On The Radar: The Best of Digital & Social

Social@Ogilvy is kicking off a roundup of the digital and social experiences outside of our own work that we think are cool, cutting-edge and inspiring. Check out what’s on our radar and follow us on twitter for our day-to-day discoveries from around the web.

Postagram: Let’s Take this Offline 
Shared by: Blake Bowyer, Senior Digital Strategist, @blakebowyer 
When’s the last time you developed a photo? For me, it has to be 5-7 years ago – which is nuts considering the proliferation of snapshooting devices we carry in our pockets. Every day, more than 4.5 million photos are shot, filtered, and uploaded on Instagram (photo sharing for iPhone) never to see life beyond a fleeting digital screen. If the thought of holding a memory in your hand makes you feel as nostalgic as Kelvin looks, check out Postagram. This is an example of start-ups that exist simply to bring tangible elements to digital touchpoints – and build revenue models based on social activity.

This is Your Brain on CSS
Shared by: Zach Kalman, Digital Producer, @zachkalman
Acko.net, a creation of developer Steven Wittens, is a bleeding edge case study in what will be possible using powerful new 3D tools in CSS. He uses HTML5, CSS and Javascript to create stunning 3D visual effects when scrolling and navigating through the site. Among them is a slightly disturbing but very cool human head, rendered in 3D using only CSS. Be sure to view the site in the current version of Chrome or Safari, the only browsers that support CSS 3D functionality at this time.

Free Rice
Shared by: Emily Achler, Digital Strategist, @ea_sportz
FreeRice is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Programme. Originally just available as a Vocabulary quiz, you can now choose to be tested on a variety of topics from Geography to Chemistry. For each correct answer, a grain of rice is donated to the UN Program. All activity is tracked and measured, and a running ticker of how much rice is donated remains on the screen as you play. It remains an excellent example of how to use gaming mechanics to draw people’s interest, engage with your content– and in this case, actively contribute to a good cause. Just remember, surreptitious = clandestine.

Testing Responsive Design
Shared by: Brian Akpa, Web Developer, @citizen_is_live
Trying to easily get a sense of what your responsive site will look on different device screen sizes? Use the Resizer Bookmarklet. This is a really easy to use tool that lets you see what a site looks like on multiple device sizes, ranging from smartphone, small tablet, iPad landscape and portrait, and desktop. Just follow the on-screen instructions to install.

College Recruitment: It’s a Snap
Shared by: Jessica Solloway, Digital Content Producer, @JessSoll
Even if you have zero interest in attending Australia’s Central Institute of Technology, you’ll laugh and cringe at this witty recruitment video created by Aussie directing duo Henry Inglis and Aaron McCann. It’s a Snap has changed the face of higher learning advertising by showing off the school in a funny, engaging, and slightly dark film. (Beware; it gets a little gory.) Intrigued? This video not only tosses traditional college recruitment tactics aside, but it proves that you don’t need a huge budget to execute a good idea. (The alumni pair produced the film for free.) With over 2 million views since it’s launch, it will be interesting to see if other schools follow their lead to attract students.

What grabbed your attention online? Share a link below. 

How Brands Can Access an Instant Audience with Instagram

If you own an iPhone or take a general interest in mobile applications, it can probably be assumed that you have heard and may likely use Instagram, a simple mobile application that allows users to snap a photo (or choose from an existing one within their albums), apply one of 11 different filters and quickly share across the social space. To say that this application is growing in popularity is an understatement. According to Mashable, within the first week, the iPhone-only app garnered 100,000 registrations and by week 10, 1 million users had signed up for the service. At present, the platform has over 2 million registered users, who upload around 290,000 photos per day.

Why it’s so popular:

-People love photos! Whether capturing or browsing through them, photos are easy on the eye, quick and fun to skim through and can provide stimulating visual content.

-The filter function is just plain fun. These filters allow users to transform the color, mood, border and tonality of their photos. Within few seconds, you can turn your mobile image into an electrifyingly bright photo by using Lomo-fi filter.

– This is not just a photo app. In addition to sharing photos through Instagram’s network, users can instantly upload their pictures to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr, and Tumblr.

– Simplicity: Let’s take a look at the recent apps that have gone viral – Cut the Rope, Angry Bird, Bubble Ball, and Instagram. The common denominator here is that they are simple. These apps do not have fancy features and none of them require users to go through a tedious tutorial.

– And the most important of all: it’s free.

In January, Instagram introduced a new hashtag feature that allows app users to add #hashtags to their own photos. The introduction of this feature opened doors for brands to incorporate Instagram into their own social media campaigns. In fact, several brands have already jumped on the bandwagon and are experiencing success.


Of course, Starbucks, one of the most social media savvy brands, would not take a backseat to this new trend. Through the brand profile, users are able to view unique photos from “exclusive” content such as coffee tasting sessions in boardrooms, a new logo launch, and product promotions. Currently Starbucks maintains over 9,000 followers and actively uses Instagram to engage with their fans. The ability for fans to view behind the scenes of a large conglomerate allows for a personalized social experience and helps maintain further brand loyalty.


MTV is another example of a big name utilizing a hot social media trend. Instead of solely sharing photos from their MTV headquarters, MTV utilized Instagram for live coverage at the Grammys. Grammy fans were able to get a first hand look at the red carpet traffic and shots of behind the stage activities. Instagram users just had to follow MTV’s Instagram account or search for #MTV.

Color Complexities: It’s Not Just a Photo Sharing Application

Ten years ago, sharing photographs and videos meant snail-mailing content to family and friends. Now, sharing photographs and videos are a digital activity, with online sharing sites and smart phones applications like Instagram, Path, and PicPlz being quickly integrated into daily social media regimens.

Color in Action

Enter Color: the latest mobile photo application drawing mixed reviews about the application. Prior to Color’s launch, Sequoia Capital, considered “one of the highest caliber venture firms” by Wall Street Journal, invested $25 million, Bain Capital invested $9 million, and Silicon Valley Bank provided $7 million in venture debt, presenting Color with an accumulative $41 million in funding.  Since its launch, the application has received 2/5 stars based on over 600 reviews on the iTunes App Store. Commentary has noted the application’s function as a stalking mechanism, others have expressed that the user interface is not very intuitive, and the most reoccurring question I’ve encountered is, “is Color worth $41 million?”

Despite this feedback, Color attracted adoption and positive reactions from technology elites, including Tristan Walker of FourSquare, Joshua Williams of Gowalla, and David Heinemeier Hansson of Ruby on Rails. Within a week of its public debut, Color is ranked second in number of downloads for social network applications, just behind Facebook. After having the opportunity to use this application over the past few days, I have come to two conclusions: 1.) I am shamelessly addicted and 2.) It is indeed an important product that has high business potential.

Continue reading Color Complexities: It’s Not Just a Photo Sharing Application

Design Considerations For Mobile Sites

Nielsen released a report last week detailing the consumer market share of smartphone manufacturers in the US. Android, iOS, and Blackberry lead the pack with 29%, 27% and 27% share respectively. The remaining share was split between Windows Phone 7, Symbian, and HP/Palm WebOS devices.

What’s clear about these results is that the fight between the phone manufacturers is tough, and consumers are the winners with a wealth of devices to choose from. And they are choosing, with an estimated 40 million smartphone users in February of 2010, and an expected 80 million users sometime this year.

While majority of the excitement in the mobile marketplace generally surrounds native apps, mobile sites are a cost-effective standard for any brand hoping to reach potential consumers. Here are a few design and development considerations to take when stating a mobile site project.

Continue reading Design Considerations For Mobile Sites