In an attempt to jump on the bean wagon, Kentucky Fried Chicken is introducing an Arabica-based coffee blend. And they’ve got a nifty way of promoting it!
The edible coffee cup is part biscuit, part sugar paper (what’s that?) and part delicious white chocolate. It will be scented with various aromas such as sunscreen or fresh cut grass to evoke positive summer memories in customers. The cup will be available in KFC restaurants in the U.K. this summer.
As weird as you may find the concept, there are benefits to a cookie, grass smelling cup. The warm coffee melts the chocolate lining as you drink, so you’re coffee becomes sweeter and the cookie softens. Also, an edible cup means zero waste. With millions of disposable cups tossed into landfills each year, and coffee cup production causing harmful CO2 emissions, a little waste reduction doesn’t hurt.
From a promotional side, I don’t quite “get” the idea of my cup smelling like grass…or sunblock…or wildflowers. But I admit it will have some fast foodies keen to give it a try.
Tech company Samsung has optimized the television to eliminate all those pain-staking TV watching processes. Searching for the remote, scrolling, pushing buttons – they will all soon become archaic concepts thanks to Internet integrated Smart TVs. Voice recognition, similar to Siri and Google Voice, aids you in your viewership. The curved HD screens are equipped with this intelligent function to help keep you satiated with entertainment, but it includes a sneaky feature not many of us would be apt to find.
The Smart TVs can record our living room conversations and transmit data gleaned from them to third parties, so the fine print states. Samsung explains that the “third party” is a company called Nuance that specializes in voice recognition.
We live in a time when interactive electronics are a part of every day life. You can chat with your car, your phone and even your fridge. And data collection is something that doesn’t deter many of us. Has a targeted ad on your Facebook newsfeed ever freaked you out enough to deactivate your account? Probably not. So why is my TV listening to me sing along to Grammy’s on a quiet Sunday evening any more disturbing?
For some, the feature definitely has a high creep-out factor. The company compares the listening in feature to a tech support call being recorded for “training purposes”. In essence it is nothing like that, as tech support doesn’t stay on the line and casually listen to you go about your life for a the couple of hours following the call.
The good news for consumers of the Smart TV – the feature can be turned off. It also gives you clear warning when it is listening with a little microphone popping up on the screen. The feature is also typically activated when the TV hears a familiar command such as “Hello TV!” (I have a hard time picturing myself saying that to an electronic, ever) and the rest of the time it is not paying too much attention.
In my personal opinion, The Smart TV is bringing us one step closer to The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XII, in which Marge falls in love with the charming voice of the computerized Ultrahouse system. And it starts with us greeting our televisions.
My first real experience with Youtube happened ten years ago, when the video sharing site was in it’s infancy. I was an eighth grader looking for my favourites clips of Family Guy online, and discovered a Youtube channel with tons of 30 second Peter Griffin gags.
Now Youtube is synonymous with every day internet usage. The site has over 1 billion users worldwide with hundreds of millions of hours of video being consumed. Every day over 300 hours of footage is uploaded to Youtube, with years and years of footage available at a click of a mouse. Music videos and viral clips are bringing in millions upon millions of views.
‘Gangham Style’ – a kooky video companion to a popular pop song by Korean singer/songwriter Psy, broke records with over 2 billion (billion!) views in 2012.
Miley Cyrus, Eminem and the children from the viral home movie ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ have also reached near billion numbers.
Youtube has become an essential platform for many brands to advertise on. Imagine in the next the years what Youtube ads will look like and targeted they will be to each consumer that views them.
Happy Hour starts at 4!
In a pilot project launching this year, coffee giant Starbucks will be serving beer and wine at select Canadian locations. The project is titled “Starbucks Evenings” and has already been introduced by the company to American coffee shops. The “Evenings” menu also offers h’orderve style pairings with your beverage such as chicken skewers and bacon-wrapped dates.
The Evenings project is a great way to boost sales during low traffic hours. Typically a location will receive 70% of it’s daily business before 2 pm. Alcohol adds to Starbucks expanding selection of products (baked goods, sandwiches, iTunes cards). The company has been working hard to position itself as more than just a morning stop for a cup of joe, and is becoming a multi-service store. In the past few years, the dominating coffee company has been battling fast food chains who are competing with their own coffees. McCafe – McDonald’s successful bean brand is sneaking in as a close second to Starbs.
The US stores providing the Evenings menu have seen substantial success and experts are not worried about failure here in Canada. But some Canadian consumers have concerns. Based on online commentaries, some people don’t feel booze melds with the Starbucks atmosphere. Won’t customers who’ve had “one too many” disrupt the cafe vibe? Or even the boozy smell could off-put those expecting the rich coffee aroma we are used to. Others fear baristas aren’t equipped to be discerning IDers, or are uncomfortable with alcohol being more readily available and “to-go”.
The locations for the pilot project will be confirmed later this month, but they will most likely be based in major city centres such as Toronto. The company alludes that the project will be popular among their main target, women, who will prefer goat cheese flatbread and a glass of wine in a cozy coffee shop over the bar.
I am trying to be unbiased, but as a twenty something who loves goat cheese and who could take or leave the bar scene, it sounds like my cup of…coffee.