Serial games entrepreneur and sometimes angel investor Dylan Collins has a new project, which he no doubt describes as “awesome”. Aiming to help solve the discovery problem faced by physical and digital products targeting the fickle market that is kids, the aptly named Box Of Awesome is like a free Birchbox for 13-14 year-old children, stuffed with games, music, books, and other kid-friendly stuff. The draw for brands who pay for space in each bi-monthly box is the opportunity to be discovered by influencers in that hard to reach demographic.
To that end, I’m told that the startup has already amassed 30,000+ subscribers in the UK, where it is initially launching, and will begin sending out the first Box Of Awesome’s at the end of this month.
The idea for the service was born out of Collins’ experience in the games industry and most recently as Chairman of boys online game Fight My Monster. He realised that the challenge of targeting 13-14 year-old kids isn’t just creating content that resonates with them (before they move on to the next cool thing), but actually getting their attention in the first place. It’s a familiar problem faced by products in many markets: the barriers of distribution are much lower online, but discovery is now a lot harder as supply beats demand.
One way to think about how Box Of Awesome is tackling this problem is akin to ‘give aways’ found on the covers of children’s magazines. And in fact, the scale that the company is gunning for in the UK is at least on par with that model, which it is directly competing with.
In order to maintain the element of surprise — in a call with Collins my reaction to his pitch was to describe the concept as “like Christmas every other month” — the company is remaining tight-lipped about what exactly is in its first box. When pressed, however, Collins had this to say: “We’ve got a range of brands, so quite a bit of variety across the boxes, including major book publishers, collectibles (cards and figures), two music labels, two games publishers and one clothing company. And it’s not just about big brands. What’s really cool is that we’re also bringing two completely new companies to our community in the first box.”
In other words, should Box Of Awesome pan out, it could potentially be a way for startups to not only use the service to help launch, but also to piggyback the bigger brands that make up the majority of the box and provide the pull to get kids interested in the first place. Presuming, of course, that the expense isn’t too prohibitive; currently it’s the brands that pick up the tab, though it’s conceivable that if there is enough demand a paid-for subscription model could be adopted to help soften this.
“Fundamentally, we’re curating a collection of genuinely awesome products for our community so it’s a great way of mixing established and new”, adds Collins.
Alongside Collins, who is funding the startup via his private equity vehicle OMAC Investments, Box Of Awesome is co-founded by Nic Mitham, a virtual worlds marketing consultant.
Prior to Box Of Awesome, Collins has founded and sold three companies: Jolt Online Gaming (acquired by GameStop), DemonWare (acquired by Activision Blizzard), and mobile messaging company Phorest (acquired by MBO).
Read the original post: Box Of Awesome Is Like A Free Birchbox For Kids Stuffed Full Of Games, Books, Music, And More
After this year’s Super Bowl, there were a number of articles proclaiming that Twitter had “won” the event thanks to the general explosion in usage, as well as the prominent use of hashtags in many of the TV ads. But today Facebook is sharing some numbers of its own — and yes, it’s still an enormous source of conversation around big events.
The most recent data is around the Grammy Awards last night. Facebook says that there were a total of 43 million likes and comments made around Grammy-related content. That’s supposed to represent the reach that Facebook can offer: It’s not measuring how many posts mentioned the Grammys, but instead the ripple effects of those initial mentions as people’s friends and followers engaged with them. (If you want an incredibly detailed breakdown of what people were actually talking about, you can read more here. And while I don’t really see a way to directly compare the numbers, you can see some of Twitter’s Grammy statistics here.)
More interesting from an advertising perspective are the numbers from the Super Bowl. Twitter announced last week that half of the national ads included hashtags, and that those hashtags were mentioned 300,000 times on the day of the game.
Well, Facebook says it took that list of 26 hashtagged advertisers and found that they were mentioned in 2 million Facebook posts from game day. Were all of those mentions spurred by the Super Bowl? Maybe not, but the number was 12 times more than the day before, so it’s probably safe to assume that the ads made a big difference. And those posts, in turn, drove a total of 26 million comments and likes. (Just to be clear — the Super Bowl number is lower than the one from the Grammys because it’s limited to a specific group of brands.)
None of that changes the fact that the game served as an impressive demonstration of Twitter’s inroads with brands and advertisers. It does, however, suggest that the conversation hardly stopped there.
Twitter has published the results of a study of the service’s mobile users that they commissioned Compete to help them with. The study seems primarily aimed at using data about mobile users to attract advertisers to its mobile-targeted ad products.
Among the stats that Twitter says are important for advertisers to note about ‘primarily mobile’ Twitter users (commentary ours):
As companies like Facebook and Twitter see their users shifting towards using their services on phones and tablets, and less on the web, they’ve got to adjust the way that they pitch advertisers too. This Compete study is all about Twitter proving that they have a viable mobile advertising audience ready for brands to fertilize with targeted spots. The stats are certainly tantalizing, and Twitter has shown some signs of life in the mobile ad arena, certainly moreso than Facebook if recent numbers are accurate.
As you may well know from Twitter (or the inordinate amount of heels clacking through a snowy New York this morning), Fashion Week is underway. It’s like the Superbowl for designers, retailers, and everyone in between.
But the fashion industry is ancient, and is thus quite averse to new technology of any kind. However, a company called FashionGPS has chipped its way into the world of fashion offering a one-stop destination for designers, editors, retailers, etc. to communicate during the most important week of the year.
“We’ve been working on this for seven years,” said founder and CEO Eddie Mullon. “But only recently has the fashion industry become ready for this kind of tech.”
FashionGPS is broken into several different iOS apps and web services that follow a product throughout its entire life cycle. First, GPS Events lets designers (who essentially coordinate the entire week) manage their runway shows directly from an app.
Designers can send invitations to everyone important, track RSVPs in real time, and use an interactive seating chart to make sure everyone is in their proper place. If someone cancels or doesn’t show up, the designer can immediately give the seat away to someone else.
In the past, this has been done with paper invitations, calls for RSVPs, and taken between four to eight weeks.
When attendees arrive at the show, they can then check into the show with GPS Events (effectively skipping the line).
From there, the process changes from coordinating an event to coordinating the various product samples going out to different blogs, magazines, and department store buying offices.
Using GPS Radar, buyers and editors can have access to a lookbook immediately, and request which samples they’d like for advertising purposes.
Again, what once took between six and eight weeks can now be done directly from the runway show.
After samples are requested, the process gets even more complicated. Everyone from magazines to department stores need access to a single prototype before the collection goes on sale in stores. Tracking that sample across various locations and countries is almost impossible, and many samples are lost because of this.
Fashion GPS offers an app called GPS Samples to solve this problem. GPS Samples lets editors and buyers scan the barcode of a prototype so that the designer can track it as it goes all over the world.
But not all brands have fashion shows, samples or lookbooks. Mass market brands like H&M or Forever 21 turn around product so quickly that runway shows are almost out of the question. But GPS Styles lets those mass market brands upload their entire collections online (what could end up being thousands of products) so that various blogs and magazines can find and request certain pieces to be featured.
Mullon tells me that over 95 percent of the shows at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York are using the Fashion GPS platform as we speak, but that’s no reason to rest on their laurels. “Our roadmap focuses on fixing communication issues between buyers and vendors, and eventually we’ll work our way into the B2C space as well.”
GPS Radar is available exclusively in the Apple App Store here.
Here is the original post: Fashion GPS Breaks Into The Notoriously Tech-Averse Fashion Industry Just In Time For Fashion Week
Viggle, the second screen app for TV that offers discovery, games and rewards for users, has announced that 1.8 million users have registered for its service. Not bad numbers for the startup which marked its first birthday on Jan 26.
Those who use Viggle – amusingly dubbed Vigglers by the company – have checked in on the service 151 million times. A good sign that an engaging service for second screens can really haul in users.
It looks as though it has been a great year for Viggle. Over the past 12 months, the company says that it has given away more than 1.3 million rewards. Using the app, Vigglers can claim rewards from retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Sephora and The Gap. Earlier this month the company also started trading points for Viggle branded merchandise.
Alongside the branded rewards, the company has also conducted 28 sweepstakes and given away 41 million Viggle points (these are handed out for watching TV shows and can be redeemed for rewards, experiences or charitable donations), a trip to Hollywood and a 3D HDTV package.
Viggle was launched in early 2012. By March it had claimed over a quarter of a million users and by July it had reached one million users. To count as a monthly active users, a Viggler needs to earn or use one point in that month, beyond registering.
In November last year the company announced that it was acquiring competitive social TV app Get Glue for GetGlue for $25 million in cash and 48.3 million shares of stock.
To celebrate a year of growth, Viggle is running a competition so that its users have the chance to meet the company founder and entertainment mogul, Robert F.X. Sillerman. To get involved, users need to send a video message celebrating the company birthday in the least conventional manner they can think of.
Throughout the year, Viggle has been working with some big names as brands experiment with marketing engagement on second screens. Over 40 brands have been involved including Burger King, CapitalOne, JetBlue, DirectTV, Mercedes-Benz, Pepsi, Verizon and Unliver.
Image credit: Unlisted Sightings / Flickr