12 PM | 29 May

Facebook Cuts Down on Automatic Updates in Your Friends’ News Feeds


If you’ve ever been shocked to find out that all your Facebook friends know what song you’re listening to on Spotify, here’s some good news.

Facebook announced Tuesday that from now on fewer “implicit stories” will make it into the News Feed. That’s Facebook’s way of describing automatic updates from third-party apps.

“We’ve found that stories people choose to explicitly share from third party apps are typically more interesting and get more engagement in News Feed than stories shared from third party apps without explicit action,” the company wrote in a blog post. “We’ve also heard that people often feel surprised or confused by stories that are shared without taking an explicit action. In the coming months, we will continue to prioritize explicitly shared stories from apps in News Feed over implicitly shared stories.”

In other words, if you opt to post something from an app it will have better circulation in the News Feed than if it’s passively transmitted.

Facebook introduced such automatic updates from third-party apps, which were called Facebook Gestures, as part of its 2011 Timeline update. Such gestures included “read,” “watch” and “listen” and were designed to share users’ real-time activities in the feed. Such gestures showed up in users’ Ticker, a column in the upper-right rail that is now gone for many users.

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07 AM | 29 May

Sports Brands Are Winning Big With Instagram Videos


Earlier this month, fashion brands were dominating the weekly VideoWatch/Shareablee top 10 chart for Instagram videos. Well, sports have take over the scene, with seven of the spots in the rankings going to a wide range of sports/entertainment-oriented brands. We admit that the WWE is more “entertainment” than “sports,” but the plastic facemasks, tights and kneepads seem to fit in here well enough with the likes of theatrics-embracing UFC and flop-happy pro basketball. And then there’s Vans: appearing on our chart for the second time with clips from a skateboarding competition. Not surprisingly, due to the format, Instagram video continues to be dominated by brands that leverage action-packed social clips. But GoPro and Red Bull are not on the charts for once, and other companies are starting to flex their 15-second muscle. For instance, there’s Major League Baseball, making its first appearance in the rankings by repurposing a funny-minded clip from Whistle Sports’ Bad British Announcing series. Check out the MLB’s work below in our multimedia infographic, which allows viewers to watch last week’s top videos while seeing what kind of organic reach the brands created.

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07 AM | 29 May

Coca-Cola Unveils First TV Ad Made Completely With User-Generated Content


Here’s a first for Coca-Cola—a TV commercial comprised entirely of short video clips made by fans (aside from some very brief animations). The spot, produced by Wieden + Kennedy and set to premiere during Wednesday’s season finale of American Idol, came out of a contest announced a few months ago. The brand invited teens to submit short video clips sharing what it feels like when they take a sip of Coke. The best clips, they were told, would be featured in a national Coca-Cola TV ad.

Coke got some 400 submissions, and chose 40 for the final cut. The clips in the ad come from all over the world—from Brazil to Salt Lake City to Jacksonville, Fla.

The spot, titled “This Is AHH,” will air this week on teen-focused networks including The CW, MTV and Adult Swim. It’s part of a teen campaign called “The AHH Effect,” now in its second year.


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07 AM | 29 May

Dubai police use Google Glass to crack down on traffic violators


Applications allow officers to record violators and identify wanted vehicles

Police in Dubai have begun using Google Glass as part of an effort to crack down on traffic violations. An official with the emirate’s police force confirmed to Gulf News this week that traffic officers are testing the wearable devices, adding that the department has already developed two custom applications: one to capture and upload photos of traffic violators, and another to identify wanted cars based on licensed plate numbers.

It’s not yet clear when police will start using the technology on a wider basis, but Colonel Khalid Nasser Al Razooqi, general director of smart services at Dubai Police, tells Gulf News that if the trials go well, the department would adopt the technology more broadly once Google Glass becomes available.

“If it passes our testing criteria as well as we see that it is a useful device, then we might decide to launch it and buy more of it,” Al Razooqi said. Using the apps developed by his unit, police can capture and upload photos to the department’s database by tapping the side of the headset, and can capture license numbers simply by looking at a car’s plates. These numbers will be automatically cross-referenced against a central database to flag any wanted cars.


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07 AM | 29 May

Tired of That Cramped Airplane Seat? How About This Incredible Three-Room Cabin Instead?


At one time or another, I think we’ve all wished that air travel was less like being crammed into a cattle car and more like being crammed into a one-bedroom apartment.

Well, Etihad Airways has made the latter a reality with The Residence, a three-room premium cabin (with shower!) on its Airbus A380 that costs something like $43,000 per trip to reserve. A personal butler and chef are factored into that price, by the way, which is why it’s roughly the down payment on a nice house. But that’s the price one must pay for that high-roller Elvis lifestyle. Minus the shag carpeting and drugs, I mean. If you can stand listening to Dannii Minogue for three whole minutes, she gives a video tour of the suite and details its various amenities below.


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03 PM | 15 May

This Barbecue Bible Can Sharpen Your Knife, Light Your Fire and Serve Your Steak


Barbecue chefs and amateur pitmasters alike know that nothing truly useful ever comes out of a cookbook. But here’s one hell of an exception.

To promote the Tramontina cookware line, JWT Brazil created a few meticulously crafted copies of a book called Biblia Definitiva Do Churrasco, or The Bible of Barbecue. Each page of the book is made to be used or destroyed in the process of creating an authentic Brazilian grilling experience.

One thick sheet shatters into chunks of charcoal, while another lights the fire and yet another fans the flame. Other pages work as an apron, sharpen knives, wrap meat, act as cutting boards and even serve the finished dish.

Only a few “master barbecue chefs” received the books, though the agency is creating a simplfied version to be sold in stores.

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03 PM | 15 May

GE Travels the World to Show the Very Human Side of Its Cutting-Edge Tech


GE generally does a good job of telling stories around technology that’s diverse and specialized. A new collection of two-minute spots from BBDO New York is no exception. There are three videos in the series so far, all beautifully shot and edited. One introduces a jet-skiing Japanese doctor who uses the brand’s portable medical equipment to tend to patients on the country’s islands.

A second interviews the inhabitants of another island halfway around the world, in Scotland, that gets power from underwater turbines made by GE. The third features a young boy in China taking his first flight to meet his soccer heroes, thanks to GE’s jet technology.

The ads are a little heavy-handed in their sentimentality at moments and could probably accomplish the same thing in a smaller window, but the slower pacing isn’t altogether unpleasant. They also aren’t quite as inventive as the brand’s recent, trippy spot that envisioned some of the same products through the eyes of a child.

But they do have the narrative appeal and human element that was missing from the clips of GE’s research lab equipment smashing random objects, or the the shipping container dance that the brand choreographed. The global scope also brings to mind IBM’s recent 60-commercial opus for the Masters, but with a somewhat less granular, more humble approach not aimed at proving that the brand is in fact everywhere at once—though it’s still easy to imagine that it is.

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12 AM | 15 May

ABC’s first ‘Selfie’ trailer is a hot mess


Selfie is a new show coming to ABC this fall. It’s also a word for taking pictures of yourself, which is apparently not something upstanding people should do. Mostly it’s a youth-friendly name for an ABC show that is pretty much just My Fair Lady meets the 21st century, about a social media-addicted woman who is slowly taught how to be something more than her Instagram profile.

She’s beautiful on the outside, and butt on the inside. She has no idea how to say the words “how are you.” There may or may not be a man involved.

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12 AM | 15 May

Brazil’s Charming Campaign to Get Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the World Cup


The fact that Zlatan Ibrahimovic — one of the world’s greatest soccer players, but whose Sweden team did not qualify — won’t be playing in the World Cup this summer is nothing less than a global tragedy.

Even Ibra, never one for false humility, agrees. “One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch,” he said after Sweden lost to Portugal last November to miss out on a trip to Brazil. (Watch the highlight video, above, and you’ll see he has a point.)

There’s no way Ibra can play in the World Cup — this thing has rules, after all — but many high profile Brazilians want him to come to South America, anyway. Some of Brazil’s biggest soccer stars, celebrities and ordinary citizens alike star in the video, which has gained more than 700,000 views in two days on YouTube. Titled #VemIbra (translation: “Come here, Ibra”), it’s quite charming.


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04 PM | 08 May

Coke’s Recyling-Themed Arcade Game Accepts Empty Bottles Instead of Money


Would more people recycle if the process were actually fun? Coca-Cola and agency Grey Dhaka tried to answer that question by placing six “Happiness Arcade” machines around Dhaka, Bangladesh.

But these aren’t just your run-of-the-mill video games. Unlike 2010’s “Happiness Machines” these do not vend the soft drink itself; instead they work the opposite way, accepting empty soda bottles and rewarding the user with a turn playing a Pong-like game.

As you can see in the video below, the stunt drew quite a crowd, despite the relatively simplistic game. (I mean, when was the last time Pong made you grab a grown man and lift him off the ground in celebration?)

All told, the project collected thousands of bottles at six locations, which might not have a huge impact itself on a place as populous as Bangladesh, but the brand believes the effort helped by “making a case for recycling one game at a time.”

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