Friday, March 29, 2013

Fitness Parties New Trend in Celebrations

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
Let Them Eat Cake Later: Americans Host Fitness Parties

As fitness becomes a permanent lifestyle among the chic, goal-driven and trendy in America, birthday, anniversary and bachelorette parties find a new home at group fitness classes in health clubs across the US. Crunch Fitness' "pole dance parties" are just one example of the trend.

Excerpt: "Gyms and fitness studios are often eager to host the festivities, which light up darkened rooms after hours and expose potential new members to their services.

'We've created bachelorette parties, birthday parties, college reunions and divorce parties,' said Donna Cyrus, senior vice president of programming at Crunch, a national chain.

Pole dancing parties are among the most-requested fitness parties, and the merrymakers are overwhelmingly young women in their 20s and 30s.

'The class is a reason for friends to get together and shed inhibitions for an hour,' Cyrus explained, 'as well as a great marketing tool and clever use of idle space for the gym.'

Fitness and yoga instructor Magen Banwart has led workout get-togethers from South Carolina to the Hamptons in New York.

She said it's a way to distinguish herself from other teachers in a very competitive market.

'For the right price you can get anyone to go anywhere and teach anything,' said New York-based Banwart, who has led classes in yoga, core, barre and walk workouts during gatherings and retreats."

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Scents Used in Everything from Marketing to Military Training

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
How Manufactured Smells Make People Shop Longer and Kill Better

ScentAir, the industry's leader in providing scents to retail and hospitality, is branching out. Besides scenting a store to mark its brand identity, now companies use individual fragrances for various departments in a large store or change scents to promote seasonal shopping. And the military uses scent to desensitize armed troops from the disorienting smells of the battlefield.

Excerpt: " 'Sometimes our clients get caught up in, "OK, what is the scent that makes customers buy more?"' says Burke. 'We use the psychology and physiology, but when you peel it all back, all scent has a profound effect on emotions and memory. If you get it right, you ultimately get them to do what the business wants them to do, but we focus on the creativity of it.'

The Hard Rock Café Hotel in Orlando added an 'ocean' smell to its lobby so that 'guests can imagine checking into a seaside resort,' as ScentAir's website explains, even though the hotel is about an hour from the coast. It also draws people into the ice cream shop downstairs by putting the popular 'sugar cookie' smell at the top of the stairs and 'waffle cone' at the bottom. By the time you follow your nose, the hope is you'll be craving an ice cream. (In fact, sales jumped 45% in the first six months after the smells were employed.)*

The same tech that allows ScentAir to manipulate shoppers has graver utility. The company has, for example, created a scent of burning flesh and dead bodies, mixed with gasoline, gunpowder, sewage, burning trash, and exhaust, which the military uses during combat training simulations. If you're accustomed to the smell before you enter a combat zone, the thinking goes, it won't distract (or traumatize) you as severely as it would if you were experiencing it for the first time.

'The Department of Defense and the defense contractors spend so much money and effort training and preparing,' says Burke. 'Your sense of smell is so tied to how we perceive experiences and surroundings outside of ourselves. "Improvise, adapt, and overcome" is one of [the military's] mantras. It's being able to navigate your environment and the situation you are in.'

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Future Malls Must Attract Shoppers With Other Goals Than Shopping

Rotunda at Sherman Oaks Galleria, Hunter Communications photo
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
Malls Must Move Beyond Shopping to Survive in Internet Age

Ok, it's ANOTHER news service speculating on what shopping malls will have to do to survive in a future when the internet makes online shopping simple, unlimited and irresistible. Reuters finds that a new worldwide trend is to locate medical and government offices in shopping malls, so that patients and office visitors can make good use of their wait by shopping as an enjoyable time-filler.

Excerpt: "'The days of the stand-alone mall are numbered,' said David Roberts, the chief executive of architect Aedas, one of the five largest practices in the world. The company has been involved in city masterplan projects in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

'In 20 years time you will find stores that sell books and DVDs replaced by sites that give people a reason to go the mall ... art galleries, education centers and health and spa treatments.'

Florencio Beccar, fund manager of CBRE Global Investors European shopping centre fund, cited the recent purchase of a mall in Germany, saying the fact it included a large medical centre was 'a big plus'.

'I once saw a clinic in a Brazilian mall where you checked in and are buzzed on a device when they are ready. In the meantime you go shopping,' he said. 'With the ageing population in Europe you can see that happening more and more.'

CBRE Investors, which has about 14 billion euros ($18.2 billion) of retail property under management in Europe and 5,000 tenants, also owns a mall in southern Sweden with a library and a local municipal office, he said.

'More shopping centre developers will have early talks with these sorts of tenants as well as the big anchor retailers,' Beccar said.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Mobile App Maps the Internet

It’s interactive, so you can swipe and pinch your way through two views.
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Fast Co.Design

Link to article:
Infographic: An App That Maps the Web in Real Time

Just what we need, another mobile app that is pretty but ultimately not very useful. But Map of the Internet has one distinct selling point (or giving away point, since it is free).  The map is a teaching tool as visualization, and you can learn how the large and small nodes of ISPs and universities connect into the traffic of the internet.

Excerpt: "The map, which takes the form of a free app for Android and iOS, features 22,961 of the Internet’s biggest nodes--not individual websites, but the ISPs, universities, and other places that host them--joined by some 50,000 discrete connections. The app gives you two ways of surveying it all: geographically, on a globe, or by size, which rearranges the nodes into a loose column of points. Both views are interactive; instead of showing the Internet as a static neon blob, the app lets you explore the neon blob in the round, with all the familiar multitouch gestures. It may not look like the Google Maps app, but it instantly feels like it, which makes exploring the underbelly of the web all the easier.

Tapping on any one of the starry points brings up a bit of information on that particular node and displays all its connections to the rest. In each case, Map of the Internet lets you trace the route between you and that node, showing the precise path your device takes to reach it, in real time, as a thick orange line. It’s terrifically cool. And if ISPs and mega-hosts don’t excite you all that much, you’re not out of luck. You can search for a favorite site, and the app will zip you to the node it resides on. Spoiler: Co.Design is hosted by Amazon. The app was created by Peer 1 Hosting in collaboration with the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis, assembled by designer Jeff Johnston and developers at Steamclock software. And while it’s a fantastic bit of eye-candy, it’s not just that. More so than any static map, the interactive model makes it simple to get a sense of what the Internet looks like--and how information flows through it."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Eurovision 2013: See all 39 Entries

Hunter Communications Tip of the Week:
Eurovision Song Contest

This May marks the 57th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest, started as a Cold-War era project to bring European countries closer through a televised contest.  Each nation's tv network would nominate a local star with a new song, all to choose Europe's song of the year. Television's original reality competition has launched the careers of Celine Dion and ABBA, just to name a few.  Viewed by 100 million annually, the US is the one area where the competition has never caught on.

This year's show comprises two semifinals and a grand final, where 39 nations will compete for 26 places in the final battle, and after the votes of each country are added up onscreen, the final victor is chosen in a storm of cheers and gold confetti. Sweden is this year's host country, according to the tradition where each year's winning nation is offered the chance to host the next contest.

The betting parlors of Europe, one of the surest ways to gauge the strongest entries, are betting on some old favorites and a few new surprises to rise up the scoreboard.  Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Russia, all expected powerhouses, join recent favorites Ukraine, Azerbaijian, Armenia and Georgia, and original Big 5 countries Gemany and Italy, while usual bottom-of the board Belarus and Netherlands are also expected to finish on top this year.

As of March 18, all participating countries were required to submit their final entries to the European Broadcasting Union. The national finals season, where each country runs a sometimes spectacular contest to choose their entry for this year, is now over, and the real contest is about to begin.  Here are the 39 entries of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, in alphabetical order by country.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Recommendation of the Week: Megabus Brings New Option for West Coast Travel

Hunter Communications Recommendation of the Week:

Link to website:
Megabus|Now Serving over 20 Million Bus Customers in North America

In December 2012, travelers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and Las Vegas were treated to a new paradigm in intercity travel. Already popular across the Eastern US and Canada, Megabus brings convenient, near-luxurious bus travel between downtown rail terminals, and at amazing prices.  Introductory fares even offered all seats for $1 during the first weeks of the inaugual service between Los Angeles, San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Even now, canny travelers who book a month in advance can find a limited number of $1 fares for each departure. Yelp reviews show that travelers' initial reactions are overwhelmingly positive.

The brand-new buses are double deckers with glass roofs and panoramic front windshields for upper deck passengers, and free wifi and AC outlets at every seat.  Express service with only one or two stops means that a bus trip takes only a bit longer than driving. And basing departures and arrivals at convenient downtown train stations like CalTrain in San Francisco and Union Station's newly refurbished Patsaouras Plaza means that travelers have an easy time getting to and from the bus.

So far the majority of travelers seem to be smart college students and international tourists, but as the service becomes more widely known, expect to see more travelers of all types taking a comfortable and  affordable getaway on Megabus.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

New Trend in Shopping Centers Toward Healthy Options

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
USA Today

Link to article:
Healthy Offerings on Retail Menu at Shopping Centers

As established retail brands like Borders Books and Circuit City disappear, what is taking their place at America's shopping centers? Health clubs are the new anchor tenants, bringing in athletic wear boutiques and healthy dining chains in their wake. The workout clientele is well-heeled and educated, and the time they spend at the gym makes them more open to buy ready meals and snacks to take home.

Excerpt: " The national obsession with fitness, healthy eating and battling obesity is altering the retail landscape of neighborhood shopping centers and strip malls: They are becoming suburban havens of healthy living.

Health clubs are increasingly anchoring outdoor shopping centers. Yoga studios, yogurt shops, vitamin and workout apparel stores, organic food markets and health foods restaurants quickly follow.

Health clubs — from large workout centers featuring indoor pools and row after row of equipment to small home-gym types of franchises — have undergone 'a huge explosion over the last 10 years,' says Tom Simmons, Mid-Atlantic president of Kimco Realty, the largest owner and manager of neighborhood and community shopping centers. 'The consumer is becoming more mindful of healthy living.'

Frozen-yogurt stores are replacing retailers of fattier ice cream, he says. Kimco had 13 yogurt stores in its portfolio just five years ago. Today, it has 73. The square footage they occupy went from 16,000 to 108,000 during that time.

Restaurants with names such as Sweetgreen, Sweet Leaf and Energy Kitchen (slogan: 'fast food, not fat food') are sprouting in strip malls across the country, catering to the national passion for all things "green."GNC, seller of vitamins, supplements and herbal remedies, is opening 150 stores this year, Simmons says, and Smoothie King plans 1,000 more stores in five years."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Apple and Amazon Patent Exchange Markets for Digital Books and Music

Hunter Commnications recommended reading from:
The New York Times

Link to article:
Revolution in Resale of Digital Books and Music

Unlike physical books, records and CDs, the actual ownership of the e-books and mp3s you have bought is a legal gray area. Officially you never own them, but have paid a user fee to read or listen.  So getting rid of music or ebooks you no longer want is currently not legally possible.  All this may change due to patents issued to Amazon and Apple to enable resale exchanges where these types of files can be transferred from one owner to another.

Excerpt: "The retailer’s button might say 'buy now,' but you are in effect only renting an e-book — or an iTunes song — and your rights are severely limited. That has been the bedrock distinction between physical and electronic works since digital goods became widely available a decade ago.

That distinction is now under attack, both in the courts and the marketplace, and it could shake up the already beleaguered book and music industries. Amazon and Apple, the two biggest forces in electronic goods, are once again at the center of the turmoil.

In late January, Amazon received a patent to set up an exchange for all sorts of digital material. The retailer would presumably earn a commission on each transaction, and consumers would surely see lower prices.

But a shudder went through publishers and media companies. Those who produce content might see their work devalued, just as they did when Amazon began selling secondhand books 13 years ago. The price on the Internet for many used books these days is a penny.

On Thursday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published Apple’s application for its own patent for a digital marketplace. Apple’s application outlines a system for allowing users to sell or give e-books, music, movies and software to each other by transferring files rather than reproducing them. Such a system would permit only one user to have a copy at any one time.

Meanwhile, a New York court is poised to rule on whether a start-up that created a way for people to buy and sell iTunes songs is breaking copyright law. A victory for the company would mean that consumers would not need either Apple’s or Amazon’s exchange to resell their digital items. Electronic bazaars would spring up instantly."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Starbucks Beats NYC Sugary Drink Restrictions

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Bloomberg Business Week

Link to article:
In Soda-Ban Battle, Starbucks Beats Mayor Bloomberg

In an 11th hour decision, a New York judge blocked Mayor Bloomberg's ban on sales of large sugary drinks within the city of NY, calling it arbitrary and capricious.  Several fast food chains had prepared for the ban, despite the legal efforts of the big soda industry to block the regulation.  But Starbucks, though they weren't part of the lawsuit, had made no effort to comply, using the fact that their frapuccinos conatin large amounts of milk to skirt the regulations.

Excerpt: "New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg seemed confident that limiting the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces would be good for city residents’ health and that such a ban could be adopted nationwide. That was on Sunday. On Monday, a state judge blocked the rule, just a day before it was supposed to go into effect. The challenge was brought by the American Beverage Association (otherwise known as Big Soda) and others. The judge called the rule arbitrary and capricious. “The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose,” New York Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling wrote.

Many smaller businesses, as well as McDonald’s (MCD) and Dunkin’ Donuts (DNKN), had been prepared to follow the new restrictions. Not Starbucks (SBUX), though.

The company, which was not part of the lawsuit, made it clear last week that amid confusion and uncertainty surrounding the new rule, it wasn’t making any immediate menu changes. A spokeswoman said that many of Starbucks’s milky and custom-made drinks might be exempt. The lawsuit was already underway. There would be a three-month grace period before the city would impose fines. Why rush?

When Bloomberg (who is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg Businessweek parent Bloomberg LP) was asked about this on Sunday’s Face the Nation, he said: 'No. 1, that’s ridiculous. They can figure out—Starbucks knows how to market things, knows how to package things. They can change instantly when it’s in their interest to do so. This is in the country’s interest.' "

Monday, March 18, 2013

When Ads Go BAD!: Domino's Pizza in Japan

Domino's President plus anime adds up to a weird tv ad
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Business Insider

Link to article:
Weird, Awkward Domino's Japan Ad Is Going Viral For All The Wrong Reasons

Ad watchers are used to seeing American stars acting foolish in commercials made for the Japanese market. But a new ad for the Domino's Pizza smartphone app combines anime, awkward line delivery, and an unlikely star in the form of Domino's Japan President Scott Oellkers. The actual app looks fun and involving, but its presentation makes it all a bit weird.

Excerpt: "Domino's Japan President Scott Oellkers is suddenly famous today in the world of anime, the Japanese cartoon culture in which characters are rendered with gigantic eyes, implausibly rich hair, and sexy uniforms.

It's not clear why Oellkers — a middle-aged white American — was chosen to introduce a new mobile app featuring Hatsune Miku, an anime character aimed at Japanese teenagers.

But the decision led to this video, in which Oellkers awkwardly explains what a 'vocaloid' is, and tries to be down with the kids.

The result is being savaged online:
'One of the most unhinged adverts of all time,' says Metro UK."

Friday, March 15, 2013

App of the Week: Bettyvision

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
Bettyvision: Imagine. Create. Share.

Bettyvision is an interesting new project designed to help women (and like-thinking men, I suppose) create visionboards that express their goals and dreams. The boards are then posted on the website as examples for the Betty community, to notice, help and cheer you on with your quest.

Excerpt: "Bettyvision is a supportive community empowering women of all ages to visualize their dreams and make them come true.

At Bettyvision, we dream big. We imagine our lives without limitation. The online platform invites users to create vision boards with associated milestone lists and become accountable for their progress and results.

Whether your dream is to graduate college, open your own business, plan your wedding, throw a fabulous dinner party, travel the Globe, or anything in between…you have come to the right place.

From those first baby steps to awe-inspiring leaps, you'll find the tools, resources and support necessary to bridge the gap between just dreaming and living the dream. The best part is that you can share your journey with the Bettyvision community, celebrating dreams as they come true and inspiring others to do the same."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dove Canada Uses Photoshop Plugin to Make Body Image Statement

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
Dove Canada Uses Photoshop Trojan Horse to Shame Body Shamers

On first glance, a new downloadable plugin called "Beautify" seems to be designed to smooth skin and had a healthy glow. But the Photoshop action, stealthily scattered around the web by Dove Canada, gives an unexpected result as it reverts a doctored photo-in-the-making to its original state, with an accompanying statement about the beauty of a natural, unretouched human body.

Excerpt:  "The decade-running 'Real Beauty' campaign, which won a Grand Prix at Cannes in 2007, continues its assault on Photoshop by fighting fire with fire. Created by Ogilvy Toronto, Dove Canada’s latest endeavor is a sneaky way to hit the perpetrators of such ads right at the source--their computers.

The team at Ogilvy created the Photoshop action 'Beautify', a downloadable file that makes a change with a single click, in this case aimed at photography creatives who might be shaving the curves off of a not-even-curvy model right this very second. The company hopes to spread "Beautify" by leaving it on sites like Reddit which art directors and the like are known to frequent--presenting it as an aid for retouching.

At first blush, it appears that 'Beautify' adds a healthy-looking skin glow effect to the photo. What it actually does, however, is revert photoshopped images back to their original state."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Public Art Piece Transforms Bay Bridge with LEDs

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The New York Times

Link to article:
Long Stuck in Obscurity, Bay Bridge Will Go From Drab Gray to Glowing

Eternally considered the ugly stepsister to the lovely Golden Gate,  the Bay area's San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge is now the star of the show, thanks to a two-year installation of 25,000 LEDs lining the span's upright suspension cables.  A computer-controlled display turns the nighttime bridge into a living, undulating light sculpture that will be seen by 50 million onlookers. The lights were officially turned on March 5, and will be one of the world's most viewed public art projects.

Excerpt: "The light sculpture, which will be on every night for two years, has become a darling of moneyed Silicon Valley types. The project is privately financed and is estimated to cost some $8 million.

Already restaurants with bridge views are booked and boat cruise operators are creating new tours for viewing the glowing infrastructure. Organizers estimate the lights will bring in $97 million to the local economy.

The unlikely star of all this fawning attention is the unassuming Bay Bridge.

When it opened to traffic Nov. 12, 1936, the city celebrated with five days of parades, a Navy air show and a regatta.

But just five months later, the Golden Gate Bridge followed with its flashier, red-painted steel spanning the more picturesque mouth of the bay. It quickly became an international tourist destination, while the Bay Bridge toiled along in utilitarian, gray obscurity. Last year some 40 million cars crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, while the Bay Bridge carried more than 100 million cars.

'These bridges really came up as twin sisters, one quite beautiful and one very hard working,' said Ben Davis, who originally approached Mr. Villareal about adorning the bridge in lights. As founder of the agency responsible for branding on the newly constructed, $6.4 billion eastern span of the Bay Bridge, Mr. Davis has spent years thinking about the bridge’s legacy. 'This project will elevate the Bay Bridge, at least for a while, above the Golden Gate Bridge,' he said."

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Catholic Church Commits Design Sin with Comic Sans Ebook

Comic Sans, the font that makes ANYTHING trivial!
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Business Insider

Link to article:
Vatican Celebrates Pope Benedict XVI With E-Book Written In Comic Sans
As if the sex scandals and coverups of the last year were not enough, now comes word of an egregious sin the Catholic Church has perpetrated against the laws of design. Their latest ebook to mark the career of Pope Benedict XVI features BOTH of the most hated fonts in the modern world, Comic Sans and Papyrus.

Excerpt: "It's an inspirational picture: Pope Benedict XVI, dressed in white and carrying a large gold cross, reaches down to bless a tiny baby, carried by a young mom, in front of an epic religious fresco.

The photo — which appears in a 62-page e-book published by the Vatican to commemorate the career of Benedict upon his retirement — is spoiled, however, by the caption underneath it (click to enlarge). It's written in Comic Sans, the balloon-y, cartoon-y typeface that's regarded as a design faux pas by art directors and other creative professionals.

The caption reads, 'Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.'

But because the entire book is written in Comic Sans, the sentence feels sarcastic and jokey.

As its name suggests, Comic Sans attempts to replicate the look of words inside the speech bubbles that appear in comics. As such, anything written in Comic Sans instantly appears trivial."

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cheesecake Factory and IBM Team Up On Big Data Project

The Cheesecake Factory, Hunter Communications photo
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Business Insider

Link to article:

Cheesecake Factory Is Getting Really Serious About Freshness

Restaurant and baked goods chain The Cheesecake Factory has taken data collection and analytics to a higher level through its new partnership with IBM. Their Big Data analytics partnership will allow Cheeecake Factory to track quality and freshness of ingredients, use more locally-sourced products, and keep closer track of customer feedback on social media outlets.

Excerpt: " The global cheesecake company is pairing up with IBM Big Data analytics to better track information on the quality of its 200-plus ingredients from the time they are shipped to their arrival on store shelves.

The information will be consolidated into one system so the company can better monitor data on the freshness of its food from Dallas to Dubai.

So what does that mean for cheesecake fans?

For one, products that aren't up to snuff will be taken off shelves faster, said Angela Nardone, Chief Innovation Officer of IBM Business Partner, N2N Global. That includes anything from ketchup that isn't the right color or consistency to a retail product slapped with the wrong label. For a company that has 180 locations and serves 80 million customers a year, getting sub-par ingredients out of the supply chain with speed is key, she said.

Better analytics could also help The Cheesecake Factory incorporate more local ingredients into its products, since their quality can be tracked more efficiently, Nardone said.

In time, the company also plans to monitor social media outlets more heavily to improve product quality, said Paul Chang, IBM's Global Leader for Consumer Products Strategy.

For example, if a customer posts a photo of a mediocre meal at the restaurant on Instagram, it could be fixed faster."

Note: Hunter Communications handles marketing at Sherman Oaks Galleria, home to The Cheesecake Factory

Friday, March 8, 2013

80th Anniversary for Iconic London Tube Map

Tube Map took inspiration from electrical diagrams
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Seattle Times

Link to article:
London Tube and its Iconic Map Celebrate Their Age

Originally rejected for its radical stylization of the angles and distances in the London Underground, the 1933 Tube map reduced a serpentine rairoad system to a simple layout of straight lines, 45-degree and right angles.  Once its streamlined simplification was quickly and easily accepted by commuters and travelers, it became an icon and inspiration for transit maps in other world capitals, like Sydney and New York.

Excerpt: "'It’s a design icon,' said Anna Renton, senior curator at the London Transport Museum. 'You shouldn’t use that word too often, but it really is.'

It’s been copied by other cities and riffed on by artists and satirists. It’s omnipresent in souvenir shops, plastered on mugs, underwear, mouse pads and tote bags, on sale next to the “Mind the Gap” T-shirts.

Perhaps most impressively, the image is stamped onto Londoners’ brains. If the Tube is how people get around London, the Tube map is how many conceive of this sprawling city, their sense of its geography shaped — and sometimes warped — by the drawing’s streamlined, reductive layout.

Tell a Londoner the name of a neighborhood on the other side of town, and you may get a blank stare; mention the closest Underground line and station, and the mental GPS kicks in.

All credit goes to a problem-solving electrical draftsman named Harry Beck, who came up with the design in his spare time in 1931.

At that point, more geographically accurate maps of the Tube were already in use. But the expansion of the network into the suburbs made such depictions unwieldy, and their curving, intersecting lines had come to resemble a nest of snakes, a plate of spaghetti or London having a very bad hair day. Inspired, some say, by electric-circuit diagrams, Beck straightened out the lines, drew only 45- and 90-degree angles, and truncated distances between outlying stations."

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"Gangnam Style" Now Has Three of Top Ten Youtube Videos

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
International Business Times

Link to article:
2nd Version of Psy’s Gangnam Style Gets 280 Million Hits, 5th on Top 10 YouTube Hits

The Psy "Gangnam Style" phenomenon continues.  The worldwide mega hit, with its title based on the trendy style of Seoul's ultra-fashionable Gangnam district, has now racked up three of the top 10 youtube clips.  The original version is at #1, a duet version with Korean star Hyuna is at #5, and a stage performance takes the #8 spot.  Psy has become such a star in his home country that a series of stamps now commemorate his success.

Excerpt: "South Korean artist Psy continues to be on a roll as his record-busting Gangnam Style video reached over 1.3 billion hits as of Valentine's Day. He is currently on an Asian and Oceania tour and just finished a concert in Malaysia, will have a one-day concert next week in the Philippines and five concerts in Australia in March.

Within a few month of the release of his sixth album, which contained his megahit Gangnam Style, that phrase was already entered in the Urban Dictionary as the word of the day on Sept 12, 2012. The Web site said that Gangnam Style is actually a Korean neologism mainly associated with upscale fashion and lavish lifestyle seen and trendsetters in Seoul's Gangnam district.

Gangnam is the most affluent part of the South Korean capital city's metropolitan area.

On Thursday, YG Entertainment announced the release of Psy stamps in 22 postal stations around Seoul, beginning Feb 18. This development makes him the first YG artist to have his own stamp set as differentiated from ordinary stamps."

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ipad App Lets Brides Color Coordinate Wedding with Pantone Chips

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
myPANTONE Wedding Styleboard

The color wizards at Pantone have come up with an application that uses their patented Pantone system to solve real-life problems.  This time it is color-coordinating all the elements to plan your perfect wedding  The new myPANTONE Wedding "Styleboard" app for the Ipad allows a bride or wedding planner to upload and use pictures and inspirations to coordinate wedding colors with a preloaded palette of 200 PANTONE color chips.  Apparel, floral display, and even catering choices can all have an exact reference point for the colors of your wedding. 

Excerpt: "myPANTONE WEDDING Styleboard is the first color styleboard application developed specifically for a mobile platform. Created by Pantone fashion color experts in conjunction with wedding style leader Dessy, myPANTONE WEDDING Styleboard helps brides-to-be choose wedding colors and accompanying apparel and accessories for a perfectly color-coordinated wedding – from inspiration to 'I do.' Providing all the design features that professionals use – but with easy and intuitive functionality – myPANTONE Wedding Styleboard gives you full creative control of your wedding’s design.
myPANTONE WEDDING Styleboard comes preloaded with 200 PANTONE WEDDING™ Colors – the color language of top designers around the world. Choose from thousands of inspirational images or import your own photos for limitless creativity. Build your palette and vision just the way you like – then share your finished colors and styleboards with event planners, florists, caterers, family, friends and all the key players who can make yours a truly memorable and color-coordinated event!"

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"Strand East" Brings Scandinavian Ikea Aethetic to Urban Planning

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Fast Company

Link to article:
Swedish Modern Comes To Town

When IKEA announced a new housing project near London's Olympic Village, the jokes about flat-pack, do-it-yourself housing were fast and furious. Now that more of the facts about the Strand East development have emerged, it is clear that the utilitarian and accessible Scandinavian spirit of the home furnishing giant will permeate the project's functional, affordable housing.

Link to article: "The new project is only the first step of Ikea's journey into urbanism. Inter Ikea's LandProp division has acquired a second parcel north of London and has initiated talks for a $1.45 billion project in Birmingham twice the size of the one in London; it has reportedly shopped for sites in Hamburg, Germany, too. LandProp also intends to build a hundred budget hotels across Europe and is considering a push into student housing, all covered by the stores' bottomless cash flow. "Once we decide to do something, we go like a tank," said LandProp's chief, Harald Muller, at Strand East's unveiling in 2011. (Citing overwhelming media interest, LandProp refused repeated requests for an interview.)

But why is Ikea charging into Europe's sluggish real estate markets when its flat-pack furniture is still flying off the warehouse shelves? Sales keep climbing (up 7% each of the past two years) and it has plans to open hundreds of stores (and nearly double sales) by the end of the decade, expanding in China and planting the Swedish flag in India. Strand East and any sequels are sideshows by comparison.

In fact, these urban experiments may mostly be a legacy-building exercise by Ikea's controversial founder, Ingvar Kamprad. Now 86, Kamprad has spent decades building an increasingly labyrinthine series of tax shelters to ensure family control after his death, transforming Ikea into a vast conglomerate comprising wind farms, office parks, and even a line of electronics.

A typical maneuver last year involved Interogo, a Liechtenstein-based foundation Kamprad established in 1989 to act as a holding company for Inter Ikea (itself a holding company), both for tax reasons and to guarantee control of the Ikea brand. Inter Ikea quietly disclosed in its 2011 annual report (the first in its history) that Interogo had sold Inter Ikea the chain's own intellectual property assets (most notably the trademark for the Ikea brand) for $11 billion, all in the name of transparency (previously Ikea had to pay Interogo a licensing fee). Building your own neighborhood as a place to park your cash is easy compared to those machinations."
Note: Hunter Communications handles marketing at Burbank Town Center, home to IKEA Burbank.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Google Glass arrives later in 2013 for $1500

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
Confirmed:  Google Glass Arrives in 2013, and Under $1500

Google Glass is the device that all first adopters will want for the holidays in 2013, and Google has just moved the project up a year and made that possible.  For a price of under $1500, techies can wear the funky eyeglass-rim device that allows the wearer to shoot video and stills with voice control, send messages and use bluetooth pairing to stay online via his cellular connection.  That is just the beginning, and the plan is to make the portable device an eventual replacement for anything you can now do via smartphone.

Excerpt: "Regular people will be able to purchase Google Glass eyewear by the end of 2013 for less than $1,500, sources have confirmed to CNET.

Google originally targeted 2014 for a consumer release when it revealed Project Glass last year, but the time frame has seemingly sped up in recent months, what with developer hackathons in San Francisco and New York and this week's announcement that people looking to put Glass to creative use could go through an application process to preorder the augmented reality specs for $1,500.

The company also launched a new site promoting Glass that featured the below video of the new wearable tech in action.

The advancement of Google Glass also seems to coincide with recent rumors that the company is planning to open retail stores, presumably where consumers could get more familiar with products like Glass, and comfortable with the idea of wearing the funky rims on their face.

CNET has also been able to confirm that Glass will be able to connect via Bluetooth to both Android phones and the iPhone. Glass can pull down data from wifi or use the 3G or 4G feed from a connected phone, but it won't have its own cellular radio."

Friday, March 1, 2013

Manual for Iconic NYC Graphics Project Published Online

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Link to article:
Lost 70s MTA Typography Manual Archived Online

An accidental discovery in an old locker revealed the long-lost "style book" for one of the world's most recognized and iconic graphics projects, the entire "look" of the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority since 1970. The Unimark company and designer Massimo Vignelli came up with the system of colors, shapes, and typefaces for all the elements of mass transit in NYC, and now the full manual has been scanned and posted, page by page, online.

Excerpt: "Typography nerds, rejoice! In a locker, underneath some old gym clothes, in the NY office of design firm Pentagram lay a dusty old manual. But, Pentagram employees Nike Skourtis, Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth realized that this wasn’t just an aging tome but rather a first edition of New York City Transit Authority Graphic Standards manual. They then decided to put all 182 pages online.

The 1970s manual, designed by Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda of Unimark, includes all the typefaces, signage and official color design that New Yorkers have come to know so well.

You can see some pages below, and peruse the whole manual here."