It’s hard to believe that Microsoft Windows has been around for 25 years, but it has. To mark the anniversary and the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft has revamped the Windows logo with something that is cleaner and simpler. Gone are the wavy boxes and old type. In is a simple colored grid and Segoe as the new font. Below is a video highlighting the new logo and how that new look integrates with other product lines, There is also a series of images that apply the new Microsoft logo aesthetic to other famous brands just for fun.
VW Electric Café. Augmented Reality, That Seems a Bit Surreal.
There are a couple of things that struck me when I saw this video on YouTube. First it’s a great use of Augmented Reality to advertise the thrifty nature of the VW Electric Golf. Second, it is how absolutely Western the setting, and people look. The Chinese people, not the token white guy in the video.
I know there is a huge fascination with western culture in China, and especially all things American, but Ogilvy Beijing and Ogilvy Hong Kong took it to a new level by using only English language titles in the Augmented reality application, and by making the only place the application functions a café that feels like a cross between an Apple store and a Starbucks.
The Augmented Reality app “Electric Café” from Volkswagen, was setup to educate and inspire people in China about how energy efficient the VW Electric Golf actually is in comparison to other electric appliances they use every day.
The café is peppered with AR markers on each of the appliances that are in the Café space.When an iOS device is pointed at any of the markers the AR experience comes to life and shows a comparison between the appliance, and how far you could drive the Golf based on the amount of juice that appliance uses in a day. It’s a pretty clever idea, and one that I wish I knew more about that strategy behind. I’d be really curious to see what the thinking was behind the very western execution of this.
By the way, is it just me, or do all of the people in this video look like they were just plucked out of some mid-western shopping mall in America.
Starbucks Interactive Storefronts.
I have been a big fan of interactive window displays for some time now. When they are placed in the right location with a proper amount of foot traffic the results can be really positive. So I am sure that this new campaign for the Starbucks rewards program being tested in Toronto and Vancouver will be a hit. Both cities have good urban density with high volumes of foot traffic. Conditions that are ideal for interactive storefronts and interactive widow displays.
The interactive windows provide a touch screen experience that is built around the the Starbucks Stars. When the stars are touched various deals and rewards are surfaced to promote the new rewards program, and hopefully drive traffic into the store itself. The interactive window provides communication about the program, and also extends brand reach by using the stars from the famous logo to help reinforce the brand.
By the look of the video, the interaction is pretty much single sided, and really functions as high tech advertising. This isn’t bad, but I do think that BBDO could have pushed this with a smartphone application that interacts with the signage, or provides immediate rewards. I’m also surprised that there isn’t a direct hook into social networking applications like Foursquare, Facebook, or Twitter.
None the less it is a really piece by BBDO Toronto, Blast Radius and The Media Merchants.
Bloom Box: a power plant for the home
Today, K.R. Sridhar a former NASA employee will officially unveil what he and his company Bloom Energy have been working on in virtual secrecy for the last 4 years. The Bloom Energy power box.
With the help of an estimated $400 million in private funding, Bloom Energy took technology from an oxygen generator meant for a scrapped NASA Mars program, and converted them into refrigerator sized fuel cell power units that are currently being used by corporate clients like Walmart, FedEx, Ebay, and Google.
The corporate-sized cells cost $700,000 to $800,000 and are installed at 20 customers you’ve already heard of including FedEx and Wal-mart — Google was first to this green energy party, using its Bloom Boxes to power a data center for the last 18 months. Ebay has installed its boxes on the front lawn of its San Jose location. It estimates to receive almost 15% of its energy needs from Bloom, saving about $100,000 since installing its five boxes 9 months ago
Bloom Energy’s design feeds oxygen into one side of a cell while fuel (natural gas, bio gas from landfill waste, solar, etc) is supplied to the other side to provide the chemical reaction required for power. The cells themselves are inexpensive ceramic disks painted with a top-secret green “ink” on one side and a black “ink” on the other. The disks are separated by a cheap metal alloy, instead of more precious metals like platinum, and stacked into a cube of varying capabilities — a stack of 64 can power a small business like Starbucks, or more importantly, a small home. According to Bloom, two units could power a large American household greater than 3000 square feet. Pretty impressive don’t you think.
Bloom makes about one box a day at the moment and believes that within 5 to 10 years it can drive down the cost to about $3,000 to make it suitable for home use.
I can’t wait for the official announcement and press release to see where this going. I think this is one of the more exciting green energy announcements from the last few years. Last Sunday there was a full interview with Bloom Energy on 60 Minutes. You can see the video here.