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Beware of shiny objects: CES boasts innovations that lack mass appeal



“Whoa” is the first word that you noticed in this year’s CES promos and on attendee badges.

And, if you are similar to me, it’s the first word that you utter across all show floors and exhibit halls in Vegas.

Like when you see a “smart” bathroom promising to test your urine (that’s actually dumb). Or when you come upon signage proclaiming a “robot revolution” (that one is my official hype winner in what was, as always, an extremely competitive category).

I’m no anthropologist but some of my best learnings come from taxi drivers on the way to and from the conference.

This year, on the road in from the airport, a middle-aged gentleman at the wheel scoffed at the need for voice-activated devices all throughout his home.

“I’ve got that on my phone with Google,” he said. “Anything I need to know, I can get it already.”

For the fourth year in a row, I asked the so-called Average Joe and Joanne whether they have interest in a “smart” refrigerator that could tell them when they are low on milk or beer, and even save a return trip to the market for an otherwise forgotten item.

The answer is always “no” with privacy being the main inhibitor.

So, I guess the urine-screening toilet isn’t making it into their houses – or yours or mine – anytime soon.

Just what was shown at CES that could have mass appeal?

Those products that had a personal touch.

For instance, the smartest watch is the one that is intelligent about you, not everyone else. Casio brought a meaningful group of apps to a previously released watch that now caters to individual taste.

For instance, Fishbrain is supposedly the world’s largest community-based fishing app, producing local fishing forecasts and the best spots to catch that big one. However, I haven’t fished since I caught a muskie 27 years ago (luck, not app), so the Pro Trek Android Wear model had to offer me something else. Choices are now in the categories of skiing, surfing, golfing, swimming, and hiking. That works for me.

And all the apps are included with purchase of the watch.

Elsewhere, there were apps that solved some of life’s challenges – cooling a house in summer before you arrive home, for example. New? Not so much. Appealing to folks like my cab driver? Definitely. Those apps have become more intuitive and valuable.

But for all of the products that sought to address a need, there were thousands of others that left me scratching my head.

Atop that list were the self-driving concept cars from Ford and Toyota that touted pizza delivery as an effective use case. Will the cost go down for the consumer? Will the human-less car put more pepperoni on the pie? Is there a cost-savings for the pizza companies?

If the answers to all of those questions are no, please tell me why someone would be willing to go outside in the snow and darkness, in pajamas and slippers, to use an unfamiliar keypad to unlock a pizza that costs the same or more and makes the consumer work more for it.

Customers won't pay more for a pizza just because it comes in an innovative way. If a carrier pigeon could get it there hot and quickly and cheaper, they’d happily say, “the heck with self-driving cars.”

And about those robots everywhere? For what?

My wife doesn’t want a lawn mowing robot. She’ll quickly tell you that she married one.

The lesson of it all?

Beware of shiny objects. Know that the 180,000 who attended CES almost surely misrepresent your customers and prospects.

Build upon what you know. Definitely make bets on innovation or you will be left behind. But don’t wager the house.

Much of what we saw were early-adopter models at best, ones that caused a ripple on Twitter but are not destined to do the same on Main Street. Or in taxis where the real deciders of product success or not make their livings and spend their money judiciously.

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Capgemini partners with HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series to 'augment' experience through data



The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series has secured Capgemini as its global innovation partner, a sponsorship that will see the firm enrich broadcasts with in-depth data from the sport.

The male and female fixtures will be boosted by the tech expertise of Capgemini. It will operate with an emphasis on improving the fan experience.

This will see the group provide data and infographics to boost the tournament experience in stadiums, on television and social. Furthermore, it will produce a web series, fronted by a rugby expert, making use of the rich data on hand to delve into the tactics and performances.

Virginie Regis, vice president for group branding, marketing and digital director at Capgemini said that "spectators want to build a deeper connection with their teams" beyond "just watching a match in the stadium, on television or online".

Capgemini will move to "augment" the viewing experience with data and insights designed to create discourse and engagement around the fixtures.

Regis added: "This will enrich the viewing experience by sharing deeper perspectives on key attributes of the game, including strategy and tactics, as well as player and team performance."

In the back end of the rugby sevens operation, Capgemini will also work to bring its business and technology innovations to the fore to help build upon the competition's efforts. On the experiential side, the company will activate locally to create fan experiences across the globe, with an emphasis on tournament cities.

Paul Hermelin, chairman and chief executive of Capgemini Group, said: “Our sponsorship of the Sevens Series combines perfectly our heritage with our global reach, in an innovative and inclusive way. It is the next chapter in the story of Capgemini’s support for rugby.

"We are looking forward to enabling our clients to discover this new, fast moving format, and I know that many of Capgemini’s 200,000 strong team are excited about supporting and even playing Rugby Sevens in the months to come.”

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Creative Work of the Week: Stockholm pens an open invitation to ‘loves, haters and hesitators’



Another Monday, another Creative Work of the Week, which this time goes to our Scandinavian friends in Stockholm for their work promoting the city as one that’s open to all.

Visit Stockholm teamed up with Visit Sweden for the hero ad, which features a personification of the capital city reading an open letter to the world. In first person, the female voice declares: “I don’t know who you are, where you came from, who you voted for, what your family name implies… you’re welcome anyhow, just as you are.”

The voiceover, which is delivered over footage of both locals and visitors enjoying the city, makes the case for Stockholm's progressive values.

The campaign was created by the Swedish agency Volontaire.

Volontaire: Visit Sweden, Visit Stockholm 'The Open Letter'

Agency: Volontaire
Client: Visit Sweden, Visit Stockholm
Date: January 2018

The city of Stockholm, together with Visit Sweden, has published an open letter inviting lovers, haters and hesitators to come and experience the capital – a city unique in its approach to openness and accessibility.
Stockholm, the Swedish capital situated on 14 small islands, is famous for its closeness to nature, booming tech-scene, gender-fluid fashion, colorful LGBT community and the Nobel prize. The letter, delivered by narration over footage of both locals and vistors enjoying the city, makes the case for Stockholm's progressive values.

Lukas Lima, Art Director, Volontaire.
Elisabet Fischer, Copywriter, Volontaire.
Samuel Skwarski, PR/Creative, Volontaire.
Klaus Hahn, Account Director, Volontaire.
Lina Edenfelt Holst, Producer, Volontaire.

Tags: Sweden, digital, pr, advertising, creative work of the week, Ad of the Week

Video of Welcome to Stockholm – The Open City!

The Open Letter

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Cadbury pop-up to take knick-knacks as cash in reconstruction of latest ad



Cadbury is setting up a pop-up shop to sell its Dairy Milk chocolate – but instead of cash, all that’s required in return is some form of knick-knack or trinket.

The first ‘Glass and a Half’ store opens on Thursday for four days at 57 Greek Street, London, where 10,000 chocolate bars will be up for grabs. 'The Glass and a Half' shop has been designed to mimic the corner store layout featured in the brand's new ad campaign, which sees a young girl visiting a corner shop in need of a bar of Dairy Milk for her mum’s birthday.

With no money to hand she can only offer some small knickknacks as payment which the kindly shopkeeper duly accepts.

The pop-up will also feature Cadbury themed newspapers, household supplies and postcards.

The traveling store will decant for a similar run in Birmingham and Sheffield to give the rest of the country a glimpse of what a bartering based economy would look like.

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