Vitaminwater Challenge: Ditch Smartphone For A Year, Win $100K

Social Media
Image Source: MediaPost

by   @KLmarketdaily

Vitaminwater is generating lots of social action with a novel contest that will give one individual the chance to win $100,000… if he or she can refrain from using a smartphone for 365 days.

Those who believe they can endure such a test can enter by posting their description of what a year without a smartphone would look like, using #NoPhoneForAYear and #contest, on Twitter or Instagram between now and Jan. 8, 2019.

Judges will pick the winning contestant based on originality/creativity, brand relevance, humor and submission quality.

But that’s just the first hurdle. To get the $100K, the contestant will have to promise to forego smartphone use for a year — and pass a lie detector test to verify that adherence at the end of the 12 months.

If the contestant fails to reach a year, but manages the feat for at least six months, he or she will still get $10,000. But cracking before six months will mean zero prize money.

Vitaminwater isn’t outlawing all phone usage during the challenge.

To enable calls and texting, it’s supplying the contestant with a throwback, non-smart Nokia 3310: “the most popular phone in 2000, when Vitaminwater launched.” That model was chosen “as a subtle nod to simpler days when the term ‘scrolling’ had not yet entered our lexicon,” explained the brand.

The entry posts (an individual may enter up to four times) are multiplying on the contest’s #NoPhoneForAYear Twitter page.

Intriguing promotion concept — but what’s the connection with the brand’s marketing mission?

The Coca-Cola Company brand “shook up” the water market when it launched by introducing “flavor, color, vitamins and fun,” and it’s still looking to “challenge the monotony,” said Vitaminwater Associate Brand Manager Natalia Suarez.

“There are a lot of people that are guilty of mindlessly scrolling because it’s the norm,” she added. “We see this as an opportunity to take a stance against routine, in a way that reflects Vitaminwater’s ‘personality with a purpose’” brand message.

Here’s a promotional video being used to convey the message and drive entries:

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Artificial intelligence – boons and banes

Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning
Image Source: CIO Review

By CIOReview

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the source of both enthusiasm and skepticism. With humans and machines joining in the array, AI promises for immense transformational possibilities. From the need to forecast electricity demands or autonomous cars to customer engagement in industries, the need for AI-adoption is everywhere. However, with the boons also some challenges arise after the adoption.


•  Organizations provide initial outlays for software and costs for cloud implementation, costs for training employees and continue training of the AI system when business processes change.

•  There various types of technologies are available and it is a rigorous job to narrow down which technology matches specifically which job.

•  AI applications rely on huge volumes for decision-making. Machine learning uses sensitive and personal data to learn and enhance itself. This increases the vulnerability of data and the possibility of a data breach.

•  Inability to predict ROI (return on investment) precisely.


Understanding big data: Big data, after data collection, is analyzed to understand current trends, patterns, and make critical prediction. Big data helps in decision taking tasks, supported by vast amounts of data and enables businesses in predicting, mitigating risks, and personalizing.

Robots: Robots are probing solar system for science of life, building car motors and motor plants or making milkshake in the kitchen or defusing bombs. There are robot astronauts, soldiers who are replaced by drones and robot soldiers.

Understanding emotion: AI has the potential more than only processing requests and synthesizing data. Companies are now developing technologies that can understand sentiments. The idea is that by understanding emotions, AI could predict persons’ needs as humans do.

AI offers the ability to transform a business by improving its operational efficiencies, generating higher profit margins, and providing insights about the business. The journey of AI implementation can be complicated and risky but at the end, it can be highly profitable.

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The Innovation Of ‘Huh?’

Strategy, Innovation
Image Source: Chief Executive

Mountain Dew Kickstart is a product that combines the effervescent flavor of Mountain Dew with five percent juice, Vitamins B and C, and caffeine. Who knew that this combination would grow to a billion dollars in annual sales, soon after its 2013 launch?

The customers who inspired it probably did.

For PepsiCo, the journey of discovery started with convenience store sales data that revealed a surprising amount of Mountain Dew purchasing in the early morning hours. Brand manager Greg Lyons and his team decided to speak with consumers and dig into the granular details of their morning routines. What they discovered was a curious practice of younger guys stopping by a convenience store, buying an OJ and a Mountain Dew, and mixing their own concoction to kickstart the day.


They discovered a rich story of a young guy groggily dragging himself from bed and eager to be at his best for a demanding workday. He didn’t care for coffee but wanted the caffeine, and orange juice felt like morning but provided no boost. Energy drinks were great, but he was looking for sustained energy – not a quick jolt. He loved Mountain Dew, and it had the caffeine, but it didn’t quite feel morning appropriate and walking into work with a 20oz. soda made him feel a bit uncomfortable. So, this was the hack: stopping by a convenience store to mix his morning elixir.

This story provided the brief for the Mountain Dew brand team and a clear North Star for the desired experience, the relevant performance attributes, and the customers’ decision criteria in play. What resulted was the billion-dollar, category-creating Mountain Dew Kickstart.

It’s worth noting two responses Greg and his team didn’t take. First, they didn’t dismiss their discovery as the bizarre behavior of some small subset of consumers. Second, they didn’t leap to the easily executable obvious option: an orange flavored Mountain Dew. Instead, exercising an unusual degree of marketer curiosity, they felt that there was something important that they didn’t fully understand – and they dug deeper.

Digging deeper gets beneath the ‘what’ of customers’ behavior, to the ‘why’ of their motivations. But digging deeper into mainstream behavior reveals only mainstream motivations, which tend to reaffirm today’s understanding and may drive some incremental improvements. Digging deeper into unexpected behavior reveals unexpected motivations – the ones that can open up a whole new category. That’s when the deductive ‘Why?’ gives way to the inductive ‘Huh?’

We have seen the same story in many industries. Take accounting software. “For three years we were ignoring how…Continue Reading

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Creating an Emotional Connection with Customers

Social Media, Management
Image Source: Convenience Store Decisions

It’s no secret that we are experiencing unprecedented times across retail.

Customers now have access to anything and everything they want in seconds right from their smartphones. Delivery is available on demand for everything from a new car to breakfast sandwiches.

Frictionless retail, where customers can walk into a store, pick up what they want and walk right out—completely bypassing the checkout counter and those important impulse sales—is not only here, it’s expanding to markets around the country.

Amazon and Google have developed devices that allow customers to reorder products and have them delivered right to their front doors in a matter of hours with the simple push of a button. Scared yet? You should be. When you combine these growing trends with other concerning issues, such as the FDA’s assault on tobacco and the growth of electric cars and alternative fuels, which are curbing visits to the convenience store, concerns abound.

All hope is not lost, according to Justin Champion, author of “Inbound Content: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing Content Marketing.” That’s because customers respond to emotional connections. That’s why convenience stores must work harder at creating a story for your brand that resonates with your customers.

“Stories create emotion and emotion is what people remember,” Champion said. “They help you engage and, more importantly, remind customers who you are, what your values are and why you’re a good business for your community.”

People are bombarded with messages these days. Google processes over 3.8 million searches per minute. That’s a lot of people looking for information. This is happening because the way people buy has changed.

For retailers, the message is clear: You must provide…Continue reading

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Ford brings artificial intelligence to Edge AWD

Artificial Intelligence, Cars, Automobiles, Technology
Image credit: Motor Matters photo

By Lyndon Conrad Bell, MOTOR MATTERS

The 2019 Ford Edge sees definite nods toward greater efficiencies — and in a Ford-first, Artificial Intelligence is introduced in its all-wheel drive system.

Ford reduces engine choices from three to two, with the elimination of the normally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6. The base powerplant for the 2019 Ford Edge is now a 250-horsepower turbocharged inline four, making 275 lb.-ft. of torque. Minor tweaks have increased engine output by 5 horsepower, though the torque figure remains the same.

The other 2019 engine offering is a 335-horsepower, 2.7-liter turbocharged V-6 with 380 lb.-ft. of torque. Updates extracted an additional 20 horsepower and 30 lb.-ft. of torque. Applied to the new 2019 Edge ST version, it marks the first time a true high-performance variant of the midsize crossover has been presented for public consumption. Adjustments to the driveline further improve acceleration off the line, making the Edge ST a genuinely quick vehicle. Ford quotes 0-to-60-mph acceleration of just under 6 seconds.

That it accomplishes this while also achieving better fuel economy than its less-powerful Edge Sport predecessor is truly remarkable. The EPA said Edge ST is good for 19 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway; an increase of 2 mpg in both regards. While both engines trade six-speed automatic transmissions for eight-speed automatics, each gets its own specific gearing. All-wheel drive is standard with the ST and optional for all other Edge versions.

The automaker reports that in a first-for-Ford technology its new artificial intelligence calculates quicker than the human brain. Based on information received from dozens of high-tech sensors, the 2019 Edge can determine in a fraction of a second whether all-wheel drive is needed. The system is called “all-wheel-drive disconnect.”

According to Ford, the system detects…Continue Reading

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Three Movies That Altered Our Perception Of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, Tech
Image source: TV Overmind


When Lost in Space first aired in 1965, America was introduced to the idea of a friendly robot/human connection. In a now-famous episode, we see the robot concerned for a human when the robot warns young Will Robinson of an impending threat by uttering, “Danger, Will Robinson!” The robot was not given a name, but displayed human characteristics associated with artificial intelligence like laughter, sadness, and the ability to mock the other characters.

In today’s movies, some robots are friendly with humans, but many robots are portrayed as evil and kill both heroes and villains. Although we know television isn’t real, we can’t deny how the stories told on screen influence our perceptions.

The Lost in Space robot demonstrates mild AI capabilities compared to the films that came after it. Here are 3 movies that have shaped the way we perceive artificial intelligence:

1. The Terminator series plus Reboot

The Terminator is one of many in a long list of titles featuring killer robots. In The first Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a cyborg sent back in time to kill the mother of a man responsible for leading a rebellion that enslaved humanity. In subsequent episodes, his abilities as a cyborg get more powerful and lethal.

The biggest question raised by Terminator is whether artificial intelligence can be implanted into a human being to make them superhuman. Dr. Simon Watson, a robotics expert, says the technology needed to create Terminator-style killer robots is decades away, but there is currently a real threat of smart weapons.

Watson says, “Robots that think for themselves is the big fear – a SkyNet type deal – but the real problem is the automation of weapon platforms. Experts in the field agree the coming smart weapons won’t be machines that will rise up to kill people, but will be unmanned aircraft and tanks that can recognize threats on the battlefield and make the decision to kill (or not).

We’re left to wonder if these machines will be able to distinguish friend from foe, and exercise proportionate violent force. U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan killed at least 85 civilians in 2016, so the concern is valid.

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Eye On The Future: Top Five Digital Marketing Strategies Of 2019

Digital Marketing, Inbound Marketing
Image credit: Shutterstock

By Hafiz Muhammad Ali

You’re reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

As 2019 approaches, there could be a dramatic shift in the digital marketing scene which encompasses SEO, social media, content marketing and more. In a constantly changing high-tech era, companies continue to wrestle for attention online.

With less than two months until the year closes out, it’s critical to consider the advertising landscape and rethink your marketing strategy, because what worked for you then might not work for you now. Let’s discuss five business-critical digital marketing trends, old and new, to shape the coming year.