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This week’s issue of Non-Obvious Insights curates some widespread topics – from the rise of retro design to how Disney imagined a future for gaming that involved less storytelling and more open ended game play. The lessons in the stories this week are subtle (like why AT&T changed the color blue in its new logo) to profound (why Americans must greet one another in an elevator). Enjoy the latest curated list of the most non-obvious and underappreciated marketing stories of the week!

BMW Imagines A Car That Predicts Your Needs

For its 100 year jubilee anniversary, BMW released several concept images imagining the future of the car. The designs present an intriguing vision of just how “smart” we might expect our cars to become. While self driving cars capture attention, the true potential of cars may be in their eventual ability to use artificial intelligence to predictively help us relax, learn, collaborate and perhaps even reverse road rage to help us become better people in the process.
Read the full story on Dezeen Magazine >>

Retro Design Gets Hot

Going retro is more than buying music on vinyl or wearing ironic Americana-inspired t-shirts. Famed designer Yves Behar is partnering with Kodak to develop a retro inspired design for its new Super 8 camera. The focus is to design technology to enhance our experience of the world, rather than disconnect us from it. The necessity for this “Strategic Downgrading” (as I called it in this year’s trend report), will continue to lead consumers to embrace nostalgia and gravitate towards simpler (and less connected) designs and products.
Read the full story on PSFK >>

How AT&T’s New Logo Describes The World

Normally a brand’s latest introspective attempt to revise a decades old logo is hardly significant. The newest version of the AT&T logo, however, has some interesting lessons for marketers. From the simplified curve that makes the logo more legible at small sizes to the new blue which appears more striking in the dark – the logo is clearly being updated to coexist more readily in a world dominated by small screens … and a valuable case study for other brands pondering similar issues with their own dated visual identities.
Read the full story on Design Taxi >>

Google Wants To Curate Your Next Travel Destination

Google’s announcement this week of its new Destinations initiative is the perfect example of combining automated search results with the value of curating an experience. When considered alongside IcelandAir’s recent announcement of the “Stopover Buddy” program where IcelandAir employees show you around their country, it is clear that travel experiences (and the people who seek them) are becoming more personalized, curated and easier to find as well.
Read the full story on Google’s Blog >>

Navigate Your Way Past Media Bias With This App … 

For anyone who has ever lamented the one sided bias inherent to most news media – a new app called PerspecsNews may present a unique solution by giving you three sides to every story. One of the winners of Google’s Digital News Initiative (DNI) prize to fund innovative startups in journalism, the app may be exactly what the frustrated intellectual needs in a world determined to repackage bias as a considered point of view.
Read the full story on Mirror UK >> 

Disney’s $1 Billion Insight … Open Ended Play Wins

On the surface, Disney’s Infinity gaming platform has always seemed like a great way to upsell toys to kids. As it turns out, the smarter element of the game series might be exactly HOW it encourages game play. Rather than sequencing through stories, the entire ecosystem of characters encourages open ended game play and players to create their own worlds. As a result, the game is an outlet for creativity as much as a chasm for attention – and it turns out that’s something people are willing to pay for.
Read the full story on Business Insider >>
Related story on Business Insider >>

Book Release of the Week – Small Data by Martin Lindstrom

If you are a fan of books that provide so many insights you’ll be fueled with enough cocktail party stories to keep an audience rapt for hours then you’ll love this book. Like most of Lindstrom’s other titles, the insights in Small Data are based on his uniquely crazy self imposed schedule of spending over 300 nights a year away from home. All that time is spent interviewing consumers, asking questions and generally paying attention to things that others don’t. Why must Americans greet one another in an elevator? What causes Russian families use fridge magnets as small daily escapes?  Why does “fresh” have nothing to do with a product’s expiration date? These questions are just a sampling of the many intellectual nuggets of insight littered throughout this book. Despite the recurringly self important tone of the writing (inspired perhaps by working with one too many fawning clients), Lindstrom’s method of seeing the tiniest of details and nurturing them into big insights will give you a new appreciation for “small data” and just how huge its impact can be.
Learn more about “Small Data” >>

Video Of The Week – An Acoustic Mashup With Megan Davies

There is no shortage of cover versions of the most popular songs out there, but in this unique video,singer Megan Davies teams up with two other singers to deliver an acoustic mashup of three different songs performed in a new arrangement. It’s a perfect example of how talented amateurs are taking the art and music they see in the world, remixing it in new ways and then distributing it directly to their audience. For all of the angst in the music industry about the future of how the industry makes money, this video is a beautiful reminder that talented artists will continue to do exactly what they always have … delight audiences with performances that inspire and entertain.

How are these articles chosen?

Every week I review hundreds of articles to curate the best stories of the week – and share some quick insights about why they matter for business and marketing. I call these “Non-Obvious Insights” and this is the fifth week I am sharing them. If you would like to see these insights a FULL 24 HOURS before anyone else, please join my email subscriber list here to get the insights every Thursday directly in your email inbox!