Monday, December 29, 2008

CultureLab’s Trends to Watch For in 2009

#1 Rockstar and Skater Hip Hop will continue to gain in popularity (Lil Wayne and Kanye respectively are the icons: watch for Charles Hamilton, The Knux, 88 Keys, Black Milk, and B.O.B)

Classism is the new racism

#3 The 90’s grunge era will influence in ‘09 as the 80’s did in ‘08

#4 Sneaker Brands to watch: Supras, adidas, Yums, and "Vulcanized" Shoes [See Images Below]

#5 Streetwear brands to watch: Rowdy, KR3W, Volcom

#6 Twitter goes to the masses


#7 Classism, Ethnicity, and Lifestage will creep into online social network choice: Facebook: older, more affluent and more educated, MySpace: younger, less affluent, Black and Hispanic skewing

#8 C.R.E.A.M., Wu-Tang’s mantra will ring very true in ’09, cash will be king!

#9 Creativity in digital hustle

#10 Prepaid Cell Phone service will explode as the economy continues to slump

Smartphones as status symbols

#12 Rise of the Black and Hispanic geeks

#13 Asian pop culture will continue to grow in popularity

#14 Renaissance of creativity in business, politics, music, and entertainment: watch for new music genres, new art forms, new ideaologies, and new ways of film-making

Low budget but creative aesthetic in fashion, film, and music, “Thrift Chic”

#16 The urban elegance movement flourishes, i.e. Obama, Diddy, Maxwell
#17 Big Government will be cool
#18 The role of narrative and storytelling will grow in all art forms and advertising/promotional outreach

DIY- arts and crafts

Common Craft-style "what is" and "how to" videos will become an increasingly popular resource for education of online applications and communities

CultureLab is a full service research agency that focuses on the multicultural young adult consumer. Our segments of focus include Asian American, Urban Hispanic, African American and Urban White 18-34 year olds. We tapped into our network across the country to come up with our trends to watch for in 2009. Our clients include general market advertising agencies, corporations, beverage marketers and government entities.

[photos by: Martinchox, kikfoto , Elliot.P, ThisParticularGreg, clementpetit2, irrezolut, saturnism]

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Youth Interviews 2

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Youth Interviews

written and videotaped by Priyanka Patel and Errol Veloso

Recently, at Culturelab, we have added a new method of research to our repertoire: Video Blogging, to stay up with the times. In our first of many installations, we have gone around the Dallas area to interview youth on their lifestyles.

We learned some of interesting things when conducting these interviews. For example, the youth that we spoke to were really feeling the effects of the economic downturn, instead of it being something abstract to them. Surprisingly (or maybe not so much so) they were either cutting back their spending in order to prepare for worse times ahead or getting extra work to support their lifestyles, throwing that theory out the window that youth don't plan ahead for the future.

Some trends that we learned about from these youth is that the old school 80s music and fashion are back in. This was illustrated from the music they listened to, that incorporated electro in their music, to their fashion seen through the types of wayfarer glasses (think Tom Cruise in Risky Business) they were wearing. Another important thing that I learned from these youth is that they develop their interests based on what their friends are doing and heavily rely on them for advice for most everything that they do.

As trends continue to evolve, we at Culturelab hope to stay on top of them in the coming weeks and months ahead. Stay tuned!

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yes We Can and Yes We Did!!

written by Kevin Walker

photo by: Wendy Piersall

OK, we are just now recovering from our incessant celebration since Tuesday night!! What a remarkable night Tuesday was. We can kind of think now, so here are a few thoughts:

The Barack Obama campaign has been the best business school case study EVER--of how to market a product and convince people to "buy." The campaign was also a great case study in the use of new media to connect to people and galvanize them around a cause. I will forever remember the 3 a.m. text message I received announcing that Obama chose Joe Biden as his VP running mate.

The Obama campaign provided all of us with a textbook example of mastering the online/offline worlds of millennials. Their use of web video, Youtube, emails after key campaign moments, and texting, was done in the organic way that most Gen Y'ers use them.

One of the most brilliant decisions the Obama team made was hiring the co-founder of Facebook, Chris Hughes. With his innate knowledge of the dynamics of online social networks they were able to effectively use the communication tools that young people use on a day-to-day basis. They used the web as a mobilizing force to organize grassroots activity organizing 150,000 meetings via the internet over the 21 months of the campaign. They also perfected the pioneering work of the 2004 Howard Dean campaign in the use of the internet as a fundraising mechanism. I am sure that ALL marketers will be analyzing the success of the Obama campaign in the use of new media.

Consistency in your brand and in your marketing strategy means a lot! Even when things were not looking too good after the McCain team's pick of Sarah Palin, the Obama campaign stuck to their strategy and chose to focus on their issues and not the opposing team's personalities. The Obama campaign fully understood what people were looking for during these difficult times.

Knowing the mindset of your targeted consumer is perhaps one of the greatest tenets that the Obama campaign exploited. They fully understood that the majority of Americans were ready for a change so they branded the whole campaign around CHANGE. As most of us knew when McCain adopted the Change mantra, it was disingenuous to say the least. We could go on and on about how brilliantly Obama demonstrated how well they understood the mindset of the people.

As Russell Simmons has so famously said, "Do You!" Obama definitely did himself! He was calm, funny, corny, confident, serious, and he consistently reached out to ALL Americans, not just his base. Even when folks like me wanted him to get rougher with the opposing team, he remained true to himself.

Obama is the right brand for America in a time when America has dramatically slipped in global stature. Being a global citizen benefited Obama greatly in his outlook and ability to connect with all people. I will go out on a limb and say that being a global citizen and being bi-racial will make Obama one of the greatest statesmen that the world has ever seen.

Finally, the most striking thing about Tuesday night's selection of the new American President was that it was a total validation of Richard Florida's theories about The Rise of the Creative Class (please read his book by the same name). Obama is a Creative Class President from a Creative Class city, Chicago! Did you see how fantastic downtown Chicago looked as a background for the acceptance speech?!

Many states that McCain won-the so-called Red States-did not have Creative Class cities. Texas with Austin was the exception but that is it! Also, many of the states that McCain won were southern and Great Plains states with homogenous populations, many rural areas, and declining populations (West Virginia, Kentucky, North Dakota, Alabama, etc).
The Blue States, on the other hand, were states with large populations of young people, heavy concentrations of universities, and very diverse populations.

Also, those who supported Obama were urban AND suburban educated whites, Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans. So, Obama is a President for the urban, young, globally conscious,enlightened, diverse and progressive people-THE REAL AMERICA. This is the CultureLab demographic! Obama is symbolic of what our Agency, CultureLab, represents: the reality of the diverse New America/New World that we live in. Like Obama is the right President for this new era, we are the right Agency for Clients who want to connect better to young, technologically savvy, globally conscious, and multicultural people in this new era.

Please also see: Youth Vote Record Turnout

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Obey Giant- Vote for Change Video Postcard

The following video is a part of Obey's Vote for Change Video Postcard campaign co-directed by Shepard Fairey and Melissa Balin. "The grass roots viral political action campaign," speaks volumes about the power of Web 2.0 and why Obama has registered with so many people in this era of new media.

Click here for more videos from Vote For Change

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Twitter for Business

With the advent of Web 2.0, not only has the functionality of the Internet been enhanced but it has also changed the way we interact as individuals, and on a mass scale. Almost inevitably, it has also affected the way some business approach their customers. In many cases, companies use social networks to communicate to consumers at a more personal level. An example of which is Twitter. [See video below]

As the video explains, Twitter is a social network service that revolves around the question: “What are you doing?” And since its launch in 2006, Twitter has amassed a huge following, generating millions of users online.

It is based on a simple concept, but has evolved to serve a variety of functions for companies including consumer insight. Many large companies, such as Dell, JetBlue, and Comcast, have realized the business worth of services like Twitter and have utilized it to their advantage. In this post, we will briefly explore the different uses of micro-blogging for the enterprise.

Internal Communication

Riding on the success of Twitter, several startup companies have emerged with similar services focused on efficiency in the workplace.

Yammer, winner of the TechCrunch 50, is a social network service identical to Twitter that is focused on helping "companies and organizations (be) more productive through the exchange of short frequent answers to one simple question: "What are you working on?"

"As employees answer that question, a feed is created in one central location enabling co-workers to discuss ideas, post news, ask questions, and share links and other information. Yammer also serves as a company directory in which every employee has a profile and as a knowledge base where past conversations can be easily accessed and referenced." [CrunchBase]

Social Text, another social network tool, combines the functions of Twitter, Facebook, and Wiki’s that is, again, meant to streamline tasks and increase productivity. [See video below]

Customer Service

With millions of users sharing information on Twitter, companies have realized the wealth of information being shared on Twitter, and have utilized it as another branch for customer service.

Take for example the case of Comcast.

By monitoring Twitter messages, otherwise known as Tweets, companies are able to analyze and gain info in regards to: customer insight and competitive awareness [See article] It is notable that "the attention to Twitter reflects the power of new social media tools in letting consumers shape public discussion over brands." [BusinessWeek]


Recently, marketing has been a growing appearance on Twitter. Through Twitter, businesses are able use the site as a platform to broadcast deals, coupons, and other promotions. With the amount of advertising on Twitter, there are even tools and services to help businesses advertise more effectively. Cherp, for example, is an agency that does exactly that. Cherp consists of marketing professionals that offer services in "branding and marketing to promote on Twitter." [Profy]

With the many products of Web 2.0, it is always important to stay within the know and take these as opportunities to enhance business.

For more on Twitter in Business visit: Is the Enterprise Really for Micro-Blogging Tools Like Twitter?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Return of Electro

written by Errol Veloso and Kevin Walker

Photo by: Maschinenraum

Brush up those robot skills, electro is making a comeback! A renewed interest in this genre among underground and mainstream artists has fueled the revival of the electro music style. Characterized by use of mainly electronic devices, such as drum machines and synthesizers, this genre has no set template allowing artists to freely explore and experiment whatever their imagination comes up with.

The electro genre hit full swing back in May 1982 when Afrika Bambaataa and Soulsonic Force debuted "Planet Rock." The song essentially paved the way for other genres including house, techno, and hip-hop. Today, electro comes full circle, utilized by many up-and-coming and established artists as the main direction or as an element to integrate with another genre (electro/hip-hop). Although mixing electro with hip-hop has been around for a while, there has been a recent influx of songs with an electro influence.

Photo by: jurvetson

One notable case involves the Louis Vuitton don, Kanye West. His 2007 hit single, "Stronger," is a perfect example of the use and integration of electro. The song features a vocal sample from Daft Punk’s "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger," and retains the electro/house direction they intended. Kanye’s version combines electro with hip-hop creating a fresh take on the genre.

The move to utilize the original electro/house song is credited to A-Trak (Kanye West’s DJ) after introducing Kanye to the original track. A-Trak, who is known to "ride the line between hip hop and electronic beats," [1] played a key role in Graduation influencing the music direction of the album. On A-Trak’s blog, he makes a bold statement about the current state of music today, saying, "no longer is it a crime to mash a hip-hop acapella into a techno track."[1]

In the video interview below, A-Trak briefly explains his transition to electro (3:50)

Another more current example is up-and-coming music group Chromeo. The duo, consisting of Dave 1 (A-Trak’s brother) and P-Thugg, first formed in order to explore the sub-genre of electro-funk. The two have solid backgrounds in hip-hop, but made the transition to electro-funk. Their latest release "Momma’s Boy" has been featured on FNMTV, and continues to gain popularity.

For a closer look at Chromeo please visit

Next generation of Electro Boogie masters:

  • Sa-Ra Creative Partners – LA Based production trio that specializes in the retro futuristic sounds of early 80’s funk.

Taz Arnold of Sa-Ra, Kevin Walker of CultureLab, and Shaafyq of Sa-Ra

  • Dam Funk- LA based producer/DJ, single handedly has been the chief promoter of retro electro-boogie.

Other examples of electro in 2008:

  • John Legend ft. Andre 3000- Greenlight

  • Common ft. Pharrell- Universal Mind Control
Universal Mind Control - Common

  • Kid Sister ft. Kanye West- Pro Nails


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Top Fashion Trends Among Urbanized Youth and Young Adults

Late 80's-

  • The Look: Bright vivid colors, leggings, shutter shades, retro track jackets, and colored skinny jeans are just a few example elements to this style. Fanny Pack of MTV's America's Best Dance Crew is a clear representation of late 80's fashion in the new era.

Photos by: icanteachyouhowtodoit, Kerosene Photography, Molly Bewigged,

Urban Streetwear/Skate Punk-

  • The Look: Independent urban labels (Huf, The Hundreds, Crooks and Castles), graphic tees, fitted caps, and exclusive sneakers (Nike SB Dunks, for example). The Urban Streetwear and Skate Punk styles are interchangeable, borrowing various elements from one another (with the exception of skinny jeans, which is a fashion component of the skate punk look.)
A sub-genre to this fashion style brings back retro accessories, such as "Dookie-Rope Chains" and Cazal sunglasses, to 2008.

Photos by:, harry525, mr.l, 416style


  • The Look: Fitted shirts and jeans, v-neck shirts, flashy jewelry, and wallet-chains. "Gettro" is a coined-term [1] which refers to a mix of Ghetto and Metro fashion styles. Music artist, Lil' Wayne is among the current celebrities sporting this style.
Visit links below for photos and video:

Lil Wayne- Gettro
Lil Wayne Fashion
Fitted jean + wallet-chain

Metro Casual-

[1] Credit to: Brian Surigao

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Google Chrome

written by Priyanka Patel
photo by Matthew Oliphant + Pascal H

You usually don’t have a comic book where the heroine/hero is a piece of technology, but you do with Google Chrome. Google has recently come out with a comic book explaining their new browser, Google Chrome. It is touted to be the browser that deals with “the next generation of web applications that aren't even possible in today's browsers” according the Google Blog.

The beta phase of Google Chrome was released September 2, 2008 and will soon be released to everyone to download.

Google Chrome’s features include:

  • Tabbed browsing where each tab gets its own process, leading to faster and more stable browsing. If one tab crashes, the whole browser doesn’t go down with it.
  • A distinct user interface that places tabs on top of the browser window instead of right below the address bar.
  • An “incognito” mode that lets you browse the web in complete privacy because it doesn’t record any of your activity.
  • A new JavaScript engine built from the ground up for speed.
  • Malware and phishing lists that automatically update themselves and warn you of bad websites.
  • A default homepage that displays your most commonly used sites and other personalized information
Google Chrome Screenshot:

It sounds too good to be true -- I’ll have to wait and see.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Hundreds is HUGE!!

photos by Tony Mendoza

In the past few years, urban street wear has become one of the fashion trend to watch. Today, if you visit the Fairfax district in L.A. or Haight St. in San Fransisco, its not all too surprising to see a long line wrapping around the corner of people of all ages, races, and social classes just to get the latest fitted caps. To illustrate how big a phenomenon urban street wear is, take The Hundreds clothing company for example.

The Hundreds can be described as a clothing company "inspired by LOS ANGELES LIFESTYLE / CALIFORNIA CULTURE and Southern California’s skateboarding, surf, punk, and hip-hop cultures." The company has steadily grown in the past five years and has caught the attention of many industry giants. They have been featured in New York Times Magazine, CNN Money, Giant Robot, KoreAm, MuchMusic Television, and T Magazine.

How huge is The Hundreds? Big enough to draw attention from media and entertainment behemoth, Disney. The Hundreds booth at the recent MAGIC 2008 Conference (Mens Apparel Guild In California) displayed several photos of Disney created characters outfitted in the urban street wear style. The Walt Disney Company has chosen to team up with The Hundreds in a unknown project, however their collaboration has not been made official just yet.

For more information on The Hundreds visit the following links:
The Hundreds

Source: The Hundreds

Friday, August 29, 2008

What’s going in the LAB

CultureLab has really taken off over the last couple of months and we have been BUSY. We have added new capabilities in the areas of quantitative research, trendspotting/cultural anthropology, digital communications planning and CRM/Metrics.

Also check out our billboard for Dr.Pepper in front of Texas Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys play, at the juncture 183 and 114.

CultureLab has recently done work for, Saatchi NY, Dr Pepper national account sales, and EDS Credit Union. To learn more, visit us at

Rise of the Black Hipsters in the Post Hip Hop Age

written by Kevin Walker

It is pretty much a universal belief in the advertising/entertainment circles that African American youth are pretty much the initiators of many trends that eventually reach the mainstream. Is that still true?

As an agency that prides ourselves on being rooted in research we are seeing that this is not necessarily the case.

We recently went to LA and Atlanta to do some trendspotting on behalf of one of our Clients, and what we saw developing was antithetical to that traditional belief that Black kids start trends. What we witnessed was that many African American youth are mimicking the fashion, musical taste, and activities of the Williamsburg, Brooklyn “hipsters” and West Coast skate punks. We are talking about young people wearing skinny jeans, the hipster scarfs, backpacks, streetwear graphic tees, etc. In addition to the fashions, we noticed that many Black youth in Atlanta and LA were into skateboarding and BMX biking. The icons of this Black hipster movement are Kanye West, Spankrock, The Gym Class Heroes, and Pharrell Williams. The cool clothing brands are no longer Phat Farm, and Sean Jean, they are now Hollister, Ed Hardy, Abercrombie and Fitch, Krewe, The Hundreds, and Crooks and Castles. It should be noted that none of these brands originated from urban hip-hop icons.

Did skateboarding originate in the hood? What about BMX biking? Or the skinny jeans trend? The answer is no. As you may or may not know, these are activities that emanate from the Southern California suburban areas.. So we see this new dynamic at work where suburban trends are shaping the taste of Black urbanites. Our research points to the internet being one of the key catalyst for this new dynamic. My Space, Youtube, celebtity gossip blogs have democratized informational flow. So the influence dynamic becomes two way (suburban to urban, urban to suburban). This is a HUGE trend we see developing that will shape attitudes towards racial identity, and youth trends for years to come. Issues of class also come into play here. The bottom line is that corporations and marketers cannot continue to live on past assumptions. Dynamics are different and agencies like ours will become more valued partners as these dynamucs change so quickly.. Real time research and trendspotting will continue to gain in stature.

Double your pleasure, Double your fun?

written by Priyanka Patel

Recently, I was jamming out to my new favorite song, "Forever" by Chris Brown, when I caught part of the lyrics,"double your pleasure, double your fun." "Hmm, that’s weird," I thought, "was Chris Brown even alive when that Wrigley’s Doublemint ad came out? You know the one, where there is a video montage of a variety of twins doing a variety of activities all while supposedly chewing on Doublemint gum, with a voice over proclaiming "double the pleasure, double the fun!"

I later mentioned my thoughts to my boss and he informed me, (much to my shock) that Wrigley’s had actually commissioned Chris Brown to write an extended version of their old Doublemint jingle in the form of what is now the song "Forever."

Forever - Chris Brown

Now as someone in the advertising industry, I know I should be applauding the innovative way that we can now market products, but I don't. In fact, I feel that this is a deceptive way to market because the audience doesn’t even know they are being marketed to. I know the old adage "what you don’t know won’t hurt you," but in this case it does. It hurts the ad industry because when people do find out, a lot are outraged at the fact and feel deceived, which could cause industry backlash. Industry backlash could happen in a variety of forms from boycotts to tighter advertising and marketing laws which would end up restricting the ad industry even more than before. It hurts the audience because they become even more jaded overall about advertising causing them to pay less attention to it, which in the end hurts us all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Toy Punks Vol. 1

With the rising popularity of vinyl toys, its not all too surprising to see the designer toy culture as the next subject for a documentary. Toy Punks exposes the world of vinyl toys, and more specifically, "the intersection of Japanese toys, fashion and punk rock. Volume 1 of the series (released November 15, 2007) was shot on location in Japan and the US, and "explores a profound cross-cultural exchange between American and Japanese creators."

For more information visit

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mobile Technology, and the Youth Market

Needed to send an email, but had no internet access? Wanted to send a text but had your hands tied? Queue in Jott, a free service that transcribes your voice to SMS text, email, or even a blog post.

Scenario: You are on your way to work but get caught in morning rush-hour traffic. You needed to send an important email to a client, but had no way of getting internet access. Simply call Jott’s 866 number, choose your contact, speak, and it’s sent! Fast, efficient and easy to use. It even allows you and the recipient to review the recording, just in case there were any speech-to-text errors. See list below for other things you can accomplish through Jott:

- Schedule events

-Set up a Reminder

-Text message yourself, a friend, or a group

-Make a blog post

-Search for items, and receive the results in your email

- Get the latest updates on news, weather, and blog updates right in your ear

- Email yourself, a friend, or a group

Visit for more of Jott’s services.

Living in the digital age, youth and adults alike know the importance of staying connected. And with the California Texting and Driving Law in-effect, it is also important to stay safe and legal. Jott lets us accomplish both through its easy to use service; a perfect solution for our many needs.

Youth and Mobile Tech

Services like this seem to be a natural step in the evolution of mobile technology. With that said, it is critical to acknowledge the importance of mobile tech and services.

Youth and Mobile Facts

- 1.1 billion youth own a mobile phone

- The lifetime value of a mobile youth consumer is $28,000

- By 2010 youth will spend $300 billion on mobile phones and services

Clearly, a market that cannot be ignored.

In the political world, mobile technology has already been recognized as a powerful tool to help reach out and connect with young adults. The Jott the Vote service, for instance, allowed anyone to call and leave a message for any of the presidential candidates.

Even the Pope has recognized its importance, and has used mobile technology to reach out to youth!

Pope Goes Digital to Better Connect with Youth

Sources: mobileYouth

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Diversity Changes in U.S. Population

photo by swanksalot

The following New York Times article discusses America's growing diversity, stating that "one in four American counties have passed or are approaching the tipping point where black, Hispanic and Asian children constitute a majority of the under-20 population"

Please Visit for the full article

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Chromeo- Momma's Boy

photo by divertingbailey
Straying from their hip hop roots, Chromeo (consisting of artists Dave 1 and P-Thugg) put down their vinyls, and dust off their synthesizers, keyboards, and talk-boxes to explore the genre of electro-funk.
Please visit for the duo's bio.

More to come on the return of electro-funk.

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Hispanic Youth Trends and Issues

In a recent study conducted by our summer intern (Erica Hernandez) several Hispanic youth ages 15-18 were asked a series of questions about current issues and trends:

1. What social issues are important to you
Global warming
Going green and preserving the earth
2. What type of music do you listen to
3. Who are your favorite music artists
Taking Back Sunday
Mariah Carey
Chris Brown
The Jonas Brothers
Michael Jackson
Alicia Keys
Lil Wayne
4. What website do you visit most

Runner Ups-
5. What are your favorite TV shows
Cartoons or programs designed for younger viewers
The Cosby Show
6. Who do you look up to
Family members (Parents and Grandparents in particular)
Church Leader/Pastor
Social Leader (Barack Obama)
7. What is your primary language
(Spanish learned at a later time)
8. What is the hottest brand right now
Abercrombie & Fitch
9. What is the hottest sneaker
Nike Air Forces
10. How do you spend your free time
Being with friends and family
11. How important is family to you
Number one priority
(In some cases second to God)

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Wii Want More!

written by Errol Veloso
photo by Gwire

The Nintendo Wii console is one of the hottest items out on the market today. It continuously tops the sales charts, and maintains its supremacy over Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's Playstation 3. Despite being released almost two years ago, the Wii is still disappearing off of store shelves making it nearly impossible to get one unless you reserve it in advance. In fact, the demand for Wii's is so high that people have formed online communities that help locate where it’s in stock, and also share tips on getting the best deal.
Your child wants one, and chances are you want one too. It generates worldwide buzz and retail shortages. So, what is it about the Wii that makes it different from any other console?

Until recently, the video game industry has mainly targeted hardcore gamers, alienating many potential players. With the Wii, however, Nintendo is able to market to a wider audience ranging from youths to adults, and even the elderly. The reason behind this is their less intimidating approach to gaming.

1. Controls- Other consoles on the market utilize complex controls and button combinations as opposed to the Wii, where controls are as simple as a wave of the hand. This is possible through the “Wii-mote’s” motion sensing technology allowing for controls that are fun and easy to learn.
2. Content- Along with simple controls, many games for the Wii are designed to be easy to pick up and play. Simple rules and simple game-play help bridge the gap between gamers and non-gamers attracting adults who would not normally play video games. Additionally, games such as Wii Fit help draw in even more consumers through its fun and easy way to stay fit and healthy.
3. Price- At the price of $250, the Wii is substantially cheaper than the Playstation 3 ($399 for the base model). However, Microsoft’s price drop for the Xbox 360 ($279 base model) makes for some formidable competition.

Nintendo’s move to reach out to casual gamers and non-gamers is proving to be highly beneficial not only for the company, but the industry as well. And it seems this video game juggernaut is nowhere near losing steam.

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The World of Urban Vinyl

written by Errol Veloso
Photo by LaertesCTB

There’s a new craze hitting the scene that has got kids and adults alike emptying their pockets and waiting in line for hours. Known as Designer Toys or Urban Vinyl, this new trend can be described as a collision of art and toys; influenced by graffiti, Asian pop art, and skater and sneaker culture. Not to be confused as action figures, these vinyl sculptures act as a canvas for artists ranging from the formally trained to post-graffiti artists.

The origin of this new art genre and collecting craze can be traced to Michael Lau, an artist based in Hong Kong, who created the first vinyl figurines as a promotion for a band in the 90’s. Since then, the designer toy culture has steadily gained interest and grown into a multi-million dollar industry. Consumers consist of a wide variety of collectors including art, comic book, and sneaker enthusiasts. The reason to its success can be attributed to its eclectic blend of art styles, limited numbers, and collectability.

Vinyl Categories

1. Limited Runs- These vinyl toys come in limited runs ranging anywhere from 200-1000 pieces. Several examples of these include the works of artist’s Tilt, Huck Gee, Kaws, and Joe Ledbetter
2. Blind Box/Chase- Blind Box Vinyl toys usually come 2-3 inches in height with a set of twelve or more figures randomly packaged; percentage rates for each figure (ex. 1/48) are shown on the packaging. Collectors are attracted to this type of designer toy because of the excitement involved with the random nature of this vinyl; and also the chance to land an ultra rare piece known as “chases.” The Dunny series is among the more popular pieces for this category.
3. Customs- Several urban vinyl companies provide blank vinyl pieces available for customization. One example is Kidrobot’s Munny, a blank figure boxed with accessories.

The Hunt

photo by merfam

Collectors are completely rabid for these vinyl toys; often joining online communities, arranging sales, and even hosting trading events at the local vinyl store. Seeking to complete their set, collectors will often pay highly inflated prices. In one instance I received an offer of $250 for a piece I originally paid $8 for.

The world of urban vinyl is an excellent platform in which youth and adults can appreciate art they can relate to, and perhaps encourage a transition into formal art.
For more information on Urban Vinyl, follow the links below. (More info on Urban Vinyl) (A popular Vinyl retailer based in America) (Community news, events, and upcoming releases)

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hot Brands Among Latino Youth

20 Hot Latino Brands

A recent report prepared by The Intelligence Group identified a list of brands that are viewed most favorably by young Latino consumers.

According to the study, Hispanic youth said these brands "do the best job of creating products/services for Latinos like me" (in alphabetical order):

> Baby Phat
> Coke
> Dickies
> Ecko Unlimited
> Foot Locker
> Goya
> J Lo
> Levi's
> McDonald's
> Microsoft
> Nike
> Pepsi
> Rocawear
> Sony
> Taco Bell
> Target
> T-Mobile
> Univision
> Wal-Mart
> (Source: Marketing Y Medios, 04/21/08)

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Everyone Nose-N.E.R.D.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Google Me Baby!!

Teyana Taylor - Google Me

A couple of weeks ago I received my Cornerstone Mix CD in the mail (Yes, I am one of the lucky few on their VIP list) After opening up the package I popped in disc #2 in the CD changer and proceeded to listen to some of the hot new songs debuting. The song that I liked the most on this disc was Teyana Taylor’s Google Me Baby. Check out the embedded video here. As I listened to the song I started laughing and thinking about the new world in which we live in where if you want to learn something about anything or anyone you can simply go to your computer and utilize the Google website. In the song, Teyana is telling a suitor that she is hot stuff and that if you want to learn about her “hotness” just Google her! So to be Googled in this context is the equivalent of having status enough that the omnipotent search engine would springboard information about you to the top of the search results.

Information is everywhere and it is accessed at light speed these days. I think it is safe to assume that our typical workdays include ceaseless banter online with our friends, the passing on of links to the craziest videos, the exchange of political editorials and subsequent online discussion, the circulation of pictures and the use of Google to find information on anything. I think that I speak for a lot of people when I say that this is a typical day. This is the way we use our time and consume our media. It is rare that nowadays we gather around the watercooler, so to speak, to talk about that hot show on ABC last night. Our range of conversation is so diverse and pretty much revolves around stuff we receive or see on the internet.

The creation of Youtube and Google are two of the most remarkable developments of my lifetime here on this earth. Google has replaced the encyclopedia, the library, phone book, 411, TV Guide, etc. It is an incredibly powerful informational resource and continues to gain in stature and utility. Not only is Google a powerhouse for information search but it is becoming the key distributor of advertising, SEO and SEM.

Youtube along with the smartphone are two other life changing entities. Recently, I went to the Kanye West Glow In the Dark tour, and was able to videotape and photograph large portions of the show on my Nokia N95 8GB phone (see the pics in this blog). I along with thousands of other people there were able to capture these moments and subsequently share them with the rest of the world via Youtube or on blogs like this one. How do you stop and control this type of informational flow? Trust me, you can’t! Information is unstoppable now and the internet is our most powerful tool for outreach and connection to young people. The success of the Obama campaign is as strong of a testimony to the power of the internet as anything in recent marketing history. The Obama campaign recognized how savvy millennials used the internet and effectively used their knowledge of millennial ways of connecting to raise money and to communicate key messages in real time. As brand managers, marketers, and advertisers we should use the Obama campaign as THE case study for successful marketing (notice I did not say successful online marketing)

Here are some things to consider for marketing outreach in this new age:

1)Make sure to leverage the power of video via video host embedding and via email, you do not have to make a media buy to get your message out using video
2)Consumers want to like you and can be your best advocates. Let them be your ambassadors. Engage them: when developing new products or launching a new ad campaign get information from them directly upfront and keep that relationship going even allowing them to tweak your campaigns
3) Stay close to your consumer as they are more finicky than ever these days. Trends, and attitudes can change at the drop of a dime and if you are out of touch, your product, brand or service can become obsolete very quickly
4) Talk to people about what they are reading on the internet, watching on tv and music they are listening to, don’t assume you know. This is the day and age of hyper-fragmentation when it comes to media consumption and varied interests so you have to work harder to find insight and keep your finger on the pulse constantly.
5) Make sure your SEO and SEM game is tight. Given that search is such a key way of people getting information it is imperative that you tweak your Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing to get the results you want