Like it or not, product placement is everywhere and going to get even more integrated as this article on the future of advertising makes the case. And that means in social media, content, games and any online stream that captures our attention. It needs to do so because we’re tuning it out everywhere else. The key for advertisers is to do it right. Make it relevant. And find new ways to engage with us.

Although I like nice cars like BMWs and Porsches and Audis, I drive a Volkswagen. And although I long for a Leica, I currently use a Nikon. (And more often my trusty iPhone). But Oh, how I would love a Leica. The feel. The quality of the optics. The sheer experience with shooting with a finely crafted machine. Just like driving a finely tuned automobile. There’s a feeling you get from each that creates delight the more time you spend with them.  What I appreciate about Leica is how they’re maintaining their relevance in a world of iPhone and point ‘n shoot cameras that do a good enough job for most of us. Leica hasn’t wavered from their focus on quality and feel and continue to innovate with their brand experience. This is a great lesson for any brand and further proof that you don’t always need a line extension to grow and maintain your brand. Less is still more.

Along these lines Converse gets social media by getting out of the way. Rather than use it as a marketing channel, they use it to connect with their prime audiences, rewarding the musicians who adopted their shoes by creating a recording studio free for artists. They act as facilitators and get out of the way – great lessons for businesses struggling to understand how they can integrate social media into their marketing or wondering why they’re not seeing any traction.

And now for some pure brandutainment Hyundai brings us this incredible 3D outdoor projection to introduce their new Hyundai Accent. Great concept meets great choreography and execution. Props to them for approving this creative. Such brilliance required over 120 crew members, 6 hd projectors, 10 hd cameras, 6 cranes 4 months production, 1 stuntman, and a 1000+ live event audience.  I’m curious as to how they measure success and determine if this is a worthy approach for future releases. Hat tip to @jacoutofthebox for sharing this one.

Big banking certainly has a bad rap these days, particularly in the U.S. I know I’m a tad cynical about their motives, preferring a credit union to traditional bank. Most need to go beyond their brand ID and focus more on showing they actually care about their customers. But in this world of instant videos and communication, design and branding often gets short shrift. Particularly in smaller companies. As Leica demonstrates, design is a prime opportunity to separate yourself from all the me-toos. I hadn’t realized Deutsche Bank ‘crowdsourced’ their logo in 1974 but they obviously got it right. This look at their new brand standards and brand museum is testament to the power of design. And for a financial institution no less. While most companies can’t afford to spend the millions Deutsche bank did, there are lessons here. Design is scalable. It’s not the dollars so much as the attention to detail and passion invested in creating a brand that resonates.

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