At some point in the last handful of years, people began to place more and more value on experiences than they do on things. An item, no matter how sparkly, can't compete with enjoying life's most delightful moments. 

That's why companies like Airbnb have turned to delivering unforgettable experiences to engage consumers.

Airbnb is partnering with Vice Media to give 100 people "once in a lifetime" trips to four cities around the globe:  Cape Town, New York, Paris and Tokyo. The experience in each destination is customized to focus on getting travelers away from the typical tourist hubs and into the nooks and crannies that make each locale unique.

The premise is a win-win-win. The cities expose visitors to neighborhoods that are a bit off of the usual beaten tourist paths, Airbnb entices 100 more people away from hotels and resorts and the winning travelers get to explore the hidden gems of a city, making memories that they will look back on their entire lives.

Timberland transforms the retail shopping experience

At a time when so many retailers are closing hundreds of brick and mortar locations, Timberland is launching Timberland Tree Lab, a new experiential concept store in King of Prussia, PA.

The format of the store is reminiscent of a gallery, featuring products, displays and content that are all geared to tell a story that enhances the brand. As customers shop the store, they can enjoy a local craft beverage or a bottle of water that might later be recycled into materials used in Timberland products.

Even better? They're going to change the theme every six weeks, creating occasions that will give their customers a reason to plan their next visit...and the one after that, and the one after that.

That's how you transform a drab retail environment into a delightful one.

Don't forget your surge protector!

Talking about condoms can be super awkward. Shopping for them can be all kinds of mortifying. Brands, sizes, flavors...way TMI for many, but particularly for teens. Until Naughty Bags.

Milwaukee based non-profit Diverse & Resilient worked with Cramer-Krasselt to partner with teens to create a line of free, fun condoms designed to transform the experience of discussing safe sex from one fraught with embarrassment to one that's playful and fun.

That matters. A lot. The teen pregnancy rate in Milwaukee is three times higher than the national average and STD transmission rates in the US recently hit a record high. Removing the stigma from the topic, and making it easier for teens to talk about protecting themselves, increases the odds that they'll remember to grab their surge protector when they need it most.

Well done!

Making a splash with your daily commute

Public transportation. A life saver on the one hand and the dreariest part of the week on the other.

If you have ever lived in one of our major metropolitan areas, you've most likely already spent more time than you would ever want to waiting to hop aboard your preferred mode of transportation to bring you to work or to take you home. I bet you wish you could get those minutes back. I know that I did when I was a straphanger (do people still use that word or did I just date myself?).

That's why I love this campaign by Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Monterey Bay Aquarium - Interactive Bus Shelter Experiences from Chris Szadkowski on Vimeo.
They used augmented reality to transform bus shelters across San Francisco into interactive screens that not only displayed scenes from inside the aquarium, but also invited people waiting for their ride to play along with them in a variety of ingenious activities.

That's the way you transform unproductive, wasted time into an unforgettable experience.

Where will you be watching the eclipse?

I cannot wait to watch the eclipse this afternoon!

Unlike the thousands of people who've flocked to one of the fourteen states that fall in the direct path of the eclipse, I'll be watching from my office in CT, where our geographic vantage point will only offer us a partial view.

Did I consider driving down to South Carolina, the eastern-most state in the direct path, so that I could see the eclipse in it's totality? No, actually. I'm not a fan of ten hour drives. I'm even less a fan of being in huge crowds.

Which is why I love that Twitter and The Weather Channel are teaming up to chase it for me in an interactive live event that combines real time footage from space with content that people who did make that drive snap and tweet (if you're one of those people, thank you!). I get to enjoy the partial view with my own two eyes, from the comfort of my own town, and then watch the total eclipse unfold in real time online.

How cool is that?      


Mixing motorcycles and a safe way

When you think of mixing motorcycles and booze, mostly not good things come to mind. However, if you take the statement at its most literal, something way different is created.

Uwe Ehinger, the owner of custom bike shop Ehinger Kraftrad, has partnered with Serviceplan to add his own style to gin, flavoring the bottles with engine parts from rare original Harley Davidson models found in his decades of garage digging around the world.

The enhanced experience for the customer doesn't end with the unique flavoring additives. Each bottle is custom made, with mounted steel tops, and wrapped in the stories of how the parts were found.

For an industry that has plenty of brands trying to differentiate themselves (usually in very similar ways), this definitely hits its own unique niche.

Gather 'round the bucket kids

Historically, buckets serve an important but limited purpose in the fried chicken restaurant business. You get chicken, you consume chicken, you toss bucket in the trash . . . until now.

KFC has teamed with Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg to create Suppertime Stories. The usual bird bucket fits snug inside one of three artfully designed sleeves. Each sleeve has a code which will unlock one of three stories on the mobile app. Customers then place the phone on their table (with torch facing up), place the sleeve over the phone, and turn off the lights. The story plays along with animated sound, light, and vibration, creating an immersive storytelling experience for the family.

This is probably only the second best thing KFC has ever done with a cardboard bucket, but it's definitely the coolest.

Safety first for the whippersnappers

A teenager getting their driver's license is often seen as a rite of passage. Distracted driving and speeding are most definitely not, especially when it comes to the mental welfare of the parents.

Toyota Europe and Saatchi & Saatchi London have attempted to ease the burden on the parental side of this experience by introducing Safe & Sound, a smartphone app that deters speeding and phone use while driving.

The app uses Google Maps API technology to know when the car is moving over 9 mph. It then proceeds to block all social media notifications and incoming calls. The app will also detect if the driver is speeding or touches their phone. It will then move to embarrassment level, as it stops their Spotify playlist, replacing it with the parents' playlist of choice. Keep in mind that the parents themselves do not need to like what they put in their playlist, as long as it is effective.

Good luck speeding to "Wake Me Up (Before You Go Go)" on repeat.

A delicious social media post for lunch

Even if you're not into surfing food porn images, you have no doubt run across instances where nearly all pictures of a potential meal location are just plates of food. They may look great, but that doesn't put them in your stomach.

Heinz changed that for food FOMO sufferers in Sao Paulo when they teamed up with ad agency Africa and Facebook Creative Shop to create the Irresistible Posts campaign that turns social content into a real-life, omnomable experience.

Local users of Instagram Stories are targeted based on geolocation and shown videos of burgers made by chef Santi Roig from Underdog Meat & Beers. The chef would then tell users to swipe upward on the screen to have Heinz deliver the burger to them in a personalized box (along with other Heinz products thrown in), effortlessly transforming the consumer experience from wishful thinking to delicious reality.

Finally, food porn that doesn't leave you feeling empty inside.

Throw up your horns!

Most everyone has headbanged (to slightly varying degrees) at some point in their lives, whether sarcastically or in true metalhead fashion. However, the only reward they've ever received is a motion/booze induced headache and possibly a sore neck the next day. Well, now you can receive a real reward.

Ogilvy Japan has partnered with Sony Music Japan to create a website that turns metal band Crossfaith's new album "Freedom" into a fully interactive experience.

The website will stream their new track "Diavolos", but only if the user continues headbanging to their webcam. Any stoppage, the track quickly grinds to a halt, and the website proceeds to diss you for not being metal enough.  If you continue to headbang, the entire song will play, along with some visuals thrown in as extra incentive.

Let's just hope this doesn't catch on for live performances.

James, this one is for you

If you saw an ad that called out you personally, by name, would you click it? If it showed up in a magazine that you subscribe to, would you read the ad and think it was creepy, or impressive? We know that the customer experience starts well before anyone actually walks through your door or visits your site, and World Market gets it.

They didn't do any fancy data mining or online stalking to get this information. They went old school by having people opt-in to share their information on their own. Then the info was printed, digitized and put in video for the world to see. The purpose of the campaign? To let people know that "We know your small space." Well played. You can see more of the campaign over at AdWeek.

Pizza Hut lovers get loyal

You're a pizza connoisseur, right? If so, you probably haven't thought about Pizza Hut in a while. But, if you are a Hut-loyalist you may be happy to hear they're improving your online ordering experience by adding a loyalty program.

They aren't exactly breaking any new ground with their points based system, but if you eat a lot of pizza from them and want to get a freebie every now and again it certainly is a boost.

Customer loyalty is always a key component to creating a great experience and it is nice to see Pizza Hut lean in to it. Now, if we could redeem our points for some classic collectible glassware it would be a real home run.

My life, my experience

Life changes. That is one constant. Sometimes it changes more drastically and leaves us changed forever. Volkswagen is launching a new car, the Arteon, and their ad campaign to go along with the launch taps Pete Eckert. Pete is a photographer who also happens to be blind. Being blind gives him a whole different experience with Volkswagen, which is the whole purpose of the campaign.

Most of us will experience a car from behind the wheel, or in the passenger seat watching the landscape go by. VW has brought Pete in to show the way he experiences the Arteon by emphasizing the textures, lines, sounds and presence through image.

It's simply beautiful. Just remember, because someone may not be the primary user of your product doesn't mean they won't be experiencing it. Head over to The Inspiration Room to see many of the photos.

Green is the new black

There's a lot of talk these days about energy. Whether it's a Tesla Solar Roof, coal miners in PA, or wind turbines dotting the hillside, energy is something that's crossing over political, economic, social and technological boundaries. Enter energy start-up, Inspire. Their service isn't just an energy bill you have to pay every month, but rather an energy experience.

With Inspire you won't pay based on usage month-to-month, you'll pay a flat, Netflix style, subscription based on your average use. That subscription isn't just paying for your lights to turn on either. For every megawatt-hour of energy you use, Inspire will purchase a Renewable Energy Certificate from a nearby wind farm.

This is a large departure from the traditional utility model, and that is not by accident. Maloney, Founder of Inspire took a cue from Uber and Lyft noting that they "were able to drive rapid, irreversible change by making the consumer king, and figuring out how to develop technologies that reshape the customer experience."

Dusting off boxes of boxed

Over the weekend did you go grocery shopping to restock and get ready for the week? If you did, you might have seen me in the masses. That experience (grocery shopping on the weekend) is painful. It seems as though it isn't going to get any better in the immediate future with stores implementing self-checkout. But, what if you could relieve some of the pain by getting your bulk shopping done online.

That's where Boxed is trying to help you out. Their new tagline "Bulk is Beautiful" sets their eyes squarely on Costco, but with a fun social focus. Boxed has found great growth creating their social experience growing their team from one to 22. Take a look at their write-up on Digiday to see how they are trying to shift the experience of bulk shopping online.

Taking the plunge

Just when you thought Squatty Potty was safely consigned to the annals of Advertising We'd Rather Not See But Watch Anyway, they're back.
This time they're enhancing the restroom experience with Poo Plunger, playfully designed to resemble everyone's favorite poop emoji. And they're inviting fans to join the fun, with a Kickstarter campaign to launch the handy stool tool. So far they've got a ways to go to achieve their $70,000 goal, but hopes are high that they'll be flush soon.

ASU ups the tech ante

When your school is ranked #1 in innovation - ahead of Stanford and MIT - and you're a popular PAC-12 football team, but your stadium was built in 1958, it might be time to rethink the experience.

And that's exactly what Arizona State University did. They took a long step back and looked at the stadium-goers experience through the lens of technology and innovation, and they got to work. Sensors throughout the stadium, a custom app, parking enhancements... they examined the entire game day experience, then applied the technology that made it better.

With college football season approaching, more schools should take notice of why Arizona State just won the “Best Gameday Technology Experience Award”. Here’s a great video and a perfect example how they’ve used tech to give fans an entirely new engaging experience at the stadium.

Even better than Taco Tuesdays

In case you missed it, National Tequila Day was July 24th.
In case you didn't, National OMFG My Eyes Are Bleeding Day was July 25th.

And just in case you were wandering around three spots in L.A. that day - West Hollywood's The Abbey, the Highland shopping center, or the Venice Boardwalk - Jose Cuervo had a special treat for you: Water fountains that dispensed - you guessed it - tequila! Building an experience around the brand's "Tomorrow is Overrated" campaign, the fountains dispensed measured squirts of its silver tequila to thirsty and interested passersby.

Participants were, of course, carded, and the mechanism was administered by event staffers. In case you were wondering.

You want fries with that... shirt?

Ah, McDonald's. Once an icon of American life, its gleaming golden arches beckoning from the roadside to hoardes of families in faux-wooden-sided station wagons on their way to seaside bungalows and canyons grand. Now mostly a convenient target for the self-righteous, purveyors of childhood obesity and diabetes, churners-out of extruded meat products, losing litigants in legal liquid-fire coffee lawsuits.

Yet the brand has survived, nay, thrived. Because this brand, maybe more than any other, has customer experience as its very foundation, its be-all and end-all. And that experience, whether it's sharing an emotional french fry with your dad or ordering a bag of McSomething at 3am with a blood-alcohol count in the double digits, continues to evolve.

The latest evolution, all about bringing the food right to your door (via UBER eats) is called, unsurprisingly, McDelivery. What's more, to celebrate the July 26 launch they've unveiled a collection of McDonald's-themed wearables, The McDelivery Collection. Along with the Big Mac Onesie and the Famous Fries jogging suit, customers in select cities can select picnic blankets, a hoodie, slippers, and more, all "designed to help people savor the delivery experience," according to one McSpokesman.

Now your brand news diet is chockfull of tasty tales of Customer Experiences (CX). Served-fresh every morning for your daily recommended dose of marketing inspirations. Never sugar coated. May contain nuts. Archives | Look back at these past bites