Twitter has introduced a new shopping feature which lets tweeters purchase items from the musicians and companies they follow – what will you buy first? Continue reading
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New Advertising Technologies
Twitter Launches ‘Buy’ Button: Introducing New E-commerce Platform
Are You a TingleHead? The wonderful world of ASMR
The world is divided into two types of people:
those that experience ASMR, and those that don’t!
Maybe it was the voice of your first grade teacher that initially triggered a similar sensation in you? Perhaps you go to get a haircut more often than others because you feel the tingly sensation spreading all over your body, when the attentive stylist gently washes your hair.
Via Jesus Gonzalez Fonseca Blog
But all this is old news, isn’t it? Because one night, anxious and unable to sleep, you hopped on YouTube and landed on a whisper video…. And just like that you’ve discovered that others also respond in a similar way to head massages and certain voices because just like you they have ASMR.
ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It’s not a scientific name because at this time there are no studies conducted on the effects of ASMT triggers on the brain. And it makes it harder to quantify because not everyone responds to ASMR. According to Novella (2012):
“What we need at this point,” writes Steven Novella, Director of General Neurology at the Yale School of Medicine, on his Neuroscience blog, “are functional MRI and transcranial magnetic stimulation studies that look at what is happening in the brains of people while experiencing ASMR versus typical controls. Are their brains really different, and in what way? I also wonder if the same or similar experience can be artificially induced in typical (non-ASMR) people.“
Jeff Thomson (2013), the creator of a popular ASMR website, The ASMR Lab, mentions seven common triggers ASMRtists use in their films:
(2) Scratching and tapping;
(4) Turning pages;
(5) Personal attention;
(6) Touching head (for instance, head massage or hair brushing);
(7) Bob Ross! — a painter, and a star of The Joy of Painting, an American PBS program, who apparently has induced virginal ASMR responses in tingleheads across the world. Bob’s tantalizing paint-smearing technique, and his calming and positive narration that is often centers on trivialities (such as squirrels or cherry tomatoes), keeps Ross’ videos popular among tingle-hunters even after his death.
Image via FiveThirtyEight.com
And here’s an example of one of the coolest, in my opinion, ASMR videos out there:
Via ASMR Requests YouTube channel
(This blog post is modified version of a White Paper written previously by the author)
Novella, S. (2012, March 12). NeuroLogica Blog » ASMR. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/asmr/
Thomson, J. (n.d.). ASMR Triggers – Common ASMR triggers that cause tingles | The ASMR Lab. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from http://www.asmrlab.com/common-asmr-triggers/
ON WEDNESDAYS WE WEAR PINK
What movie did that come from? Um just the oh so fetch movie mean girls! Mean Girls was the movie that changed the way high school was as we now know it! Who didn’t want to be a plastic? This year marked the 10 year anniversary of the movie and this year on Wednesdays girls across the world wear pink. Many people believe mean girls might have just been a teen movie about silly girl drama in high school but it actually shed light on one pressing issue – bullying. I remember always being on the opposite end of the bullying spectrum; I was a mean girl. I was not your Regina George but I was Gretchen Weiners; I was just as guilty by association. I often think about what those people we made fun of are doing now. Are they successful? Are they married with children? Did they go to college? Most of all I think was I was wrong for not being nice to people? Or was it just apart of growing up? The thought that haunts me the most is what we had the choice to bully someone vis the internet? The reason why the thought crosses my mind is because so often we see cases on cyber bullying and bullying within the schools. Kids commit suicide or cry themselves to sleep over words that someone else says about them. Studies show that bullying has taken a different turn because of the internet and social media. In mean girls it was just three way phone calls and a burn book; now you can post embarrassing pictures, screenshot text messages and harass someone via social media anonymously (Twitter, Instagram or Facebook). Many high school girls have no way to escape because it is constantly in their face; what someone else things about them, how they look or if everyone saw that picture of them doing who knows what. Cyberbullying-–-vs-–-Bullying Many of us Gretchen Weiners never saw this an issue because we were not the ones being made fun of but bullying actually touches everyone and cyber bullying touches more kids than we know. Here are some quick facts that many people may not have know about cyber bullying but may actually changes their views on the act of cyber bullying! 1. Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. 1 in 4 has had it happen more than once. 2. 70% of students report seeing frequent bullying online. 3. Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying. 4. 68% of teens agree that cyber bullying is a serious problem. 5. 81% of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person. 6. 90% of teens who have seen social-media bullying say they have ignored it. 84% have seen others tell cyber bullies to stop. 7. Only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse. 8. Girls are about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying. 9. About 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than 4 out 10 say it has happened more than once. 10. Bullying victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider committing suicide. 11. About 75% of students admit they have visited a website bashing another student. The scary thing is that it is a trend that we follow unknowingly and have no choice to perpetuate. In this life you are either a bully or Regina George. Bullying extends way beyond high school; it follows you to college and adult life. There are mean girls everywhere! Have we not learned anything from mean girls?
Actually we have; On Wednesdays We Wear Pink!
Sources 11 Facts about Cyber Bullying. (2013, December 31). . Retrieved June 8, 2014, from https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-cyber-bullying Mean Girls. (2014, May 30). Retrieved June 8, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mean_Girls Donda, V. (2011, January 28). On Wednesdays We Were PInk. . Retrieved June 8, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6E85eO6lqQ
Social Media Double Take
With so many social media platforms out there today, and arguably each trying to take the top spot of Facebook, like it once did to Myspace back in the day, other competitors are always reinventing themselves to stay current. The latest update from Twitter is perhaps the most dramatic yet, not because it’s so unique, but just the opposite. The newest twitter change has people doing a double take, as it looks like a spitting image of what Facebook’s current profile page graphics look like.
Here is Twitter’s new look. As you can see, it’s extremely similar to Facebook, with a cover photo and profile picture in the left corner. Tweets down the middle and ads, videos, etc, on the side.
Currently Twitter is looking to expand even more as it looks to keep users and gain more in the race to stay afloat in the social media industry. Twitter has grown with every year, its major problem is just getting more basic internet users to join. In comparison, Twitter has about 240 million while Facebook boasts 1.4 billion, clearly there is a lot of ground to cover if Twitter were to try and become the most used social media tool.
Do you think this redesign will help or harm Twitter in getting a larger database of users. Personally I think it’s just too similar to Facebook and one of the reasons I like Twitter is that it’s not like Facebook. With that said, we all know how often Facebook changes its look, just the other day the motif is more square shaped and the icons have changed, some changes I found unnecessary and don’t add to my viewing experience. What’s your take?
Sloane, Garett. “Twitter’s Resign Speaks to Brands.” AdWeek. 08 04 2014: n. page. Web. 8 Apr. 2014. <http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/twitters-redesign-speaks-brands-and-users-emojis-vine-messenger-video-ads-156876>.
Google vs. Apple Ad
Today’s technology companies have to try really hard to convince the public that they’re products are a part of the human experience. The goal is to make sure that people don’t associate their products with cold mechanism, but a friendly companion to human creativity. Both Apple and Google are corporations that have been on top of their game when it comes to making commercials that showcase their products in a positive light. The two companies aim to inspire creativity by connecting their products as essential tools. In a recent Forbes article, the question of which ad is more effective despite Apple and Google both being advertising big wigs.
This first ad came from Apple’s campaign for the iPad air. This is definitely epic and the audience can feel something. In my opinion the ad provides a call to action and leaves the viewers marveling.
This next ad is a part of Google’s search on campaign which encourages people to use Google as their search engine of choice. Google really takes their search engine to the next level and emphasizes the unlimited possibilities with their product.
While both ads are pretty excellent by my standards, one ad seems a lot more connected to the audience. In the battle advertisements, Apple vs. Google, I rule in favor of Google. The two ads both astound the public and sustain a connection with the audience, but Apple puts their product on a pedestal that the average citizen just doesn’t reach. As mentioned in the Forbes article, Apple doesn’t quite prompt that attainability where Google does (Burns 2014). Apple provides a call to action, but as a consumer, I’m almost intimidated to purchase an iPad Air. The repetition of “You may contribute a verse” really puts pressure on the consumer. At least that’s what I felt when I heard it. The whole epic feel of the ad was powerful and scary. I hope that my verse is good enough even if I don’t have an iPad. On the flip side, you have Google whose strategy was to show a bunch of people attempting to learn about the process of building a story. For me Google’s ad made me feel a lot better about myself and how my capabilities could be expanded by simply typing into a search engine. I usually fall in love with Apple ads and admire them for their genius and fresh approaches, but the similarities between the ads are too close not to compare and declare Google the winner. Apple’s ad feels a little overbearing while Google’s is approachable. However in the end, they are both jobs well done.
Burns, W. (2014, March 06). Google beats apple at it’s own game: Advertising. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/willburns/2014/03/06/google-beats-apple-at-its-own-game-advertising/
Your Private Driver.
A couple days ago, I went to San Francisco to visit my friends. And part of the reason was to avoid the cold in Chicago. I’m more like a sunshine and tropical boy. Anyway, the weather and their lifestyle were pretty chill and a little laid back. Going to somewhere warmer is like the best gift ever. But as you all know, California in general doesn’t provide a good public transport system. Unlike Chicago, we have the CTA and Bus, which makes everything much convenient. The five days i spent in San Francisco, i was having doubts on how to travel to one place to another. As the taxi fare is pretty expensive in San Francisco, surprisingly!
As i was thinking to rent a car in San Francisco, Lyft and Uber came to save my life. My friend suggested the Lyft and Uber applications may help me in saving all the taxi’s fare. To an international student like me, Uber and Lyft sound really new to me. As back then in my country, Malaysia, practically everyone owns a car, and people barely call up for a taxi ride. So what exactly are Lyft and Uber?
Basically, it’s a luxury car service, in which you use your smartphone app like Uber and Lyft to book a ride. These smartphone apps are completely free of charge, except the fact that you have to register an account with your credit/debit card. As they charge the ride fare from your card. Unlike the normal taxi, you have to carry cash or sometimes your card with you to pay for the ride. A tip for those of you who wants to visit California or any other states, install both, Uber and Lyft. As you can compare both price and choose which service to use. As sometimes, either both service has discount, or sometimes, they charge you higher at night, especially to Uber. There was once i wanted to take Uber ride back to my hotel, but they told me they are charging extra at night, so i switched to Lyft where they offered cheaper fare compare to Uber. And one thing about these service is that you get a free ride on your first ride of their service. If you install two app, means that you get two free rides. 😀
Uber provides different variety of ride. If you’re going for a budget trip, they have their Uberx which you get to ride on private car to your destination. They hire locals with their car to fetch you to your destination. Based on my personal experience, i was pretty impressed by their service. The drivers were extremely friendly, they treated me as if i was their friend. And i was quite surprised by the car they used to fetch me. Most of the drivers that i got was either in Lexus or Toyota. Compare to the normal taxi vehicles, these are way better, as it’s cleaner and luxurious compare to taxi.
Uber even provides SUV and their signature black car service. Which are more luxury than their Uberx service. They use branded luxurious car, but obviously, they are way expensive compare to the Uberx. But, it’s a good choice when you’re going on a date or an event.
As for Lyft, they provide the same service as Uber. They provide private car service, and somewhat, the drivers were more friendly than Uber. I thought their marketing strategy was pretty cute. As compare to Uber, their black and classy theme. Lyft is more like a casual and young theme. I find it easier to recognise a Lyft car, most of their car has a pink moustache attached in their car. And the drivers will shout their slogan once you get into their car.
To be honest, i think the both services are equivalent good. It’s a cheaper way to get a real taxi, as it’s cheaper than the taxi fare. I think it’s a good way to save money while travelling. After all, we are still students, budget is the way it is.
Arby’s Got Its Hat Back
They say Helen of Troy had the face that launched a thousand ships. I think it is safe to say that we now have the modern equivalent: the hat that launched a thousand tweets. If you have not seen it already, the picture shown above is of Pharrell at the Grammys, sporting his now infamous hat. I remember my Twitter feed blowing up with comments on Pharrell’s hat during the Grammy’s. Amidst all of these tweets and jokes about park rangers and hiding things underneath it, Arby’s tweet stood out.
As you can see, the Arby’s joke was retweeted over 80,000 times and favorite almost 50,000 times. This clearly got Arby’s a lot of exposure for free during on of the biggest media events of the year, the Grammys. One might expect Arby’s to stop there, and appreciate the free publicity that drawing a connection to Pharrell’s hat gave them. However, Arby’s joined in the auction for his hat on ebay and bought it for a pricey $44,100. The proceeds all went to Pharrell’s charity, From One Hand to Another, which benefits children in need. After his hat sold, Pharrell tweeted a thank you, to which Arby’s twitter responded that they were glad to support the charity and to “get their hat back.” Apparently these moves were more than successful for the fast food chain. The stunt gained them 40,000 interactions on social media along with an estimated 160 million impressions. In addition, they gained about 6,000 new followers on Twitter.
Arby’s original tweet was by no means a big group effort. According to AdWeek, it was just one guy in a room. That guy was Josh Martin, Arby’s representative. Martin says that the tweet only took him a few seconds to make, aside from checking that he spelled Pharrell’s twitter handle correctly. He says that he was also the first to suggest that the fast food chain buy the hat to commemorate the social media moment.
Arby’s has been in contact with Pharrell’s people in terms of delivering the hat, however, they have not been clear as to what exactly they will do with it. Perhaps they’ll display it at their headquarters or have the CEO pose wearing it? It also remains to be seen whether Arby’s will have an increase in sales, or if their success will only be social media based. All in all, the hat seems to have a win for everyone: Arby’s, Pharrel, and those that From One Hand to Another is seeking to help.
Heine, C. (2014, March 3). Arb’ys buys pharrell williams’ hat for $44,100 . Retrieved
from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/arbys-bu williams-hat-44100-156070
Heine, C. (2014, March 7). Arb’ys dishes on awesome pharrell williams tweet. Retrieved
E Online. (Photographer). [Print Photo]. Retrieved from
Twitter. (2014, January 26). Retrieved from
Twitter and Oreos, a few of my favorite things
By Matt Gillis
It is no doubt that Twitter is taking the advertising world by storm. Essentially, the social media tool is an advertiser’s greatest gift, allowing companies to converse with their target publics, send out messages in real time, and monitor audience receptivity.
Most recently, Twitter became a more-than-successful advertising platform for one such brand, Samsung. On Sunday night during the broadcast of the 86th Annual Academy Awards, Ellen DeGeneres’s now infamous selfie with Oscar-nominated celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, and Meryl Streep, was taken with a Samsung phone and posted via Twitter. The picture became the most retweeted picture in the social media site’s history, a record that was previously held by a picture posted by President Obama of him and Michelle celebrating after his reelection in 2012.
The selfie, which has 3,311,786 retweets and counting, shows the extent to which brands like Samsung can reach potential consumers. Companies now have the opportunity to capitalize on Twitter’s successful use of interactivity by combining the advertising medium with real-world promotional tactics to reach an optimal consumer audience.
Another brand hoping for advertising success via Twitter is Oreo. After garnering widespread attention from their successful Super Bowl XLVII advertisement released on Twitter in response to the game’s blackout, Oreo is hoping to receive comparable publicity for their latest Twitter promotion.
The cookie brand is employing vending machines that will use trending Twitter conversations to create 3D custom-printed Oreo cookies. The vending machines, which were created by technology design and innovation firm Maya Design, will be featured at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in the Oreo Trending Vending Lounge.
Using each machine’s touch screen, users will be able to browse and choose from the trending Twitter flavors that include a variety of 12 cremes and colors. The user will then be able to watch as the edible cookie is built in front of their eyes in less than two minutes. Twitter users interested in the promotion can follow the Oreo conversation using #eatthetweet.
Oreo has managed to stay ahead of the advertising trends and create an innovative advertising experience that allows for ultimate consumer interactivity with the brand. Consumers are involved in creating the Twitter conversations that influence the Oreo flavors, they are able to choose the actual cookie to be created, and they can engage in conversation using the promoted hashtag.
This promotion definitely wins my personal award for best advertisement because it combines my two favorite things, Twitter and Oreos.
– Lukovitz, K. (2014, March 6). Twitter-Powered Vending Machine Creates 3D Oreos. MediaPost. Retrieved March 6, 2014, from http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/220949/twitter-powered-vending-machine-creates-3d-oreos.html
– Sloane, G. (2014, March 6). Oreo Uses Twitter to Make 3-D Cookies at SXSW. AdWeek. Retrieved March 6, 2014, from http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/oreo-uses-twitter-make-3d-cookies-sxsw-156121
Would You Give Up Your Jacket?
Sometimes it seems like Chicagoans can’t really agree on anything. But if there is anything that we can agree on, it is that it is really and truly, very, cold outside. With the weather as it is, it is pretty uncommon to see anyone outside without being dressed in at least a winter jacket, if not a full on parka, hat, and gloves. So what if you saw a child stuck outside without even a jacket? This is exactly the question that SOS Children’s Villages Norway sought to answer. Recently, they set up a hidden camera in front of a public bus stop and had a child, Johannes, sit there without a coat. The video that they released is posted below, and while the video is not in English, you can enable subtitles by clicking the closed captioning button (CC).
(“Would you give,” 2014)
The video shows multiple onlookers empathetically shared their jackets or other warm weather gear with Johannes. According to Synne Rønning, a rep from SOS, only three of twenty-five people that they encountered while filming at the bus stop did not attempt to help the boy. While the video did, in fact, showcase the kindness and empathy of strangers, it also raises the question: what is the difference between a freezing child next to you and a freezing child across the world? Rønning explained, “The goal was to touch upon the fear of becoming numb to crises that don’t affect you directly.” The video works to make the viewer put themselves in the same situation as the commuters, then reveals that they are in a similar situation, but with children in Syria.
The ad does a great job of being heartwarming without being cheesy or overly sentimental. The piano music that accompanies the commercial is not too intrusive and contributes to the overall message well. The video seems to have been effective, as of February 25, the SOS Mayday website claims to have raised 2 million kroner, or $350,000 for Syrian children. Although, it seems that the video has served better as PR for SOS Mayday, as well as simply being a heartwarming video, which judging by its twelve million hits on YouTube, has gone viral. What do you think? Has the video been successful in its goal of raising money for Syrian children or just in generating good PR? What would you do if you were in the place of these commuters?
Giantasio, D. (2014, February 20). Hidden-camera video with freezing child is a whole lot warmer than most ad stunts. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/hidden-camera-video-freezing-child-whole-lot-warmer-most-ad-stunts-155839
Sos mayday. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.sos-barnebyer.no/syriahelp
Would you give your jacket to johannes? sos children’s villages norway [Web]. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9O8j9QPZc8
Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” Returns
Lay’s Chips experienced incredible success after launching their “Do us a Flavor” campaign which began in 2012. The basic concept of the campaign was to get a bunch of new flavor suggestions from the general public in order to promote the brand. The response to the initial campaign was overwhelmingly positive so they are doing it again. Lay’s strategy to engage the public this way is genius on so many levels. Fans of the brand can unleash their creativity and feel like the winner with a grand prize of $1,000,000. This also works for Lays because they can get fresh ideas for their potato chips and also profit from the publicity of the contest. When I found out about the contest, I was immediately interested and excited about the idea. When the top three were chosen, I went to the grocery store and bought the sample bags for every flavor. Lays is on top of the potato chip industry and they have the resources to develop flavor ideas at their disposal. With the amazing resources at their fingertips combined with the creativity of the public, Lay’s is sitting on a gold mine. While there are a few expenses in developing the flavor ideas and the actual prizes, the profits from the publicity of the contest and the buzz surrounding the new flavor creates public relations exposure that becomes invaluable to the company. This year they have a catchy jingle to accompany the campaign and celebrity endorsement by Wayne Brady. The famous improv comic is using his talents to sing about submissions from the audience. Here’s one of his hilarious renditions:
The jingle is also very catchy. I really applaud Lay’s for diversifying the promotion of this year’s contest which I’m sure will be a success. The contest will go on until April and although I can’t think of any cool flavor combinations like Chicken and Waffles or Garlic Bread, I look forward to seeing what America comes up with. The runners up even receive a smaller prize of $50,000. This is a brilliant campaign with lots of fun thrown into it so I’m anxious to see what happens in April!
Exil, D. (2014, January 16). La’ys relaunches ‘do us a flavor’ contest with help from wayne brady . Retrieved from http://www.foodworldnews.com/articles/4960/20140116/lays-relaunches-do-us-a-flavor-contest-with-help-from-wayne-brady.htm
Is Google that Big?
How BIG is Google?
I’m pretty sure everyone knows what Google is and what Google does. As you know, Google plays a really large role in our daily lives. From checking our emails(Gmail) , to searching things (Google Search) that you need.
I discovered a new Youtube video that talks about Google, and their upcoming projects. Google isn’t just a company that runs the internet-related services. But they are way larger and wide than you thought. In the video, they talked about all the technologies Google has invented. And also how much money does Google has.We could probably know the surfaces of Google. However, Google has come up with many cool gadgets. Some of their inventions really do open my eyes to a whole new level.
Just as you know, Youtube is owned by Google since November 2006. Google bought over Youtube for 1.65 billion dollars. You have no idea how mind blowing youtube is. Over 1 Billion unique users visit youtube each month. You may think Youtube is purely a search engine on the internet. But anyhow, Youtube itself, it’s bigger than Bing and Yahoo. It’s one of the largest engine over the planet. Over a decades worth of video were uploaded on Youtube per day.
Boston Dynamic is currently owned by Google. They bought over this robotics design company on 10th December 2013.. Google has now own one of the most advance robotic technology in the world. No one knows why they bought this company. But, I’m pretty sure they are bringing something mind blowing to the world through this project.
Next, we have Nest thermostat. Google bought over Nest on 13th January 2014 at a cost of 3.2 Billion dollars. Nest Lab had previously created some really advance thermostat in the market. As now Google has acquired Nest Lab, you can assume your future home can be control by Android.
One of the most recent announcement by Google. On 16th January 2014, Google announced their Google specialized contact lenses. These contact lenses will provide a glucose monitoring system for diabetics using a non intrusive method.
We know that Google doesn’t stop there. They are buying stuff everyday. Bringing in more new technologies in the future. No one knows how big Google is, however, i am pretty sure there are more to come.
Coldfus Tion. (2014 February 6). How BIG is Google?. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-79uIRQiAFM
Flow by Amazon
The Amazon iPhone app introduced a new feature called “Flow” on Thursday. The idea behind the feature is to allow users of the Amazon app to shop more efficiently. Amazon explained the app in a statement saying, “It allows customers to simply move their iPhone camera over multiple items while standing in their kitchen, bathroom or laundry room, identifying and purchasing most of their shopping list in seconds.”
Flow is free. All you have to do, in order to utilize flow, is update your Amazon App. Flow’s advertising intentions are to target shoppers who are looking for everyday, household items. Flow makes shopping for mundane items an easier process. Amazon introduced a similar app called “Snap It” several years ago but the process took longer. An image was captured and had to be uploaded to Amazon through a separate process.
Salvador Rodriguez, a columnist for the Tribune, reported that the app has its flaws. “In some instances, Flow could not recognize a product, such as a pack of gum…,” writes Rodriguez. The way Flow works is it searches for logos on products in order to identify them. Harry McCracken, a writer for Time, says, “When it got confused, it usually got the company right, but not the product.”
The simplicity of the feature could influence Amazon customers to purchase more than they typically would. It makes shopping online painless, and customers won’t get as discouraged with the mundane process of buying items the customers needs.
Flow could set a new standard for online shopping. Perhaps features like flow will be the new normal for future online shopping.
by Bridget Devine
Rodriguez, S. (2014, February 7). Amazon Flow makes searching for items a breeze with an iPhone. chicagotribune.com. Retrieved February 12, 2014, from http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-amazon-flow-searching-items-iphone-20140207,0,7445470.story
McCracken, H. (2014, February 5). Amazon’s iPhone App Uses Image Recognition to “See” Real-World Products You Want to Buy | TIME.com. Time. Retrieved February 12, 2014, from http://techland.time.com/2014/02/05/amazons-iphone-app-uses-image-recognition-to-see-real-world-products-you-want-to-buy/
A lot of discussion revolves around the subject of harm versus good when it comes to advanced technology. A great deal of this sort of discussion inevitably deals with spying. Anything from our cell phones being tapped to wired internet searches, there is no doubt that technology has affected our privacy.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Kaspersky Lab security researchers released details about a secret, spying organization known as “The Mask.” The official name of the Spanish-speaking group is “Careto” which translates to “The Mask.”
Kaspersky Lab is an international computer security company based out of Russia. Researchers at Kaspersky Lab first discovered “The Mask” through emails the spy organization was sending to random users. “The Mask” would send out emails with fake links to major sites. The links would install malware to the receiving computers that allowed “The Mask” to obtain documents like encryption keys.
According to researchers, “The Mask” has been operating since 2007. The purpose of the group is not exactly clear. They are likely working for a government. This can be inferred due to the group’s advanced operations. The big unknown in the situation is the nation that they are working for.
Kaspersky Lab researchers began their investigation on “The Mask” about a year ago. Last week, as Kaspersky Lab’s report was being published, “The Mask” went offline and discontinued their operations. It is possible and likely that the group will come back and do things a little differently so it will take new efforts to detect the actions of “The Mask.”
Most people are aware that their internet searches may not be private and their calls could be tapped, but Kaspersky Lab’s report brings this issue to a new level – our level. The ethics behind this kind of spying is a major debate, but possibly, out of our control. As technology advances, who knows how far spying could be taken and how much privacy we will be entitled to.
By Bridget Devine
O’Brien, C. (2014, February 10). Meet “The Mask”: Possibly world’s most advanced computer spy outfit. chicagotribune.com. Retrieved February 12, 2014, from http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-meet-the-mask-possibly-worlds-most-advanced-cyberspy-outfit-20140210,0,7781938.story
Everyone remembers having to take health class at some point in their education. It seemed like every health class that I took included at least a few weeks of drug and alcohol education. Often, that meant warnings about the dangers of everything from methamphetamine to prescription drugs with an assortment of personal testimonies, medical proof, and scare tactics. Some non-profits even put anti-drug advertisements on television. Take for example the Above the Influence ad below, in which a teenaged girl’s dog asks her to stop smoking pot.
(“Anti Weed Commercial”)
With the recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington a debate has risen as to whether or not it is ethical to advertise marijuana. The photo pictured below was emailed from a medical marijuana dispensary in Rhode Island advertising Christmas promotions and discounts.
However, recently the Attorney General, Peter F Kilmartin, released a statement explaining his stance strongly against advertising medical marijuana: “Can you imagine the public outcry if the local pharmacy started offering [half] off Oxycontin or medicinal drugs?” and explained that, “Compassion centers should be held to the same standard and should be prohibited from offering discounts or sales on medicinal marijuana” (Malinowski, 2014). I think that I generally agree with the Attorney General on advertising medical marijuana. However, I understand that the company was also probably trying to make their product more affordable for its customers that can legally buy it.
But what about the advertising of recreational marijuana in the states where it is legal. Understandably, there are restrictions on advertising tobacco products due to their danger to both the user’s health and to the health of those around them, with secondhand smoke. However, there seem to be fewer restrictions on the advertising on alcohol. The questionis, how will the advertising of marijuana be regulated, if at all? Denver, Colorado actually banned the outdoor advertisement of medical marijuana back 2012 (Wyatt, 2012).
According to CBS News’ website, ad agencies have begun preparing for advertising marijuana when/if it becomes legal. Although it seems that campaigns targeting “stoners” are already out there, like Taco Bell’s “Fourth Meal” campaign, which targeted young people with “the munchies”. Clearly, ad agencies will have to overcome obstacles like stereotypes and anti marijuana campaigns if they want to reach out to demographic groups outside of “stoners” (Kennedy, 2014). All in all, it will be interesting to how just how marijuana will be advertised in the future.
Anti weed commercial. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Kennedy, B. (2014). Ad agencies prepare for the legal marijuana market. Retrieved from
Malinowski, W. (2014, February 5). Medical marijuana advertising stops after r.i.
attorney general questions practice. Retrieved from http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20140205-
Wyatt, K. (2012). Medical marijuana ads under attack in denver. Retrieved from
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