The team at Plastic is on the move again – good thing we are a mobile agency! (Ya, we just did that.) This time we’re off to Mobile Day in downtown Toronto, on May 8th.
This one day event is dedicated to all things Mobile Marketing, so of course Plastic Mobile will be front stage. Our Innovation Lab is working on something extra special to show off at the event. It will be the first time it’s unveiled to the public, so you won’t want to miss it. Unfortunately, it’s classified information, so if we were to tell you any more, we’d have to sick, Brock, the office attack dog on yo – beware of a serious licking to death!
The whole event is being put together by Marketing Magazine, with some great sponsors including Plastic Mobile, Yahoo! and Google.
As someone interested in the mobile marketing space (this assumption is based on the fact that you’re reading our blog), if you’re located in or near to the Toronto area come check it out and say hello to our amazing Marketing Team.
You can even win a free ticket. Take a picture of the most random place you use your mobile device and tweet it with the hashtag #TrulyMobile. You will be entered into a draw for a free ticket courtesy of your friends at Plastic Mobile and Marketing Mag.
Enter the contest on Twitter, you can tweet us @PlaticMobile
Over the past few years, brands have been including various mobile and digital elements such as SMS, QR codes and augmented reality into their marketing efforts to drive user engagement. Last year it seemed as though mobile video was incorporated into everything. But, as we near the close of 2012 this trend appears to be slowing down. What’s the deal?
We can’t help but think that mobile advertising videos are not being implemented enough into multi-channel efforts. Marketers should be embracing this increasingly popular medium into efforts, not neglecting it.
It seems that the number one concern about mobile video advertisements is the fact that they are directly tied to your brand, so poor performance could present a huge liability that could discourage businesses from pursuing them completely.
We understand why brands are hesitant to go full-throttle with a medium that’s not fully understood. But, in this day of rapidly evolving digital and mobile mediums, advertisers and marketers need to increase their brand awareness by being creative, relevant and targeted.
Marketers shouldn’t shy away from this medium, they just need to understand performance from an end-user perspective. I mean who doesn’t love watching videos on their smartphones and tablets? Visual has an enormous potential due to the sight, sound and motion experience. It can increase ad awareness, brand association and purchase intent. Ergo, mobile video just makes good sense!
Do you want your favourite brands to pick up the pace with mobile vids? Let us know what you think @PlasticMobile.
Nowadays, with smartphone image quality nearing that of most point-and-shoot cameras, along with the inherent convenience of mobile, more and more people are using their devices as their go-to camera.
As a result of this trend, we are seeing a constantly increasing amount of photography apps popping up. These apps offer users a variety of innovative features not found in native apps. One such app is creating somewhat of a buzz latley, by offering its users an opportunity to make money doing something that they are already doing for free.
Much like Instagram, Foap allows users to create profiles, upload photos, rate photos and follow other users. AND, remarkably similar to a stock photography site, Foap has created a marketplace where photographs can be bought and sold.
That’s right! Users can actually make money selling the digital photos taken with their iPhones – capitalism wins again!
However, it should be noted that uploaded photos must first be reviewed by someone, we assume a photography expert, at Foap. So, only the approved photos are uploaded to the Foap market and put on sale for $10, with all transactions processed through PayPal.
When a user’s photo is sold, the generated revenue is split 50/50 between Foap and the user. I know $5 doesn’t sound like much, but just consider what Instagram users get for uploading their photos (hint; the answer is nothing).
It’s not very clear exactly what Foap looks for when reviewing photos, but from what I have read in the app’s FAQ section, photos must be clear and of good quality, and of course free of any sexual or violent content.
I have also read elsewhere, that editing photos decreases the chance that they will be published. I, myself was unable to upload some cropped images. I received an error message stating that either the width or length of an image must be at least 1000 pixels.
Once photos are successfully uploade, reviewed and published, they are showcased in the app’s market section. Users can access the market through a tab menu found on the home screen. The home screen is very easy to learn and navigate, making for speedy discovery and exploration of the app.
Once in the market, users are able browse through published photos, leave comments and rate them out of a possibe five stars. Top rated and recently sold photos have their own dedicatd sections in the market, while the entire selection can be found under the “Explore” tab.
Users are not actually able to purchase photos directly from the app, but I predict that will change eventually. Until that time, however, anyone wishing to purchase a photo must do so through the company’s website.
However, while viewing a particular photo, users can tap an arrow icon loacated at top right of their screens, which gives them a few options. Selecting “View on Market” will launch Safari and take users to that particular picture’s page on the website.
I have been playing around with this app for a few days now, and I must admit that I have become a bit addicted. For the purpose of this review, I actually snapped this photo and uploaded it. Once it was approved and published, my picture quickly picked up a few five-star ratings and made its way onto the top-rated chart under the “Today” category. In fact, it made it all the way to #2!
Every since then, I have been snapping away, trying repeat my accomplishment. I have introduced a few friends to Foap who are now also hooked. We’ve even mafe a friendly bet between us as to who will be the first to actually sell a photo.
Even is you have little interest in selling your images, I would still recommend giving this app a try. Foap is well designed and easy to learn and use. It can also be alot of fun and can even possibly get you paid for your amateur photography! Yay!
So far in 2012, Plastic has been a big hit in the awards circle. We have won 10 awards, and the year is only half over!
Most recently, we won a Gold award for Pizza Pizza’s iPhone ordering app at the Applied Arts Interactive awards.
And the Creativity International Media and Inteactive Awards liked us so much, they gave us four awards:
And the Horizon Interactive Awards toasted us three times for:
Pizza Pizza also brought in yet an additional two awards including a Silver from the Communicator Awards as well as an Official Honouree Award from the Webby’s this year.
We can’t wait to see what the second half of the year has in store for us, and we want to take a moment to send out a huge thanks to everyone involved in all our mobile solutions – we know it takes a village to raise a child, and we couldn’t have done it without you – you know who you are!
After reading this report on last year’s holiday shopping season, we began to wonder how many retailer’s would learn their lesson for 2012.
In November of 2011, mobile took the holiday shopping scene by storm, ravaging the purchasing stats and making a mess of retailer’s traditional approach to advertising and marketing opportunities.
The report, from JWT, is from the survey of 465 mobile shoppers and hopes to shed a little light on the potential impact of web-savvy mobile devices on retail environments, e- and m-commerce and consumer behaviour and mobile device use.
Four extremely interesting facts for retailer’s to consider when sitting down to do create their strategies for the 2012 holiday shopping season:
1. On average, 55% of consumers who shopped on mobile devices in the past year also took the same actions during the holiday season.
2. 55% used their smartphones to find price info, 46% to get more info and 38% to make a purchase.
3. Men and Millennials did the most mobile shopping during the 2011 holiday season.
4. Of those who shop on their mobile device, 69% say the mobile shopping experience is either “excellent” or “very good.”
Pending its release later this year, the new Apple OS has once again managed to incorporate features that we didn’t know we needed…until we saw them. Among many, iOS 6 features include new vector based maps, the highly anticipated PassBook app and a very convenient Do Not Disturb mode for your iPhone. Less publicized however, is Guided Access, a feature that will make it both easier with those with a vision, hearing, learning and mobility disability and educators to incorporate iOS devices in their daily routine.
VoiceOver, a screen reader first introduced in Mac OS X is now integrated with more features including maps and zoom. This will allow the visually impaired greater access to content and generally, offer more ease of use. The feature serves different functions as you change devices – for example, with every Mac computer, you can connect a braille display and VoiceOver will program the keys for you.
What’s completely new is how Guided Access plans to expand to assist parents, teachers and administrators use iOS devices in their working environments. Whether it be at home, in a classroom or on the go, Guided Access provides the functionality to better educate.
The highlighted features include:
· the ability to selectively disable portions of the device from use
· disable hardware buttons
· disable certain portions of certain apps
· transition into single app mode
These features are useful in a number of ways and for many people. For instance, in classrooms it is commonly understood that technology is more of a distraction than an asset. But with Guided Access, devices in the classroom serve as an educational tool, where teachers are provided with control as to what students can access and – more importantly – can’t access. It’s hard to cheat when you’re locked into a test!
Also, Guided Access provides an opportunity for enhanced learning experiences for those with a disability. Students can focus on the task at hand without worry of hitting mistakes.
Guided Access has has functionalities that are excellent for outside of the education space. Consider iPad kiosks, menus at restaurants and satisfaction surveys, which can all now be conducted while the user is on the go.
As our co-founder, Melody Adhami, often says, technology should help and not hinder. As Apple continues to provide us with devices that we can virtually do anything with, they continue to also increase the ease with which we do all this anything.
Everything taken into consideration, kudos to Apple once again for their efforts in equal accessibility and their efforts in revolutionizing the education system.
Love Apple’s latest efforts? Tweet us @plasticmobile and tell us your thoughts.
Yesterday, Plastic’s management and creative teams got up early to hit the links for a day of fun in the sun (and a bit of rain) at the 4th annual IAB Golf Tournament.
We brought one our amazing artists with us to hole six North. He spent the day creating custom illustrations of the teams that came through the hole.
These amazing drawings were then printed out after the tournament for the groups to pick up and display proudly in their homes or offices!
To anyone who didn’t get their illustration, please feel free to tweet us @plasticmobile and we’ll be happy to mail you your copy.
A big thanks to everyone who participated and to iab Canada for yet another successful event.
The latest in Android anti-virus, called Sophos Mobile Security, has produced a report identifying the top five most frequently encountered scary problems on the platform. The first, PJApps-C, is Android’s most significant chaos causer. See the chat above and the list below for more on Android’s scariest viruses.
Read more in depth about each of them HERE
While many people may not give a second thought to the mobile computing threats emerging as the mobile industry continues to grow and expand, there is some cause for concern. Thankfully, the company Veracode has got our backs. They’ve recently released a free ebook about mobile security that offers 10 simple ways to ramp up the company protection against a very real growing mobile threat. Get the free ebook HERE.
In light of Apple’s 23rd annual World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco this week, the talk today at our bagel Wednesday meeting, was all about the tech giant and what they did and did not unveil.
While we all know better than to speculate about what Apple will do next, there were two major expectations for this conference: a new phone and TV.
Per usual, Apple had another thought. Here’s list of the best to come and the expected items that were not actually on their list:
- A super-powered 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina display screen that offers an extraordinary 2880-pixel by 1800-pixel resolution, sharper than high-definition TV
- Software update, Mountain Lion is set to arrive next month
- iOS 6 was foreshadowed at the conference, but likely won’t arrive until at least September
- Maps app to replace Google maps
- A new iPhone 5
- An Apple TV update or new hardware
Surprisingly, Apple stock was reportedly down today – which one of our developers speculated might be because of the absence of the two big Apple products mentioned above. Tune in to our Tweets @plasticmobile to stay on top of what’s going down Southwest of us in San Fran.
This week, I want to discuss yet another Clear-like task management app. This one is different from the rest and I definitely recommend checking it out (especially if you are a fan of Clear and, well just apps in general).
If you remember, a few weeks ago I wrote about an app called Well Done, which in my opinion was a cheap knockoff of one of my all-time favourite apps (Clear). Overall, I thought Well Done showed some potential in the added functionality it offered, but failed overall because of a lack of refinement and fine-tuning.
This brings me to Task, which is another task management app that has recently come out of the woodwork following the success of Clear. Task, however, is the only app that I think can stand in the same shoes as Clear.
Task offers a simple and intuitive interface, fun gesture-based interactions and allows users to add to do items quickly and with ease.
Same Same, but Different
Yes, Task has obviously been heavily inspired by the Clear app – the similar interface and the use of some of the same gesture-based interactions are very evident. However, I believe enough significant changes were made to give the app its own unique look and feel.
For example, the colour coding in Clear, which signifies the importance of each task, has been removed and replaced with a small yellow badge that appears on a task when it is marked important, taking away the range of importance levels and leaving the user with just the options of important or not important.
The benefit of removing the colour coding is that, in some cases, it may simplify things a tad. For example, when all tasks on a list share the same level of urgency, Clear’s rainbow colour-coding loses its value and may even become somewhat of a distraction to users.
Another difference between Task and Clear lies in the manner in which users add new tasks to their lists. In Clear, users perform a downward swipe, which would pull down on the list exposing a blank task at the top. However, Task users swipe upward to expose a blank task at the bottom of the list.
While the gestures for creating new tasks are different within either app, the gestures for marking tasks as completed and for deleting tasks remain the same. However, the transitions and visual feedback cues are slightly different. The transitions in Task are reminiscent of the fold-to-unlock jailbreak.
Task users have the added ability to mark tasks with dates and set up a notification for a certain time on that day. Using this feature is very intuitive and easy. The combination of gesture-based interactions, coupled with the fold-to-unlock transition, makes this feature also very enjoyable to use.
Another little feature: Task has a nifty gesture-based interaction for checking the time and date. Users pull down on the list to see the current time and date and simply let go when they’re done.
One thing I really missed in Task was the ability to create multiple lists to better manage and organize my many tasks. Clear allows users to do just that, and also made navigating between lists easy and fun with its use of the pinch gesture.
Overall, I like Task, but not because I think it’s anything new or particularly innovative. Rather, I like Task because it’s a further refined take on something that was both new and innovative.
I think Task succeeds where others, like Well Done, have failed. Meaning, it has succeeding in re-creating Clear in a way that captures its essence (minimalist, simple and fun), offers a comparable level of UX and can still be differentiated as something relatively new.
Do you have the Task app? Tweet us @plasticmobile and let us know what you think!