Life's meaning? Project crowdsources the big question

Marc Erlbaum has produced a movie starring Will Ferrell, and now he's ready for a little more heady project -- crowdsourcing the search for the meaning of life.

Erlbaum and his company, Nationlight Productions, were part of the team behind the acclaimed 2010 Ferrell flick "Everything Must Go," but for their latest project, they're turning to crowd-funding site Indiegogo and the whole of humanity rather than just Hollywood. While Erlbaum's team plans to make a documentary of their search for the meaning of life, that's not the main product Nationlight is looking to create through the campaign. Instead, here's how they describe the goal:… Read more

RIM apologizes for BlackBerry outages

New Facebook interaction added to eBay, Siri has some quirky answers, and BlackBerry service is restored, but will there be compensation for down time?

Links from Thursday's episode of Loaded:

BlackBerry back to normal, but will RIM do anything to make it up to customers? Report: AOL considering merge with Yahoo eBay adding new Facebook interaction Stanford develops Braille tablet app Siri, who's your daddy? Subscribe:  iTunes (MP3)iTunes (320x180)iTunes (HD)RSS (MP3)RSS (320x180)RSS HD

How badly do the new Kindles hurt B&N?

For the last several months, Barnes & Noble had a nice winning streak going. Its $249 Nook Color tablet had been selling very well since its launch last October and its more recently released $139 Nook Touch was considered by many critics, including CNET, the top e-ink reader available--until today, anyway.

Of course, we, like everyone else, were waiting for Amazon's Kindle counterattack, suspecting it had some pretty good stuff up its sleeve. Lo and behold, in many ways it delivered exactly what we were expecting, but what surprised us was how aggressively it priced its new Kindles. … Read more

iFlow Reader developer rages at Apple (Q&A)

CNET ran a story yesterday about BeamItDown Software, the start-up behind the iFlow Reader app for iOS, offering harsh words for Apple as it felt forced to shut down. In a note to customers, the Irvine, Calif.-based company said its demise was due to Apple's "mid-game rule changes that make it impossible for anyone but Apple to sell e-books at a profit on iOS."

I was struck by the candidness of the remarks and decided to track down BeamItDown's co-founder Dennis Morin for a follow-up interview. Morin has been an entrepreneur for a number of … Read more

Meaning-driven brands: A list of visionaries/sensemakers/disruptors/game changers/contrarians

As the world slowly emerges from the economic gloom, and the “hyper-social real-time Web” requires new organizational designs, it’s clear that business as usual will not be so usual anymore. Yet fundamental concerns remain, both for business leaders, who face the challenge of innovating in a hyper-transparent and always-on environment, and for consumers, who are increasingly searching for noneconomic values amid the shattered trust in business and the information overload. Smart companies recognize the historic opportunity to transform the way they do business and provide customers with more value-rich, sustainable, and meaningful products, services, and business models. From “un-entitlement” … Read more

On the Eve of Marketing 2.0, the Dawn of Marketing 3.0?

I'm en route to the Marketing 2.0 conference in Paris, one of the most respected gatherings of marketing executives presenting and discussing the latest trends in their field. In a way, the story of the conference is the story of marketing itself. The somewhat yesteryear name indicates that a few years ago, when Marketing 2.0 premiered, it was conceived as a forum for pioneers who were early on embracing digital marketing and social media. Times have changed. What used to be at the fringes of the profession has moved into the mainstream, and both program and attendees of Marketing 2.0 reflect that. That's not a bad thing. Digital marketing IS marketing, social media IS media. You would think...… Read more

Software nightmare

We are of the humble opinion that Mystic Board publishes some of the worst software available on; they are almost without exception poorly designed and utterly useless. Nonetheless, we always try to approach each program with an open mind and a positive attitude. So we did with MB Dream, but to no avail. If anything, this program is one of the worst of the worst, and that's saying something.

MB Dream bills itself as three programs in one, containing sections for Dream Interpretation, Dream Dictionary, and Inner Dreams Number. We started with Dream Interpretation, which is set … Read more

Mini Cooper grabs attention in Amsterdam

Effective marketing is all about being remarkable. The new Mini Cooper campaign in Amsterdam is a good reminder of the golden rule: you create brand value when both your product and your campaign are being talked about.

1. Lean into the frame (hijack existing attention capital, in this case the street public);

2. Be disruptive (not necessarily provocative or intrusive). In other words: challenge people's routine by introducing an element of surprise;

3. Highlight your core brand attributes (in this case, and overall in the "age of micro," this actually and literally means making them "smaller … Read more

Time for marketing innovation 2.0

For the first time in 23 years, Pepsi has decided to not run any advertisements during the Super Bowl. Instead, the nation’s second-biggest soft drink maker is plowing marketing dollars into its "Pepsi Refresh Project," an online community that lets Pepsi fans list their public service projects, which could range from helping to feed people to teaching children to read. Visitors to the site can vote to determine which projects receive money. The program will pay at least $20 million for projects people create to "refresh" communities. Last year, Pepsi spent $33 million advertising products such as Pepsi, Gatorade, and Cheetos during the Super Bowl, according to TNS Media Intelligence, $15 million of it was on Pepsi alone. Ad time last year for the NFL championship game cost about $3 million for 30 seconds, on average. Pepsi spokeswoman Nicole Bradley said Super Bowl ads don't work with the company's goals next year: "In 2010, each of our beverage brands has a strategy and marketing platform that will be less about a singular event and more about a movement." Pepsi's remarkable decision epitomizes the new paradigms of marketing: Online instead of TV; many-too-many instead of one-too-many; engagement instead of advertising; sharing instead of broadcasting; movements instead of events; communities instead of campaigns.… Read more

Going human with Shy-Tech

I attended the Trendforum in Munich last week, a two-day conference that gathered European innovation, marketing, and R&D executives to explore emerging technologies, social trends, and innovative business models. The program was eclectic and the content mostly of high quality. I was particularly intrigued by the opening session that intersected macro-economic forecasting with geeky trend evangelism as well as a humanistic pledge for meaning-driven business (in fact, the other sessions didn’t even come close, including special guest Ray Kurzweil, whose remote keynote, given by way of 3D-holographic projection, remained utterly flat).

As the first speaker, Markku Wilenius, … Read more