The teddy bear’s first tweet, from an account called @WhatTedSaid set up by the Universal Pictures marketing department, was “Hello, Twitter. Kindly go f— yourself.”
The author of the greeting was Alec Sulkin, co-screenwriter of the R-rated comedy “Ted,” who together with his collaborator Wellesley Wild was paid extra by the studio to build buzz on social media ahead of the film’s June 29 release. Who better to embody the random musings of a foul-mouthed stuffed animal than the writers of the script? The suits left them alone.
“The parameters were, ‘Just go to town,’ ” says Doug Neil, Universal’s senior vice president of digital marketing. The tweeting started March 30, two days before the “red band” (uncensored) trailer appeared online, depicting the namesake bear smoking weed, cuddling with co-star Mark Wahlberg and pantomiming suggestive acts for a supermarket checkout girl.
It worked spectacularly. Tracking polls, which movie executives rely on to guide box office expectations, suggested an opening-weekend gross of $35 million to $40 million for the film, which was co-written and directed by Seth McFarlane, creator of “Family Guy,” who also provided the voice for Ted. Instead, “Ted” generated $54 million, catching the industry by surprise.
Ikea prints 211 million copies of its product catalog every year. That’s more than 20 times the population of Sweden, the home of the build-it-yourself furniture empire. These are impressive numbers for a print catalog in a digital world, but Ikea is now changing with the times with a head-first dive into augmented reality.
“A lot digital stuff becomes very interesting when you mash it up with the tangible items of the real world,” said Andreas Dahlqvist, Global Deputy Chief Creative Officer of McCann, the creative agency behind the catalog.
Augmented reality features will roll out in the 2013 edition of the print catalog, which will arrive in customers’ mailboxes later this month. Amid pictures of Expedit bookshelves and Boksel tables, Ikea fans will see special printed symbols, each an invite to launch new iPhone and Android smartphone apps for an augmented reality experience.
When you wave your smartphone over pages with digital content, a variety of features appear.
Rakuten (the Amazon of Japan) has led a $100m funding round into Pinterest, which values the online “curation” community at around $1.5 billion.
The Japanese ecommerce giant won out over major US venture capital firms who were vying for a piece of Silicon Valley’s new sweetheart, which lets users clip images to a virtual pinboard.
The FT spoke to Hiroshi Mikitani, chief executive of Rakuten, about how social discovery can boost ecommerce and the growing importance of images over text on the web.
“I met Pinterest’s management a few months ago and we got along very, very well….They said they were planning to raise capital. I offered to take all of it.”
“They had a prior arrangement with their angel investors so I told them I would like to get as much as possible. We talked about how we can help each other and we can help their presence in Japan which is one of the major markets in the internet industry. And they liked the fact they we would be able to help their business in Japan.”