How Your Brand Can Tap Into Viral Photo Trends

Viral Photo Trends Hot dogs as legs, babies wearing watermelons, dogs in pantyhose… It feels like we have seen it all this year. Viral photo trends are on the rise and rather than sitting back and enjoying the endless stream of content, your company should see this as an opportunity to capitalize and join in on the fun. But how, you ask?

Encourage your audience. The consumer’s natural photo-taking behavior will already have them itching to jump on the next trend. Ask your followers to share photos of the product with the viral trend and offer incentives,

Get involved. The social sphere is constantly pulsating. Users expect to find the most relevant information as efficiently as possible. Write a blog, create a video, or submit a photo album. Make sure this isn’t another missed opportunity.

Have fun. Most of your followers have probably seen the marketing messaging you’ve been pushing out. Use this as an opportunity to voice a friendly side. Consumers want to be able to relate with the products they love. It will result in more opportunities to engage.

Don’t be upset if you’ve missed these trends. Another one will come along shortly. In the meantime, learn more about how to better engage with your consumers’ photos here.

Photo Taking: The Universal Behavior

Even though this K-Pop music video has gone viral within days, not many people can produce high quality videos.

Who here hasn’t seen Gangnam Style? It’s everywhere: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, MTV Awards and even on Ellen. The hilarious K-Pop video went viral within days and now the song is replaying all over the radio. YouTube stars are making their own parodies and sharing them on the web.

While there are a handful of people who make high quality videos, quality videos are yet to be created by everyone. It’s hard to do.

Creating high quality videos is still harder even in the high-tech world we live in. Brands, professionals and celebrities have enough resources to create a cool video to post online. Many YouTubers express themselves through these high quality videos that go viral within days. That is where a trend starts.

A photo taken with Instagram on an iPhone 4.

However, trends are maintained differently. Camera phones are easily accessible and now consumers express their own style through photos and hundreds of iPhone and Android photography apps that instantly enhance photo quality. People are searching for ways to take better photos and get more likes on Facebook or more followers on Instagram. Taking photos is now a universal behavior. And, it’s much much easier to create high quality photo content than video content.

Products and brands aren’t meant to be one-sided; it should be reciprocal. Through photos, product marketing and expressing individual style has never been easier. Pongr is here to make it faster, simpler and more fun for everyone on the web.

Have a favorite brand or product? Pongr your photos and add a little Gangnam Style to it – or maybe even your own – and share it with the brands you love and the friends you like.

Super Bowl Snack of the Century

Super Bowl stadium made out of deli meat

A Super Bowl Stadium That You Can Sink Your Teeth Into!

So we hope you all had fantastic Super Bowl parties—what a nailbiter! Our hearty congratulations to New York Giants fans and our sincere condolences to New England Patriots fans.

And for all you fans of those other NFL teams, just remember that training camp for the 2012 season really isn’t that far away.

In all the excitement surrounding our “Ultimate Match-Up” Super Bowl promotion with Pepsi and Frito-Lay, and last night’s Super Bowl Photo Contest, we’d be remiss if we didn’t credit the anonymous deli meat architect who created this replica of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis!

Thanks to Pongr player Keith C., who alerted us to this snack sculpture masterpiece. Keith shared this picture from a viral email that’s been going around—but this idea of Bologna Architecture remains no less impressive.

Any enterprising supermarkets, grocery stores or sandwich shops want to capitalize on this idea year-round with other landmarks? Do you know of any food markets that are already being this creative?

The Great Pongr Logo Hunt: Special Beach Edition!

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE: Whether you are into swinging swords, cheering on your favorite sports teams or celebrating Disney princesses, there's the perfect airbrushed theme for you at Hampton Beach. (Click the photo for tips on how to make your Pongr mobile game pics more creative!)

One of the joys of playing Pongr’s mobile picture game is that you can play it anywhere and it doesn’t take a lot of time. As long as you have your mobile phone — and heck, who doesn’t carry that 24/7? — you can instantly share those little moments in life that make you smirk.

We just stumbled across this airbrushing artist on the boardwalk of Hampton Beach (NH), and were amused by how many brands were being spouted out of his spraypaint guns. Boston sports fans have a huge ally here. For the indecisive customers who can’t decide if their loyalty is stronger for the Red Sox, Bruins, Patriots or Celtics, you can get all four logos on one shirt!

Or if young love is more on your mind, you can fantasize what life would be like if pop star Justin Bieber accepted your secret marriage proposal:

Biebermania 4-eva!

Whether it is a major league sports team or a cute teenage celebrity crush, Pongr is a way for you to express to the world how you feel about your favorite brands.Some other airbrushed tributes just sent to our Pongr game stream:

Celebrating the Celtics brand at Hampton Beach (click photo to see Pongr Celtic fan pics!)

The NFL Lockout is over -- which means that your favorite players need to get off the beach and back to practice! (Click the photo to see Pongr New England Patriots fan pics)

Red Sox slugger Kevin Youkilis looks ready to crush the ball (Click the pic to see more Red Sox fan photos on Pongr!)

(How about you?  Where have you recently spotted your favorite brand logos even when you weren’t actively looking for them?  Send your mobile pics to tips@pongr.com along with a few words about why your brand sighting was unexpected!)

 

 

Send Pics of Cosmo and Earn a Free Subscription!

The COSMO Challenge. It's all the gossip, girl.

Guys: hear me out for a second.

You’re sitting around a table (a bar, restaurant, kitchen…doesn’t matter) with a bunch of ladies when some random subject comes up.

“Oh,” says the woman next to you, “I read about that in Cosmo.”

It’s happening more and more around here lately. Part of it is because PONGR’s reading more Cosmo (yes, even our gentlemen employees want to know what Topher Grace looks for in a woman), and part of it is because a bunch of people read Cosmo. How many? If you factor in the fact that each copy of Cosmopolitan Magazine is read by an average of seven different people, the magazine reaches 15 million people, per month.

That’s a lot of people.

We’ve been scratching our heads around the office on how to show some love to one of our favorite lady magazines (which is perfectly fine for guys to read, by the way), and then we decided to do what we do best: give stuff away.

So, here it is: The COSMO Challenge!

We’re taking the next four weeks to give away four (4) one-year (12-issue) subscriptions to Cosmopolitan Magazine. And we’re giving them to our favorite Cosmo Girls and Guys. The important thing to know: prizes are worth many dollars, but worth that much more when you consider how many fashion, life and, um, bedroom tips you’ll get over the next year. Excited? Good–so are we.

How do you get one? Funny you should ask. We’re calling it the PONGR four-step:

Step One: Snap it. Take a photo of Cosmopolitan Magazine–a copy you’ve got lying around, your favorite article, whatever.

Topher makes better flirty eyes, but I have more PONGR Bucks.

Better yet? Take a picture of yourself holding a copy. If you’ve got a Mac, open up Photo Booth and pose. I’ve demo’d it at right.

Step Two: Send it. Send it to cosmo@pongr.com from any computer or mobile phone with email or picture-texting.

Step Three: Love it. Get other people to “like” your photos on pongr.com, and “like” other people’s photos. Want to get even more likes? Turn some friends on to PONGR and Cosmo Challenge them.

Step Four: Earn it. Come out on top and we’ll award you a one-year Cosmo subscription from Magazines.com. Awards come out  once every week for the photo that gets the most “likes” from the previous week. In total there will be 4 annual subscriptions earned by the top “Liked” player pic for the next 4 weeks.

That’s it: take great photos, send them to us, and earn some swag if you get the most “likes.”

Now get to snapping, sending, liking and earning. We’re gonna go read some more about melting underpants.

Remembering extinct soda brands – and one that will last forever

Brontosaurus Blue Raspberry?  Yum Yum!

Brontosaurus Blue Raspberry? Yum Yum!

Pop culture archeologist Hillary Buckholtz just uncovered 16 “extinct” soda brands that she laments you can no longer savor for yourself. The irony of the prehistoric Flintstones beverage brand going the way of the dinosaurs is deep.

If anyone in Pongr nation sees an unopened case of Pterodactyl Punch, Brontosaurus Blue Raspberry or Stegosaurus Cola on eBay, please ping us!

Other obsolete beverage brands include Super Mario Brothers Soda, Fudgicle Fudge Soda and Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum Soda. You can see Hillary’s full analysis here.

Perhaps if people had been taking oodles of pictures of Flintstones, the way they do with certain brands, the soda would still be around today. Savvy advertisers tuned-in with current trends in mobile and social marketing, see the clear relationship between user generated brand photos (i.e., activity on Pongr’s game) and brand health. Too bad mobile cameras and social networks didn’t exist back in the day of Flintstones soda.

One soda that will never go out of style is Mountain Dew, currently one of the hottest brands on Pongr.

Mountain Dew loyalists aren't afraid to explore their sillier side.

The Mtn DEW crew currently has tons of players competing to be CEO, with more recruits on the way.

Stay tuned here for an exciting announcement about how the stakes for Mountain Dew players are about to get higher!

Look who's playing Pongr: Car enthusiast Miles Branman

Pongr Ford CEO Miles Branman poses by his dreamcar, the Ford GT

PONGR PROFILE
Name: Miles Branman
Age: 20
Hometown: Orange County, California
Real Job: Boston University student, marketing intern for Boston-area PR firm.
Pongr Job: CEO of Ford
Career Dream: Work in corporate communications for a major auto brand.
Other Favorite Brands to Pongr: Vestal, G-Shock, Volkswagon, General Motors, Suburu, Vanguard Mattress, Dodge, Lamborghini, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Porsche, Kawasaki, Apple, Boston University.
Fun Fact: Has worked as an “extra” on the set of the new TBS comedy series, “Glory Daze,” a retro 80s look at a group of friends pledging a college fraternity. Miles plays – what else? – a partying frat boy!
Fun Fact #2: Miles is not really in a frat, but understands the culture and can fake it.

It’s not every car junkie that loves the smell of exhaust AND gets an adrenaline rush from reading automotive press releases.

But Miles Branman, Pongr CEO of Ford, is no ordinary car enthusiast. First off, as if his mom knew his destiny from the womb, he has the perfect first name for car-themed branding. And he hasn’t let that coincidence go to waste. Miles is currently building a social media empire as an auto industry analyst, sharing his “Miles Per Hour” insights via his blog, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Vimeo video channels.

That’s where the Pongr mobile marketing game comes in, allowing enthusiasts like Miles to build an additional platform to promote their passions to a community of already receptive fans.

The game has also been an icebreaker in the real world, opening up natural networking opportunities.

“I recently found a Ford Transit Connect parked outside a Starbucks. I noticed a man walking towards the car, so I politely asked if it was his. He smiled and said ‘yes.’ I then asked if he wouldn’t mind posing next to his car. He gladly stood next to his Ford for a shot. I was then able to explain why I made such an odd request and by the end of our conversation, he was very intrigued by Pongr. Also, I’m sure he drove away a bit more proud of his Ford vehicle,” he says.

Miles aims to be a consumer guardian angel, letting prospective car buyers “know which brands are communicating the company vision and reputation well through their vehicles, employees, and other constituencies.”

“Becoming part of a corporate family is a big decision, and consumers need to know with whom they are aligning themselves and how recent organizational activity will affect them directly or indirectly,” he explains on his blog.

Miles plans on taking plenty more Ford pics with his camera phone, so if there are any other Ford enthusiasts out there, it won’t be easy to knock him off the throne. If he ever has a chance to meet the real Ford CEO, you can also bet that he won’t be caught short on words.

And that chance comes now, right here on the Pongr blog. Take it away, Miles!

“Well, Alan Mulally, I’d say you have done a fantastic job so far at the helm of Ford. You saw the change in public focus, so you gave them “green” cars to love. You also saw the potential for social media presence, so you picked up Scott Monty. If you REALLY want to make Ford stand out, here’s what I would suggest:

1. Act on the “One Ford” policy. Really create Ford cars that are sold globally, not just for specific regions/continents. I know Euro Safety standards are different from the US, but spend some time adhering to both. Consumers and auto lovers will thank you for it.

2. Bring a little Ford history back into the mix. This will make the old Ford dogs feel welcome amongst the new, hip, target audience. Share some history with your ads, make a blog that focuses on the evolution of Ford and highlight the good ol’ years.

3. To connect with the fans, engage them! Use the Twitter profile to not only share news and awards, but to reach out to Ford lovers and answer questions. Use Pongr to give fans incentive to spread the word about the great things Ford Motor Co. is up to.

(Would you like to be featured on the Pongr blog? Tell us about your passions, your favorite brands and why you play Pongr! Drop us a line at tips at pongr dot com)

Pongr mobile marketing and image recognition solutions are used by major brands to turn logos, product packaging, out-of-home and even TV ads into direct-response mobile marketing games. Like Ford, many brands have faithful brand advocates taking pictures across many social, photo networks. Pongr makes it easy for brands to customize a gaming experience designed to leverage existing media assets and tap into the image recognition power of Pongr’s mobile marketing platform.

WARNING: QR Codes Kill Art.

SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: QR Codes Cause Frustration, Application Confusion, Poor Scalability, Creative Asset Damage, And May Complicate Media Campaigns.

QR codes might be right for you if:

- Your target mobile marketing audience understands that there are many different QR code applications and they know how to get the correct app.

FASHION WEEK MYSTERY: Does Virtual Success Have Sex Appeal?

The invasion has already begun. Now strolling Manhattan’s streets are armies of average-looking guys in designer suits flanked by gorgeous supermodels in little black dresses. It’s the Billy Joel/Christie Brinkley thing. Or Lyle Lovett/Julia Roberts.  Pick your favorite wealthy ugly duckling metaphor.

We don’t need a scientific study to verify that power is the greatest aphrodisiac.

But does virtual power, the kind of status achieved in a computer game, also reap the same kind of sexual magnetism?

Pongr, the new mobile picture-taking game that celebrates your favorite brands, explores this groundbreaking issue here. Tip: Watch the fashion reporter’s body language.

In the Pongr game, players can strive to become the virtual CEO of their favorite fashion brand. What would you do if you were calling the shots at Calvin Klein, DKNY, L.A.M.B., Nicole Miller, Ralph Lauren or any of the world’s top designers flashing their stuff in Manhattan this week?

Players rise up the corporate ladder from intern to CEO by snapping pics of their favorite brands and sharing them with friends – earning exclusive offers and deals in the process.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is the perfect time to start playing Pongr because photo-ops are in abundance!

Brand enthusiasts who compete with each other to be CEO (naturally, there can be only one) will likely impress real-life executives with their passion for marketing. But can a make-believe CEO make that status work in the real-life dating world?

Pongr has some sobering advice: Don’t let virtual success get to your head.

(The entire September issue of Marie Claire magazine uses Pongr’s patented image-recognition technology to connect fashion advertisers with their most passionate fans. Learn more about the upcoming launch of the Pongr game at www.pongr.com)

Pongr mobile marketing and image recognition technology provides a fast, scalable way for brand advertisers to leverage traditional media. Rather than use QR codes or mobile tags, image recognition makes your existing logos, products, creative assets and even TV ads “searchable” in our mobile marketing system. We provide customized games, social connections and m-commerce opportunities for ad agencies, global brands, and other partners.