How to Integrate New Gadgets Launching in 2012

Our hunger for toys and tools that entertain and increase fluidity in our multi-gadget life will be satiated this year. This translates into even greater fragmentation of our audience’s time and attention, which means we as marketers need to be ever more integrative and far-sighted in the way we build brand experiences.

While America will experience the bulk of these technological innovations, we predict that three will have the greatest impact on Singaporean consumers. Here are our picks and how you can harness them into your communications.

1. Battle of the Smart TVs

What is happening?

If 2011 was the year of the tablets, then 2012 will see the battle of the smart TVs.

Smart televisions essentially have in-built Internet streaming capabilities that allow surfing and program selection. Users can create video playlists, click on JLo’s dress and buy it immediately on and upload images on Facebook using the television. What Americans could get on their desktops via Hulu and Netflix, Singaporeans can finally get in their living rooms.

LG announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 that it will launch its LG Smart TV, which comes with a six-button controller similar to Nintendo’s Wii controller.  In Q1 2012, Samsung announced that its Smart TV, in addition to surfing, would include new gesture and voice-control TV, possibly allowing the television to be customizable depending on which member of the family commands it.

With Google TV and Apple iTV also in the pipelines, who knows what else the humble boxset will include!

What does this mean for marketers?

Our television and cable TVC spots will see fewer eyeballs when selective programming is prevalent. Whilst advertisers are increasingly comfortable with online display advertising and search, only a few have ventured into pre-rolls on YouTube since its Singapore launch in October 2011. Online video advertising and creative manifestations of this will have to be part of the communications plan. Our agency has already moved key clients like Proctor & Gamble and Mars-Wrigley to an approach called video neutral planning, where reach and frequency is calculated across television, cable and pre-rolls.

2. Digital Stamping

What is happening?

Singaporeans were jokingly termed “chicks” by Minister Goh Chok Tong because of our love for “cheep-cheep” discounts. Local start-ups have devised ways of digitalizing stamp cards, which are used to collect loyalty points from retailers.

Since November 2011, launch of mobile apps like Perx, PointPal, Squiryl, GSpot, and Hachicode have launched, with over a hundred merchants coming onboard, including Subway and Coffee Bean. Users download this app and swipe a QR code when making payment at the retailer’s cashier. A stamp appears in their app, akin to a chop stamped onto a loyalty card. Apps are fighting to differentiate themselves with benefits like lucky draws, points swapping with friends and location-based functions.

What does this mean for marketers?

This is a nod in the direction of e-wallets and declutter of physical possessions. Multi-brand companies stand to benefit the most from this, as it offers a huge opportunity to incentivise cross-brand usage, especially as accumulated stamps can suggest certain needs of user. Small-medium enterprises can also gain more visibility as they rub shoulders with established merchants on these app lists. However, digital stamping apps will serve mostly to reward existing tech-savvy customers, rather than create new customers.

3. New-Aged Toys

What is happening?

Check the Facebook page or blog of any parent with a child under 6-years old and you’ll see photographs of their toddler pretending to dial on or watching videos on a smart phone or tablet. Yes, our $700 device is now a baby’s chew toy.

Apps targeted at children have been profitable, with Where’s My Water by Walt Disney the top paid app behind What’s App and Angry Birds merchandise the No. 1 seller in Christmas 2011. FisherPrice is selling a child-proof smart phone casing called the Laugh & Learn Apptivity Case. Mattel has also demonstrated a new Barbie doll that has a built-in camera and screen to permit videos to be uploaded on Facebook.

What does this mean for marketers?

Consider this if you are a baby brand: Which gift-with-purchase would appeal more? A free rattle or a plush toy that protects your iPhone screen from drool and trains your child’s motor skills? Advertising to parents also has a new avenue beyond parenting magazines and forums. Children edu-tainment apps and technology-infused toys will be the next playpen badge of honor among proud parents.

Three technological advancements that will evolve the way we view, collect, and play this year. How will you evolve your communications plan to ensure you are creating a relevant brand experience?

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