This week is a varied collection of resources. Topics include a look at Japan, Europe’s leading economies, the growing role of mobile, Tesla’s sharing of its intellectual property, collaboration across different industry, rising costs in the tertiary sector and the role of the European white working class. I hope you enjoy it.

David Pilling looks at the intertwined relations of Japan and China in their role of neighbours and competitors and how this reflects Japan’s self image.

Europe’s ten most competitive economies according to the World Economic Forum, with the Nordics definitely coming out ahead.

Europe2020 Competitiveness ReportMarc Andreessen argues that we don’t need to worry about robots eating all the jobs, with technology based innovation providing greater opportunities for modern society.

GlobalWebIndex looks at what devices we are using to get online, PC still on top but mobile growing.

GWIGrowing signs of mobile’s significance as key markets within Europe pass 50% smartphone penetration market according to eMarketer figures.

Smartphone Penetration Europe

The growing penetration of smartphones is reflected in rapid forecasted growth in mobile data and mobile ecommerce reported on in the Ericsson Mobility Report.

Mobile data growth

Mobile Commerce Growth

Whilst they say a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes a words are more appropriate. Econsultancy have pulled together a strong collection of quotes looking at mobile and mobile marketing.

In today’s modern world, people are either asleep or connected.

Janice H. Reinold, Rosetta Marketing

Bubba Murarka looks at the current and future evolution of mobile advertising which he sees as happening over three stages.

Gartner Digital Marketing Transit Map is over a year old now but provides a window into increasingly elaborate world

Gartner Digital Marketing Transit Map

Intellectual property is viewed by many companies as an important economic moat, providing a barrier against encroaching competitors. So it’s been interesting to see commentators response to Tesla Motors sharing its electric vehicle technology, with Sarah Gray pointing out that the brand’s competitor could be more readily defined as petroleum powered car sector rather than other brands’ electric powered vehicles.

Whilst a lot of attention is currently being given to social media, you need to also bear in mind the capabilities of search and email marketing, as reflected in Custora research publicised on Pamorama.

Acquisition Channel Growth

Box have surveyed different industry sectors collaboration pointing to the fact that one size doesn’t necessarily fit all forms

Industry Collaboration

Tertiary education appears to be on an inexorable growth in costs which Thomas Frank takes a critical look at. This growth in costs is putting a university education out of reach of more and more people and is leaving the sector ripe for disruption from organisations like Coursera and Udacity.

Education Inflation

Simon Kuper looks at Europe’s white working class in light of the surging popularity of anti-immigration populists in the European elections drawing on research from the Open Society Foundations.

The Howard Griffin Gallery is fast turning into one of my favourites, with an interesting selection of artists and an intelligent use of their space on Shoreditch High Street. The Bob Mazzer exhibition is no exception.


The featured image is a piece by Matt W. Moore from Brooklyn, New York.

Digital Diet: life without a smartphone

I have been using a Samsung Galaxy S2 as my mobile phone for the last couple of years and is currently running the Jelly Bean version of Android. It’s hardly at the cutting edge of handset technology lacking BLE, NFC, 4G or a quad-core processor but it does provide the fundamentals we associate with a smartphone.

Unfortunately my phone decided to get stuck on the Samsung logo splash screen  on Friday leaving me suddenly without a functioning smartphone. I am currently making do with a Nokia 1209 whilst the Samsung gets repaired. The Nokia phone was first launched in 2008, although its range of functionality suggests the date could easily have been the turn of the century.

This change of situation has provided an important illustration to me of the fact that my phone is rarely used for the traditional uses of phone calls or text messages. Below are the functions I’m really missing:

Pocket: Having a long queue of articles means that I don’t need to carry a book around with me for those downtimes when you need something to read.

Tinder: For me, Tinder has injected a bit of fun back into online dating compared to the more traditional alternatives (OkCupid etc). There are some key differences  that stand out for me:

Less information is provided on users profiles so there’s less opportunity to spend hours pondering ‘is this the one’ (flip side to the coin is you do end up sometimes reading too much into people’s profile photos).

The  process of approving or rejecting a user for mutual communication is easy to do and has a game like quality (did someone say gamification) .

You don’t hear whether a user has seen your profile and you are only notified if a user approves of the match, which removes some of the  waiting on tenterhooks I sometimes associate with online dating.

Another characteristic that makes it stand out is the fact that the service is mobile only. This makes for a difficult situation if you need to get a message to a fellow Tinder user when your mobile stops working, as I found over the weekend. Asking friends whether you can borrow their smartphone and download the Tinder app got some interesting responses…

Camera: I’ve long since given up on carrying my compact camera around. The camera on the Samsung Galaxy S2 is far from brilliant but it’s more than good enough in most situations and its integration with Google+ Photos means that photos are quickly available from your desktop – something that Apple looks to be moving towards with its recent announcements at WWDC.

Instagram: My Instagram account, provides a complement to Google+ with photos that are typically more visual and less social in nature.

Google Maps: After having Google Maps for the last 6 years on my phone, going back to the old A-Z paper maps seems like going back to the dark ages.

SwiftKey: Predictive text has a comparatively long history but technology has come a long way since the T9 of early mobile phones. Android’s embracing of third party keyboards has led to a flourishing array of different providers and its encouraging to see Apple now embracing this approach.

Fingers crossed, I will be receiving a phone call soon confirming that my smartphone is now back up and running, but in the meantime I am readjusting to life without being constantly connected.

The featured image is a collaborative piece by Okuda and Remed in the Wynwood district of Miami, Florida and was found on StreetArtNews.

Messages that Resonate

This is part of an irregular series of blog posts looking at marketing communications which have caught my attention. This will complement Thought Starters which will look more at trends, strategies and ideas.

Red Bull is a leader in the world of branded content and it continues this approach with the latest Danny MacAskill short film and accompanying microsite set in the desolate Argentinean village of Villa Epecuén…with the obligatory shots of Danny swigging on a can of Red Bull.

A microsite was created to help raise funds for the 2014 ANZAC Appeal, whose centrepiece was the recording of a minute of silence. Australians were able to show their support for returned servicemen and women by paying for a download of the minute silence through a text or phone call. More information on the initiative over at Campaign Brief.

Minute of Silence

Sony takes a visit to the world’s largest model railroad, uses video and microsite to publicise its QX100 camera range. This all makes for an enchanting visit to another world whilst also amply demonstrating the product’s capabilities.

In another case of a brand wanting to demonstrate a camera’s potential, Nokia partnered with Paul Trillo to develop the Lumia Arc of Wonder which led to the intriguing video below. You’ll get some sense of how much effort went into producing it in the Behind the Scenes video.

visitBerlin commissioned an installation along the Berlin Wall which projects images only when visitors take photos with a camera flash. A great way of enhancing a visitor experience and brings to mind Museum of London’s Streetmuseum app, although my opinion would rapidly change if it was a more commercial message (eg Big Mac around the corner at Alexanderplatz branch of McDonalds).

The Japanese salarymen (and women) are known to occasionally overindulge on a nights out which has the unintended impact of leaving people sleeping on the streets. In a case of ‘name and shame’, a campaign has turned sleeping drunks into PSA announcements — framed within a square of white tape and adorned with the hashtag #NOMISUGI. Not a situation you’d want to see yourself publicised in on a friend’s Instagram feed.

UNICEF New Zealand looked to illustrate the plight of children in need by targeting photographers of food porn on Instagram. A great way of leveraging people’s curiousity about strangers following them on social media.

Audi used RFID tags to deliver personalised messages to drivers with digital outdoor media assets. Another indication that we’re getting closer to the Minority Report vision of personalised advertising.

Mercedes-Benz has partnered with Nintendo to offer consumers a DLC (downloadable content) pack for Mario Kart 8 that will enable gamers to hop behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz. A case of looking outside the usual media channels to increase consumer exposure.

Another interesting partnership to emerge recently can be seen with Jaguar and Pinarello working closely together. Both are sponsors of the Team Sky cycling team and Pinarello is now taking advantage  of Jaguar’s expertise in computational fluid dynamics to finetune its latest offering. A win-win scenario, with one party comes out with an improved product and the other party having a public display of its expertise which is getting them both a lot of coverage in the cycling press showing that sponsorship can go much deeper than simply financial support.

Thanks to FWA, AdWeek, The Inspiration Room and Campaign Brief for the heads up on these campaigns.

The featured image is a piece by Aryz in Lagos Portugal for the ARTURb ’14 Street Art Festival and found on StreetArtNews.