Perception Vs. Reality

chris frank st. louis

As Rolling Stone magazine just put itself up for sale, it's interesting to look back at one of their more iconic ad campaigns aimed at broadening their readership. The "Perception Vs. Reality" campaign sought to generate more advertising revenue by using visual metaphors to show who the typical Rolling Stone reader actually was—not who he/she was thought to be.

At that time, the brand still had a large and engaged audience of readers, but ad buyers tended to dismiss them as dope-smoking hippies who weren’t a valuable target for ads.
— Katie Richards | AdWeek

The ad reads, “For a new generation of Rolling Stone readers, expressing your individuality does not mean wearing your birthday suit to a rock festival. During the past 12 months, Rolling Stone readers purchased more than 80 million items of apparel, setting the trends and shaping the buying patterns for the most influential consumers in America. Your media buy looks conspicuously naked if you’re not exposing yourself in the pages of Rolling Stone.”

Source: AdWeek

The Current State of UX/UI Design


Today's consumer spends much of their time online, and as such, the importance of UX and UI design is ever-growing. Not so long ago, UX thinking was limited by the capabilities of the devices we used. Today, however, in a world where our devices capabilities' seem limitless, UX has begun to encompass something greater: front-end design, animation, and generally speaking, a higher level of UX thinking.

The following series of examples were designed by uixNinjaNischal MasandTushar SainiRafzin p and more. These mobile transitions and animations display the direction that UX thinking is headed, including micro-interactions, which the user may not notice directly but subtly enhance the user experience.


Source: Abduzeedo

New York City Photography


Vivien Bertin, an art director out of Paris, France, has put together a stunning and intimate portrait of the city in his new book entitled, New York.

CES 2018 & Voice Recognition

chris frank CES.jpeg

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
chris frank ces

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

Advertising With User Data

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Netflix went under scrutiny last month for a Tweet that pokes fun at a small group of their users. Now major brands, including Spotify and Cost Plus World Market, are testing the waters by using their troves of user data to drive not only the targeting but the creation of their ads. Many of these campaigns seem like experiments designed to determine just how much of their own data people are willing to tolerate.

Spotify ran a similar campaign late last year that featured user data cleverly integrate within the ad space. It's unclear how this approach will impact consumers, but the idea is interesting given that a Pew Research Center study found last year that most Americans determine their online privacy rights case by case, with 47 percent saying they’re comfortable with retailers tracking their purchases to deliver better deals.

Source: AdWeek

Summing Up Black Friday & Cyber Monday

As consumers scour retailers’ websites and stores for the best holiday deals, here are five digital stats that stand out about how consumers are shopping.

1. Cyber Monday Frenzy
Adobe is crunching data on ecommerce transactions, tracking 80 percent of online transactions for the 100 largest retailers. Per the firm, consumers spent $840 million through 10 a.m. Monday, equivalent to a 16.9 percent year-over-year growth. In terms of mobile, smartphones and tablets make up 53.3 percent of traffic and 39.7 percent of revenue.

2. Early bird shopping
With more consumers shopping online, Walmart, Toys R Us and Target are a handful of retailers that started ramping up online deals before Thanksgiving to prepare for the flood of online shopping.

According to Adobe, consumers spent $15.12 billion on Saturday and Sunday, a 10.1 percent year-over-year growth. Search advertising drove 22.4 percent of sales from paid media while direct traffic made up 26.9 percent and email contributed to 19.7 percent of sales.

3. Small-screen shopping
Shoppers are increasingly moving from desktop to mobile (which includes smartphone and tablets) to not only research products but also shop.

According to Salesforce, mobile made up 64 percent of shopping visits this weekend, up from 54 percent last year. For sales, mobile made up 43 percent of orders, an 10 percent increase from 33 percent last year.

4. Message overload
Retailers are notorious for sending out massive numbers of emails and notifications around the holidays that promote time-sensitive deals and this year was no exception.

On Black Friday alone, retailers sent nearly three billion emails, more than 82 million SMS and push notifications and collected 8.8 billion data points, like email sign-ups.

5. Small retailers nail mobile
Surprisingly, it’s not big brands that are driving mobile conversions. According to Adobe, websites from small retailers that make $10 million or less convert twice as much as bigger retailers that make $100 million or more.

During Small Business Saturday, which encourages consumers to shop from local merchants, mobile traffic hit 56.7 percent of total web traffic, indicating that smaller retailers are providing easy-to-navigate and simple mobile sites.

Source: Adweek

Modernist Australian Cottage

Valiant House  designed by  A for Architecture  Photo by Peter Bennetts

Valiant House designed by A for Architecture Photo by Peter Bennetts

Impressive architectural design by A for Architecture, tasked with transforming a weatherboard workers cottage into a two-story residence for a young family. The Valiant House was designed to be functional for both adults and children as well as extremely aesthetically pleasing.

The architect was able to answer all the requests within the challenging footprint allotted and managed to create a light-filled interior that flows and still feels spacious.
— Caroline Williamson | Design Milk

Source: Design Milk
Photos: Peter Bennetts

A Marketing Industry Reality

chris frank st. louis

Consumers expect experiences that are curated directly to them and their interests. In this new experience economy, they no longer tolerate anything less. Brands like Airbnb, Lyft, Amazon and Netflix have realized that the power has shifted to consumers. They decide when, how, where and in what ways to engage with brands and expect a seamless experience across all platforms.

The Cloud
With cloud-based technologies, companies now have access to infinite computing resources, and no longer have to deal with the complexities of managing infrastructure. Marketers can spin up systems and applications with the flip of a switch and manage consumer data at unprecedented scale. With the cloud, consumer data can easily and instantaneously be used to power personalized experiences across channels unlike never before.

The Mobile Experience
There are now 8 billion mobile devices in the world—more than there are people. The average American now spends five hours a day using mobile devices, and 54 percent of email users access their inboxes on a mobile device. While mobile may seem like old news, usage is climbing and informed marketers are finding new and innovative ways to better engage with consumers on it.

Social Media
Around 2.46 billion people use a social network at least once per month. That makes social media an important medium for product discovery, sales and customer care. It’s no wonder that 77 percent of marketers say their companies use social media marketing to drive business ROI.

AI & Marekting
Marketers are embracing AI tools, which learn from past consumer behavior to automatically predict outcomes, arming marketers with information on the best next step. AI finds patterns in consumer data, marketers can now automatically forecast the best time, channel and audience for their messages.

Source: AdWeek