Contagious Magazine’s Now/Next/Why: the fourth dimension of time

 Catherine Aylward, Media Group Manager, went to Contagious’ Now/Next/Why event in London recently. Here’s what she thought:

Image via Contagious Magazine

Image via Contagious Magazine

A couple of weeks back, Anjali and I went to this year’s Contagious: Now, Next, Where conference, where unexpectedly they took us on a journey into the fourth dimension of time… no not anything Dr Who related, but definitely worthy of In Time (everyone’s favourite Justin Timberlake movie!).

They encouraged us to think of brands as interfacers, not interactions.  Brands are the device we use to reach our audiences with and the enablers for the conversation – they aren’t the conversation in their own right.   The best way to connect is to feel our audiences’ pain and then become part of the solution to easing that pain.

So with that in mind, Contagious then took us on a journey into the fourth dimension of time.   In the connected world, we can finally explore this fourth dimension to create (using the best phrase of the day) ‘manufactured serendipity’ and jeopardy.  For example, show our potential customers timely and messages with offers by linking digital outdoor with mobile – and then making them run to their nearest store or restaurant to redeem the offer.  If they don’t run fast enough, they don’t get the offer.  They showed examples of McDonalds, where if you made it to closest restaurant quickly enough they gave you a free ice cream on a hot day and another example of a trainers store in Brazil where the quicker the potential customer got there the bigger the discount they achieved.  In both cases they scanned a digital poster with their phones to access a voucher in an app which used their phone’s GPS to direct them to their closest store and had a countdown clock to when the voucher ran out – if they got there too late they lost out!  OK, so maybe this is creating pain for customers rather than just feeling it, but who wouldn’t run for an ice cream on a hot day or leg it through a shopping mall to get 95% off a new pair of trainers- JT certainly would!

There was another lovely example of the Art Series Hotel chain in Oz which ditched the check-out time, so if they didn’t have a new guest lined up ready to go for a room, they let the existing guest stay on free of charge until they did need the room back – whether that was 4pm the same day or even three days later.  This generosity with time meant the guests who stayed on spent on the minibar or room service, and when they went home they would tell their friends how amazing the hotel was.  It also generated huge levels of PR, so win-win all round.

They also talked about giving time and making transactions easier by creating new currencies (especially good in a country with an unstable currency), including where that is literally the case with Vodafone in Egypt where airtime tokens were given instead of small change in local shops.   In the new world, we as brands can give time too (spooky).

This got me thinking… how about digital 6s in malls with cinemas and offering cut-priced tickets for a movie that’s about to start in a nearly empty cinema?   Or Expedia flash sales on Digital OOH and online when there is excess capacity on a plane to a particular destination?

Definitely endless opportunities to explore the final frontier (oh, sorry wrong film metaphor but you get where I’m going!)

Happy time planning…

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