The Humanity Star

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This shiny, spherical satellite resembling a disco ball is currently traveling around our planet in an attempt to "to serve as a focal point for humanity and reminder about our fragile place in the universe".

No matter where you are in the world, or what is happening in your life, everyone will be able to see the Humanity Star in the night sky.
— Peter Beck | Founder of Rocket Lab

The satellite is made from carbon fiber and has 65 reflective panels that reflect sunlight back to Earth. The Humanity Star spins rapidly, creating a blinking flashing effect. 

The Humanity Star launched in January from New Zealand and orbits the Earth every 90 minutes. It will continue through September before it starts to decay and is pulled back into Earth's gravity, ultimately burning up on reentry. You can track in real-time the location of the satellite on a website.

Source: The Humanity Star

The Color of Time

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Dae-hoo Kim shared this beautiful industrial design project for a wall clock titled the Color of Time. The concept of time is like a numerical representation of a moment. Our time is flowing, time and light are most closely related.

Through this design, Dae-hoo Kim wanted to express the continuous change of light with the clock. As the hour hand rotates, you will see a palette that visualizes the light. It shows emotions for the time and continuous light changes during a day. Along with this, even though it is not expressed as a number, it is possible to know intuitively the time through the color of the hour hand, thereby achieving a minimal expression of time.

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While the hour hand rotates 360 degrees for 12 hours, the internal color palette rotates 180 degrees. Structurally considering the characteristics of a watch that will have two different lights for a specific time point (AM and PM) for 24 hours a day.
 
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Source: Abduzeedo

Volvo Ocean Race Programme

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Volvo has a history of being socially and ethically conscious of their environmental impact and creating ways to mitigate their footprint on climate change. They've recently announced a new program that aims to help preserve our oceans. 

The Volvo Ocean Race Science Programme equips boats in this year’s race with a variety of sensors that will capture data from some of the remotest parts of the world’s oceans. This includes temperatures, barometric pressure, currents and wind speed, which will help contribute to more accurate weather forecasts and climate models used by scientists globally.
— Volvo

The car itself will help tackle the problem of marine pollution, as the carpet inlays are made from Econyl, a fabric made from 100% recycled nylon, including abandoned fishing nets reclaimed from the seabed. The V90 Cross Country Volvo Ocean Race was developed by Volvo designers and a group of engineers within the company’s Special Vehicles department, a purpose-built facility at Volvo Cars’ base in Torslanda, Sweden. The engineers at Special Vehicles specialize in developing bespoke models and are also responsible for Volvo Cars’ ultra-luxurious Excellence models as well as the police version of the V90 and V90 Cross Country.

Blockchain's Role in Advertising

Blockchain is a technology that enables an anonymous, decentralized record of transactions. As consumer's, we've grown to understand that today’s digital ad industry revolves around Google, Facebook and Amazon. Blockchain has the power to address some of ad tech’s most challenging issues. This technology will enable the advertising industry to cut waste, target the right people, reduce the advertising load and deliver fewer, more timely and more relevant ads. 

By utilizing blockchain, advertisers and marketers will be able to anonymously track a customer across platforms and therefore deliver personalized ads without any personally identifiable information or costly contracts across media empires.

Source: AdWeek

Unilever Threatens to Pull Advertising

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Unilever, one of the largest consumer goods companies in the world, is threatening to pull advertising from Google, YouTube, and Facebook if the tech giants don’t rid their platforms of extremism, hate speech, and fake news. Unilever spent $9 billion globally on advertising last year. And with more of those dollars moving to the digital space, Big Tech depends on those billions if it wants to keep growing.

Unilever will not invest in platforms or environments that do not protect our children or which create division in society, and promote anger or hate.
— Keith Weed | Chief Marketing Officer

Source: Gizmodo

YouTube & Brand Safety

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After nearly a year of complaints from advertisers concerned about their ads appearing alongside questionable content and a slew of its biggest influencers going rogue on the platform, YouTube is revamping its policies for how creators make money off of their videos.

Over the past year, YouTube has tweaked several of its policies, upping the requirement for channels to hit 10,000 views, for example, and adding more staffers to vet videos. Still, brand safety has quickly become a more mainstream problem for brands.

While we took several steps last year to protect advertisers from inappropriate content, we know we need to do more to ensure that their ads run alongside content that reflects their values.
— Paul Muret | VP of Display, Video & Analytics at YouTube

Programmatic Premium Ads
YouTube is now manually screening each individual video for Google Preferred channels, which should cut down on the number of lone videos that make their way through YouTube’s programmatic pipes. According to Google, Google Preferred channels and videos in the U.S. will be vetted by mid-February and will be finished globally by the end of March.

Moving Beyond Views
Now YouTube channels will need to amass 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time in a one-year period to run ads. Both new and existing channels will have to meet the new requirements, which go into effect on Feb. 20.

Tiered Media Buys
YouTube is rolling out a three-tiered system for brand safety that allows brands more transparency into where their ads appear. One option caters to brands that are sensitive about where their ads appear. On the other end, a broad-based option lets brands buy ads across a bigger section of videos. The middle option—which is the default option—plays between, with targeted ads that still reach a significant number of channels.

Source: AdWeek

CES 2018 & Voice Recognition

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The results are in, and Voice Recognition software was all the buzz at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home were highly discussed by every big brand and agency exec in Las Vegas, popping up in dozens of companies’ pitches and demonstrations.

For us to understand how people are interacting with chat is really helpful for us to see the consumer behavior of what’s working [and] what’s not working.
— Meredith Verdone | CMO at Bank of America
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Google Home’s activation included a giant gumball machine showing how artificial intelligence works by asking consumers to play a game where they ask the voice assistant a series of questions. Google also conducted a large out-of-home and media campaign in casinos and on the monorail system. Major brands (like Sleep Number and Whirlpool) and smaller startups pitched AI-infused products while the commerce giant also hosted at least nine panels talking about itself.

Right now, voice technology is developing, and virtual assistants can only understand a relatively small number of words. We can expect the vocabulary of your virtual assistant to grow as the technology becomes more sophisticated.

Source: AdWeek

Sonic Branding

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As technology like Amazon’s Echo or the Google Home Assistant become more embedded in our daily lives, it’s becoming increasingly important for brands to create strong connections without visuals, just sound. Visa found that sound could make consumers feel safe and secure in their transactions, and that 81 percent of shoppers would have a more positive reaction to Visa if it incorporated sound or animation into its marketing or shopping experience.

Visa found that sound could make consumers feel safe and secure in their transactions, and that 81 percent of shoppers would have a more positive reaction to Visa if it incorporated sound or animation into its marketing or shopping experience. That could be in your car, in your home, through your smart home devices or even a Fitbit
— Lynne Biggar | Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Visa

In recent months, streaming service Pandora has ramped up its work with brands—including Ziploc, Dawn, Cascade and California Closets—to develop audio-driven marketing campaigns with a specific focus on how brands think about the sonic identity.

I think for a lot of folks the sound of your brand is still a bit of an afterthought, and as we move more toward a voice-activated world, sound is becoming even more important.
— Lauren Nagel | Group Creative Director at Pandora

It seemingly more important than ever for brands to consider sound in their marketing mixes.

Source: Adweek