Category Archives: experience

This would never fly in the US


I have to give this ad execution points for being clever. Once just highway signs and boards on top of buildings, out of home advertising has become a wasteland of wild postings and “guerrilla” tactics that are generally not visually appealing or even relevant.

But this is good. An ad for a gym in The Netherlands displays the weight of people sitting on a bench in a bus shelter. New? Check. Interesting? Check. Kind of messed up? Definitely.

Sadly, this would never work in the U.S. where we struggle with our shame at being at the top of the global list of obese citizens alongside our need to be equally tolerant and forgiving of those who may not fit some sort of social ideal.


TGI Friday’s was right


I bring my lunch to work 3-4 days a week, typically soups or frozen meals. So I’m no stranger to the disconnect between the highly stylized picture on the package and the less appealing food that gets presented to me from the microwave. To really drive the point home, this website highlights the images from a German study of packaging images with the real-life food contained therein.

Interestingly, one place that really understands how this difference can have an effect on the eater is TGI Friday’s. When I worked there about 5 years ago we were told time and time again that part of the reason we had to slice strawberries and present hamburgers a certain way is that customers expect it to look like the food in the picture. It’s true. If the strawberry margarita came out without the strawberry garnish and the sugar rim, you can bet we would hear about it. “But that’s not how it looks in the picture!” they’d say. And so we’d have to take it back and make it look like the picture.


I recall how laborious it seemed that the parsley had to be sprinkled just so on the bruschetta pasta, but damn if it didn’t come out of the kitchen looking the exact same every time. At the time I found it incredibly annoying, but now I think Friday’s might have gained a bit of competitive advantage by paying attention to details like that.

Microsoft surfaces in Vegas

Now that touch screens have hit the masses via cell phones, it looks like touch tables may be next. There has been buzz about the Microsoft Surface Tables for awhile, but it still seemed like something only tech geeks would talk about. Until now.


With Vegas hot spots like Mandalay Bay, the Palms and the Wynn stealing most of the spotlight, the Rio hotel and casino rarely makes it onto the buzz meter. But the Harrah’s owned property is making some smart decisions to earn cool points with hot new technology. According to this report on, Rio’s iBar features six of Microsoft’s Surface Tables that allow customers to use touch screen technology to do everything from watch YouTube videos, order drinks, play games alone or with friends, and even send pick-up lines and drinks to people at other tables.

Aside from custom content for Rio, several of the applications include branded content, like the bowling game using a lime to knock down empty Patron bottles.


This is a smart move for both Rio and Microsoft. Rio has a chance to gain some popularity by being a leader with this new technology and Microsoft has a much better chance of making waves in popular culture by allowing people to play with the product (why do you think Apple stores are always so crowded?).  The surface table interface clicks at the casino by delivering two critical benefits – interaction and customization:

  1. Interaction – It encourages people to further engage in an already social environment
  2. Customization – It offers highly personalized content through an entertaining and easy-to-use interface

3-D Mania


What’s old is new again. So too with 3-D technology, the relic from the early 50s. Not just sequestered in science museums and IMAX theaters, 3-D is making a huge comeback, and it’s been a long time coming. The New York Times predicted a return of 3-D back in 2002. Last month, NYT revisited the topic after it got a lot of attention at the CES Show.

Last weekend’s SuperBowl highlighted just a few examples of today’s resurgence of 3-D technology. Here is a sample of the latest offerings from TV, movies and advertising:


  • My Bloody Valentine 3D (out now)
  • Coraline (opens Friday)
  • Under the Sea 3D (Feb. 11)

Check out MarketSaw for a complete list of upcoming 3D movies.


  • Chuck episode in 3-D (NBC, aired Feb. 2)
  • A post on Craigslist in NY claims to be producing North America’s first 3-D show
  • Panasonic announced they would like to begin making 3-D TVs in 2010


When’s the last time you remembered a cab ride?

978060241_1e6ff7493e_oIt’s easy to assume that your next experience in a cab will be like every other, no matter where you are. You tell the driver your destination and sit silently looking out the window or reviewing news and/or emails on your Blackberry or iPhone. Maybe you attempt some idle chit-chat with the driver. Whatever your protocol, chances are you forgot about the ride the moment you stepped out of the car. That’s why cabs are such an easy space to make memorable.

As Arturo Trovato writes, his recent experience in a Chicago taxi got him thinking about the simple things that can make the experience so much more enjoyable and even worth talking about.

A few minutes into the ride I asked my cabbie what gives. Why are you messing with me? Turns out he had this idea one day that people need a cab ride to be something more than a way to get from point A to point B. A cab ride should be about peace of mind and tranquility; a client should feel happier after experiencing the ride. The cabbie also told me that a cab should be a place where people can share their thoughts with those who ride after them.”