Technology

Apple’s HomePod marketing copy is just ridiculous - I’m still getting one though

Vivid Content Marketing Apple HomePod.jpg

Apple loves to arrive late to a tech product category with the best solution at a premium price. And everyone loves to get upset by it. Every time it happens nerdy journalists (nerdalists?) proclaim the new gadget launch to be nothing more than ‘the emperor’s new clothes’, ‘dead on arrival’ and ‘over-hyped’.

It happened with the iPod ("overpriced... who wants to digitise music?" – single-handedly revolutionised the entire music industry), the iPad (“it's just a big iPod Touch" – fastest selling electronic product of all time), iPhone ("no chance of significant market share" – biggest selling consumer electronics product of all time), we could go on...

And so here we are again with the Apple HomePod. A smart speaker due to launch in two weeks time that’s again late to the party (by about two years). This time it's up against fierce competition from Amazon's Alexa-enabled Echo range, Google's Google Assistant powered Home range and Sonos (who've hurriedly bolted-on some smart features to keep up). When you consider that a quarter of all UK homes received some kind of smart speaker this Christmas, Apple's had better be pretty special if they want to make a dent in the speaker universe!

Well, late-to-market pressure seems to have got to Apple's marketing team. While they need to tell their story and explain its technical innovations in as exciting a way as possible, is there any justification for the copy madness that's live on the HomePod section of Apple's website?

Setting up HomePod is quick and magical
— Apple

Sounds like sports day at Hogwarts! Does being magical make it easy to setup or do I have to learn spells and stuff?


So you get amazing sound without even thinking about it.
— Apple

Imagine not having to think about a basic human function such as hearing – what a time to be alive!


Each with its own amplifier and transducer.
— Apple

Has anyone seen the beginning of my sentence? I'm sure I left it around here somewhere.


Buffering that’s even faster than real time.
— Apple

Can anything move faster than real time? Does it have a flux capacitor?

An Apple-designed A8 chip powers the most complex audio innovations in HomePod. Like real-time modeling of the woofer mechanics. Buffering that’s even faster than real time. Upmixing of both direct and ambient audio. Beamforming so the microphone can hear you over the music. And advanced echo cancellation.
— Apple

Is the comma key broken on the Apple marketing laptop?


HomePod is wrapped in a seamless mesh fabric designed for both aesthetic and acoustic performance
— Apple

Aesthetic performance you say? Have you been drinking?


Available in white and space gray, it’s gorgeous from every angle — yet virtually transparent to the music.
— Apple

"Virtually transparent"? Looks pretty solid to me. Sorry, "virtually transparent to the music"! Of course, music is well known for its keen eyesight. Makes perfect sense.

 

And through all that – the smiles, the winces, the shock, the purest example of 'drunk marketing' I've ever read – I have to say... I'm convinced. I believe the thing is going to sound amazing. Go figure. They must be doing something right because I bought one! 

Selfie drones are here

There are many fans and detractors of selfie sticks, and while most of us here at Vivid Towers fall into the latter camp, we are absolutely ecstatic about this latest piece of tech news  a tiny selfie drone that hovers around taking impromptu snaps of you and your friends, that also doubles up as a phone case so you always have it with you. We just hope it has an auto-follow function so we can pretend we have our own personal Sparx from the Spyro series…probably won’t also collect gems for you sadly. 

The aptly named SELFLY Camera, currently seeking funds on Kickstarter, weighs less than a pound and attaches to the back of a phone case that will easily fit into most pockets. It has a battery life of just five minutes but the creator, Hagay Klein an Israeli orthodontist who packed in his day job to create the drone, testifies that this is plenty of time for a night of selfie taking. 

Check out the video below

 

 

OK Go's new video is amazing!

A little while ago we made a post about the staggering creative effort that goes in to making a burger look juicy for its billboard close ups. Well, OK Go’s new music video for their song ‘The One Moment’ really blows all of the robotic gadgetry used by burger marketeers out of the water! 

The music video, filmed in super slow-mo, stretches just 4.2 seconds worth of actual footage and extends it to last for over three and a half minutes. With over 320 discreet ‘events’ taking place in that time frame, from exploding guitars and paint pots to bandmates coming to life and lip-syncing perfectly to the song through flip books, it’s no wonder that it took the band seven weeks to make and required some incredibly high-tech robotic cameramen. 

Exactly how band frontman and video director Damian Kulash choreographed every explosion and movement to fit in with the rhythm of the song we’ve got no idea. Anyway, we’ve gone all gooey and babbled on about this video for far too long when all you want to do is watch it. Well, check out the embed below! 

5 content marketing podcasts you need to listen to


DON'T GOOGLE IT: In which publication did the term “podcasting” first appear?

There was once a time when podcasts were ignored by the majority of ITunes users. Perceived by most of us as hour long, mouth-breath heavy discussions on esoteric (nerdy) pursuits. Lauded only by Stephen Fry and that one guy in the office you always avoided mentioning the staff Friday pub lunch to.

However, this all began to change in the late 00’s when the medium was pulled into the limelight by the likes of Ricky Gervais and Kermode & Mayo who started to utilise podcasts to support their content to massive success. Today most of us have found solace on a packed commuter train on a miserable Wednesday morning by sinking into Sarah Koenig’s next gripping instalment of Serial or the musings of the QI Elves on There’s No Such Thing as a Fish.

But podcasts can do much more than entertain, there is a wealth of informative and insightful industry specific podcasts out there for all kinds of professionals; from anthropologists to zoologists (probably) with everything in between, and us content marketers are no exception. So here’s our top 5 favourite marketing podcasts that you should be listening to.

 

1. PNR with This Old Marketing

Hosted by the founder of the Content Marketing Institute and its Chief Content Strategist. Each week Joe and Robert look back in time at a historical piece of great content marketing to demonstrate that it’s not by any means a new concept. They also take a look at the latest news in the industry and have a ‘rants and raves’ segment.

 

2. The Marketing Companion

While we’re not quite sure we can vouch for their self-proclamation as “the world’s most entertaining marketing podcast” hosts Mark Schaefer and Tom Webster take a humorous look into the world of marketing in their regular podcast. Each 30 minute instalment focuses on a specific niche or aspect of the industry and features regular guest appearances.

 

3. Content Inc.

The second appearance of Joe Pulizzi on our list. Content Inc. differs considerably from This Old Marketing. In each concise (always less than 15 minutes) episode Pulizzi directs inspiration and advice towards small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups on how to use content marketing to develop a loyal audience base.

 

4. The Craft of Marketing with Seth Price

Seth is a content marketer who has consulted for over 300 companies in the world of digital marketing. In each episode of Kickstarter funded podcast Seth interviews an entrepreneur or marketing guru in-depth and picks their brain about a relevant concept of the industry.

 

5. Content Marketing Academy

Host Chris Marr’s relaxed but well researched interviews have that winning combination of being both informative yet highly listenable — throw in Chris’ own incites and opinions about content marketing and you’ve got a podcast that’s perfect when you want something to zone in and out of while working. 

Migrate 365 – a Vivid ComputerWorld launch

ComputerWorld are the UK's leading Microsoft Office 365 business migration specialists. Together with Vivid, they've launched a new website to empower businesses making the move to the cloud.
Check it out below...

Jony Ive and J.J. Abrams on creativity

Vivid Content Marketing J.J. Abrams Jony Ive

Two of the world's most gifted creatives – Apple’s chief design officer Jony Ive and the director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (as well as the mastermind behind 'Mystery Box' marketing and storytelling) J.J. Abrams – talk wonderfully about the creative process, how it never gets easier and the power of saying no.

This conversation was moderated by the Academy Award–winning producer Brian Grazer and is a 'must watch' for all creatives.

Why 2015 is the year of authentic storytelling

Vivid Content Marketing Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

Last night was date night and rather unromantically I took my wife to see Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation. I know, I know, we're late to the party. Romance-appropriate or not, it's surprisingly good! Name another movie franchise where each sequel is better than its predecessor. It's also very 2015 somehow. Which got me thinking on the way home – just what makes it so 2015? And then it hit me. It's the lack of computer effects, the real stunts, the long takes – the sheer physicality of the action. It's old school. It's authentic. Like bearded Hipsters switching to vinyl because Spotify somehow doesn't match their craft beer, this year Hollywood is moving away from CG effects and building sets, strapping actors to things and generally embracing the dust and dents of the real world after so many years of computer slickery.

Just a few weeks before Mission Impossible premiered, another franchise was stealing the show at Comic-Con 2015 by showing a video with absolutely zero new footage of its upcoming movie. It was Star Wars Episode VII, due out this December and helmed by uber geek J.J. Abrams. The subject of the video that caused nerdgasms throughout the crowd? A real desert, a real Millennium Falcon, real latex, real robots, real dirt – it was focussed on how they're making the movie with as few computers as possible to accurately match the analogue universe created by 1977's 'western in space' original (rather than the plasticy, computery 1999 second trilogy).

Watch the two videos below...

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Keeping one foot in the pre-digital world, J.J. Abrams' Comic Con showreel teaser (above) for the most anticipated film of 2015, focusses beautifully on real sets and practical effects – "everything's changed, but nothing's changed".

Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation Why do the stunts look real? Because they are real! Watch the video featurette above to see Tom Cruise really hanging off an airborn cargo plane – eight times!

Compare that to...

  Game Of Thrones  The infamous 'walk of shame' scene spliced actress Lena Headey's head with a naked body double.

Game Of Thrones The infamous 'walk of shame' scene spliced actress Lena Headey's head with a naked body double.

... the fanboy outrage thrown up by the infamous Game Of Thrones 'walk of shame' finale scene earlier this year. Fans felt cheated by the computer trickery that so convincingly blended Lena Headey's head with the naked body of a stand-in, as her character walks nude through the centre of town to atone for her sins. The motivation for filming the scene twice, first with the main actress (clothed) and again with a naked stand-in was actually honourable – Headey wanted to concentrate on her emotional performance (it is quite painful to watch) and not let the self consciousness of being starkers cloud that performance. Even with the best of creative intentions, the fans' reaction of "it's not real, we've been betrayed!" is fascinating. But what about when more than just a scene lacks authenticity?

  The Fantastic Four  A festival of CG effects and the lowest box office opening of any superhero movie of the modern era.

The Fantastic Four A festival of CG effects and the lowest box office opening of any superhero movie of the modern era.

This year's computer effects laden The Fantastic Four has been the biggest superhero disaster since 2003's Catwoman. Costing $120m to make and $80m to market, it grossed only $26m in its first weekend which effectively killed it dead. Why? 'Soulless' has been the main theme of the critics' mauling. The sets, the scenery, the characters and the relationships all feel artificial and so, surprise, surprise – the audience couldn't care less.
 

So what does that mean for brand storytelling?

Well nothing – if that it is, it's being done right. This is just a case of Hollywood catching up with the power of authenticity. But if content isn't being true to its brand (yes, we're looking at you rival agencies!) this trend demonstrates the positive power authenticity can have in Content Marketing and all spheres of audience engagement. In short, keep it real people.

Wearables – do they work at work?

Vivid Content Marketing Apple Watch Wearables

Need help convincing your boss to give you a company smartwatch? Well, one of Vivid's delightful clients, Dr Pete, recently wrote a great piece for Microscope magazine exploring whether wearable at work are merely a fad or can offer real business function?

Check it out by signing up for your monthly Dr Pete newsletter here

And if wearables / marketing are your thing, hop on over to our recent blog posts:
What the Apple Watch means for Content Marketing
and
Can a smartwatch make a day-to-day agency difference?

Vivid has another lovely new client! Won't you welcome Dr Pete (doc-doc-doc-doc Dr Pete)

vivid content marketing Dr pete newsletter

We're thrilled to welcome Dr Pete (a London-based, crack team of full service technology experts) to the Vivid family. The Dr Pete team have a wide variety of experience in all aspects of IT including: managing IT contracts, software development, cloud consulting,  IT infrastructure, IT strategy, IT architecture and more – yes, they're IT brainiacs. 

First up for Vivid is Dr Pete's fully responsive monthly email newsletter. Fancy a look?
Then sign up below.

Honey I shrunk the content – what the Apple Watch means for content marketing

vivid-apple-watch.gif

Here's the thing, Apple Watch isn't out for a month yet. Sales predictions swing wildly from one million units in year one to one million units on day one. And nobody, outside of Apple, has lived with the thing and formed patterns of use or utility yet. So, should brands harness the world's first significant wearable for first-mover advantage or wait and potentially miss the 'shiny new thing' boat?

Small display, always on (and always 'out'), wrist-activated, seven second interactions, glances, digital crown control, fitness focus, Apple Pay, taptic engine – just what the hell is the Apple Watch going to mean for the world of content marketing? Let's explore what we do know and the impact that this will have for brands and marketers.
 

HONEY I SHRUNK THE CONTENT

 The new 'Sir Glance-alot' generation will just want the facts.

The new 'Sir Glance-alot' generation will just want the facts.

In the beginning there was just content – big books, fat mags, epic movies and paperboy-crippling Sunday papers. In '97 the smartphone arrived and content quickly became ’snackable’; a couple of years later Twitter introduced us to ‘micro’ content and now, at the dawn of the ‘wearable’ age we have ‘glanceable’ content – meaningful information that only flashes up for a few seconds and must fit stylishly onto a 4cm glass rectangle. Tone of voice is about to become something of a luxury as we become experts in distilling down sheer information to its core elements. Yes, brands are going to have to become more disciplined with their messaging if they want to genuinely engage with the new 'Sir Glance-alot' (Ithankyou) generation.

Apple Watch glances Vivid agency

• E-Newsletters need a text version to be seen on Apple Watch.
• Emails must get the the point bloody fast.
• More content, across all channels, will be episodic.
• 'Below the fold' is likely to occur after 15 words.
• Twitter will be the number one news source for wearers.

• Visual tweets will take a back seat though
 

Even the simplest of apps will need to be super-economical with language and episodic with content.

 

Beacons Go mainstream
(where did the 'i' go by the way? Did we miss a meeting?)

Apple Watch beacon Vivid agency

IBeacons, or just Beacons as they now seem to be called, have been the 'next big thing' for three year now without ever really breaking though. These hyper accurate, hyper local little Bluetooth transmitters were supposed to change the way we shopped, bombarding our smartphone with irresistible in-store offers and info. And here's why the technology hasn't broken through, drum roll, we keep our phones in our pockets and bags.

With the Apple Watch constantly in contact with our skin and only a snap of the wrist away from view, those Beacon alerts might just work. Expect product information, sales offers, up-selling, cross-selling, coupons, loyalty points, free downloads all triggered from in-store Beacons to your Apple Watch. 

This personalised, intimate contact with customers is where the biggest opportunity will lie for content marketers. But it has to offer instant benefit. Regardless of the minuscule character count, any content interaction will have to inspire, inform or educate the wearer. It has to be hyper-relevant and pertinent if it hopes to trigger customer action from just a glance. But when it does – the rewards can be instantaneous thanks to Apple Pay. Picture yourself in a cinema with an Apple Watch. You're about to buy your ticket when your Watch flashes up 'Hello you, fancy two free popcorns just by pre-ordering for the new Bond film now?' You press yes, swing your wrists close to the terminal and pick up free munchies having paid for a film you were going to see anyway. You win, the cinema wins, Apple wins! Hang on, that can't be right.

We'll have more, less rambling, thoughts when Apple Watch is launched in April.
Can't wait until then to fool around with an Apple Watch yourself? Then have a play with all the apps right now thanks to the good folk at WatchAware.

apple watch sport vivid agency