Crazy Illusion

Via Ted

Really crazy demonstration of how our brain makes us see something for what it ISN’T.  If we can’t see something as simple as color, it makes me scared for much more complex issues that we deal with every day. 😉

I’ve posted a photo below the article of what it looks like when you black out the magenta stripes.  You’ll see the the green and blue spirals do indeed become the same color.

25 June 2009

Amazing illusion

Via Discover magazine via Akiyoshi Kitaoka:


Incredibly, the blue and the green spirals are the same color. From the article:

The orange stripes go through the “green” spiral but not the “blue” one. So without us even knowing it, our brains compare that spiral to the orange stripes, forcing it to think the spiral is green. The magenta stripes make the other part of the spiral look blue, even though they are exactly the same color.

Two TEDTalks on our mis-wired brains: Dan Dennett and Al Seckel.


And with the stripes blacked out:

collegehumor just did this hilarious video parody on web 2.0 culture called Web Site Story.  i love me a good musical and they did a good job of hitting up Facebook, Twitter, eHarmony, and evite.  a good one. =)

i went surfing in rockaway on saturday. was really nice out with the exception of a few sprinkles of rain, nothing too bad.  this great shot was taken by my beautiful friend kristin reagan, an aspiring photographer.  i had just gotten my boards out of the bag and putting the fins on.  btw, i carried my 7’8” and 6’ boards in my 8’ board bag on the subway all the way to rockaway!  was quite an experience and i think my arm is more sore from carrying the bag than from surfing haha.

was a great time, met my friend savannah out there too, who grew up surfing in myrtle beach, sc.  she and i met last year when we both rented boards out at boarders surf shop in rockaway and i asked if she wanted to surf together since she wasn’t wearing a waterproof watch.  now we are going to try to surf a lot more!

sunday i was at the jersey shore with my roommate and we got to wakeboard in the river.  was definitely tough after my arms were so sore, but i got some good carving in on the wake!

great summer weekend.

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

crazy pics leaked from Disney for Burton’s take on Alice in Wonderland!!!  this looks awesome, I can’t wait until it comes out.  i’m a huge fan of Burton and Alice in Wonderland was one of my favorite movies as a kid.  i loved it for its weirdness and imaginativeness…kinda like all the crazy dreams i used to have.  oh wait, i still have them every night…lol  i thought the casting below was very good.  movie comes out march 2010.  too far away!

First Look: Tim Burton Takes Alice to Weird, Wild Wonderland

  • 7:37 pm


Stunning new concept art offers a first look at Alice in Wonderland as seen through the eyes of director Tim Burton. The images, released by Disney as Burton works on the remake in London, show Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter (pictured above) and provide a fascinating peek at the fabulist director’s vision for Alice, The Red Queen and the movie’s other central characters.

The pictures hint at an elegant, richly textured fantasy world that honors Lewis Carroll’s 19th-century fairy tale while incorporating bits of Burton’s trademark weirdness (check the grimacing flowers in the picture below).

The images are drawn from the world of Alice in Wonderland, as re-imagined by one of the world’s most visually arresting directors. The movie is scheduled for release March 5, 2010.


Alice, played by Mia Wasikowska, contemplates some giant mushrooms.


Helena Bonham Carter plays The Red Queen.


Alice joins Tweedledee and Tweedledum at a very Burton-esque gate.


Tweedledee and Tweedledum (Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire baddie Matt Lucas in the dual role) look ready to cause trouble.


The White Queen, as portrayed by Anne Hathaway.


The White Rabbit (voiced by Michael Sheen) chats with Alice.


Teacups are a recurring visual theme.

Images courtesy Walt Disney Pictures.


i was reading the week on the subway today and came across an article about a canadian hockey team who refused to shave until they were eliminated from the playoffs.  they claimed it was the ultimate symbol of masculinity.  the article then goes on to point out that more men are displaying their masculinity after the traditionally alpha-male industries of finance and automotive have all but toppled and crashed.

that got me thinking.  the alpha-male dominated finance and automotive industries have crashed. hmmm. what does that say about male-dominated industries?  i think in everything there needs to be a balance.  not too many men and not too many women.  any time you have imbalances, it seems to tip the scale and go awry.

Get Closer to the Sale with Mobile

i was published in AdAge today!  the article i co-authored with Alli of Mobile Behavior talks about using mobile marketing in-store to link promotional efforts directly to sales and some recommendations on how to use it.


How Mobile Makes Bricks-and-Mortar Retail Accountable

Phones Provide Instant Response Opportunity

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Christina LinChristina Lin Allison MooneyAllison Mooney

Marketers have a love/hate relationship with ROI. It’s absolutely necessary, but annoyingly elusive. A brand’s return on investment can be quantified with impressions, engagement or time spent, but rarely direct sales. It’s not often that a campaign can be linked causally to a sale, especially purchases at bricks-and-mortar stores. Mobile can change that. What online advertising did for e-commerce, mobile marketing can do for traditional commerce: make it measurable.

This is vastly important right now. In this economic environment, consumers are spending less, switching brands and going online to hunt for deals. Still, almost everyone makes unplanned purchases, and half of those purchase decisions happen in the aisle. Mobile presents a tremendous opportunity for brands to claim the last few feet and turn browsers into buyers.

Advantages of mobile
Today’s shoppers are hyper-connected and never leave home without their phones. More importantly, they are using their mobile phones to inform purchase decisions. According to one survey, nearly a third of U.K. shoppers with mobile phones used them while shopping. Sixty-five percent of that group got an opinion about a product and, more often than not, that opinion encouraged them to buy the item.

From an efficiency standpoint, mobile-marketing initiatives need little incremental infrastructure, which makes them inexpensive and easy to scale. They can be made incredibly relevant and drive direct, two-way interaction with the brand. Mobile campaigns that let consumers opt in are also great for CRM and database building. Furthermore, by going direct to the consumer, mobile campaigns allow brands to have more control over their messaging than traditional in-store displays.

Applications for marketers
We have yet to see a brand that is taking full advantage of mobile marketing in-store. Some are taking steps, though, and can be used to illustrate what’s possible in the space. Here are our top five applications of mobile in-store:

  1. Product information: Customers are using their mobile phones to “phone a friend” and get trusted opinions before shelling out for something. This is the next generation of word of mouth and it is happening in-store, in real time.

    Google Product Search recently launched an application for iPhone and Android phones that allows shoppers to compare product ratings and read reviews through their mobile phones. Sephora, through Bazaarvoice, created a mobile site that allows shoppers to browse product reviews. Consumers are two and a half times more strongly influenced by fellow customer reviews than by a salesperson’s advice.

  2. Driving traffic: The ability to target by location is one of the most buzzed-about aspects of mobile and one that brands ought to take better advantage of. Where is your nearest store? Where can I buy one of your products right now? By including a mobile prompt on all outdoor creative, marketers can not only increase awareness of their product/service, but they can drive consumers into a store immediately.

    Drilling down even further, location can even be used to target consumers by what aisle they are browsing in a store. Using Wi-Fi hotspots, Acuity Mobile’s Aislecaster is accurate up to three to five feet and targets promotions accordingly. For example, a customer in the personal-care aisle might get an incentive to buy face wash.

  3. Loyalty programs and mobile coupons: Mobile loyalty programs offer unparalleled targeting and personalization options. Zavers has a system that links online and mobile incentive placement with in-store redemption. The Zavers button can be embedded in any digital media — internet, mobile, e-mail and interactive TV — and customers can transfer all these deals directly to a loyalty card on their phone. This means that coupons are now infinitely trackable; marketers can measure the effectiveness of incentives from online ad impression to retail purchase.

    There are also simple SMS-based ways to deliver mobile incentives. Urban Outfitters uses a sign at the register to inform shoppers of their text-to-enter mobile loyalty program. Armani aims to drive more traffic in-store through window signage that gives passersby $10 off if they text in.

  4. Campaign extension: To increase brand affinity, stores can offer branded or partner content to consumers. Mobile plus digital out of home (DOOH) is great way to do this. Brands can reach a captive audience as shoppers download content while they are waiting in line. Then they can continue to engage with the brand even after they leave the store.

    Danoo, a DOOH network that places screens near points of sale in coffee shops, is doing just this — almost all of its in-store campaigns in the fourth quarter of 2008 had a mobile call-to-action. They’ve seen success for mobile-content downloads through Bluetooth, citing a 30% download rate (out of all people with compatible devices) for a “Dancing With the Stars” campaign.

  5. Brand utility: Visa launched a campaign in summer of 2008 to promote the concierge services associated with its new upscale Signature Card. Noting that shoppers are often overwhelmed by wine choices, Visa set up a service where you could text in a food and receive a wine pairing. While this example wasn’t necessarily driving sign-up of Visa cards in store, imagine if a winery provided this utility to differentiate itself on the shelf. This idea could apply to many other categories. For example, shoppers could text their complexion to a cosmetics manufacturer and receive recommendations on color choices and makeup application techniques.

Technology will revolutionize retail
Mobile technology is advancing exponentially and can truly help redefine the shopping experience. Here is a sampling of innovations coming soon to a store near you:

  • QR codes, or quick-response codes, are becoming standardized in the U.S. and allow direct links to mobile websites via physical codes. Ralph Lauren’s youth-oriented Rugby brand has implemented these codes in select stores, letting consumers find more information about a product or order it through their phones.
  • By combining the physical and virtual worlds, augmented reality (AR) can give you more information on your surroundings or provide virtual testing. What if you could point your phone at a container and see which of your friends liked it? Applications such as MIT’s Sixth Sense, Sekai Camera and GE’s Smart Grid are showing the world the potential of the technology — and it won’t be long before you see more brands playing with it.

With these and other emerging technologies, shopping can become a fully connected, social experience. But it’s up to marketers, not developers, to define this future. To begin with, we’d like to see more brands take advantage of simple SMS and mobile web technology to enhance and extend their in-store marketing efforts. Those that do will undoubtedly see impressive ROI — return on innovation.

~ ~ ~
Allison Mooney is VP-director of trends and insights at MobileBehavior, Omnicom’s mobile strategy and marketing agency. She runs its global trends lab, Next Great Thing.

Christina Lin is a digital-marketing strategist at Tribal DDB, the digital arm of DDB Worldwide. She is a part of the Omnicom M.B.A. Resident program.

tour de taco

the long awaited tour de taco!  as self-proclaimed taco aficionado hailing from southern california, i really wanted to find good tacos in nyc.  they said it couldn’t be done.  so i scoured yelp and the chowhound boards for the best places in manhattan and tried almost all of them.  the plan for the afternoon was to go to 4 taco places in lower manhattan and try everything.

the results! i went with 2 other friends which was great because we could each get a different taco and then share so we could try the maximum number of fillings. =)  these are all my own photos. ratings are out of 5.

zaragoza grocery on 13th and A

to order tacos here, you just ask the guy at the cash register.  the first time i ventured in here looking for tacos i didn’t see a “kitchen” or a menu so i just left.  but you have to look on the small white piece of paper that’s taped onto the coffee maker that says “tacos.”

we got the beef, chicken, and pork.  we started to rate each of the tacos plus ambience.

beef: 4, awesome flavoring with a hint of nutmeg

chicken: 4„ stewed chicken, really soft and juicy

pork: 4, has a bit of a tangy seasoning, this was my friends’ favorite

ambience: 5, it doesn’t get better than this straight-out-of-mexico vibe

downtown bakery, 4th st and 1st ave

this was a larger storefront with an extensive menu.  the portions were much much bigger and you had to order two tacos to a plate.  not good for pacing ourselves!  i think they are better known for their burritos but we stuck to tacos anyway.

chorizo con papa (with potatoes): 3, a little too heavy and not enough flavor

tacos de pernil (stewed shredded pork): 4, tasted extremely fresh and heavy on the cilantro which i love

ambience: 4, cozy and simple

overall, it was good but given the choice i would always choose zaragoza over downtown bakery.

florencia 13, sullivan and bleecker

we were immediately skeptical of any taco place in the village but supposedly they had good fish tacos so we gave it a shot.  the inside was very dark, painted black with red accents.  there wasn’t a single soul inside, but then again it was 3pm on a sunday.

fish: 3, it was breaded and slightly drier than other better fish tacos i’ve had. plus, one taco was $6.  what a rip off.

pork: 1/2, really awful, dry and no flavor, not even worth posting the pic

ambience: 2, really dark and scene-y, definitely not a good taco place

margaritas: 4, the only saving grace of the place! they have a homie-rita, where you get one of the “homie” figurines in your drink!  i have my homie, oscar, which i’ve had for 6 years now.  too funny.

la esquina, kenmare and lafayette

la esquina (the corner counter) is really cute.  it looks like an old fashioned diner and people can sit outside, it’d be really nice for a summer day/night.  we took this one to go since we were running short on time and it started raining.

lengua (tongue): 4, best tongue i’ve had in the city, so soft and tender and this one comes with picked radish and onion which add a tasty bite to the taco

chicken: 4.5, rated highest of the day! it was stewed chicken, really soft and juicy in a nice smoky salsa with a huge piece of avocado.

fish: 4.5, this is a later addition from when i went back, i’ve now gone back twice since the tour de taco. fish taco was really good, soft and flavorful.

steak: 4, also a later addition. really nice smoky flavor and big chunks.

ambience: 5, great great outdoor seating. i went back later and had a watermelon margarita which was absolutely divine!

and that concluded our tour de taco!  i also have to add in my ratings from some other taco places that i’ve tried as well so they’re all in one spot for you.

tehuitzingo on 48th st and 10th ave

you order at the back of a small grocery.

vegetarian taco (potatoes): 5, amazing, so juicy and flavorful, this will be my must get whenever i come here

chicharrones (pork skin): 1/2, not at all like the crispy home made pork skin tacos i’ve had. this one was soft and fatty and i took only one bite.

al pastor (pork): 4, really flavorful

ambience: 5, love the authenticity and you can get beers to drink with your tacos in the grocery

rockaway taco on 96th and Beach in rockaway beach, queens

i went after a surf session after hearing about this taco shack.  it’s really cute and lots of surfers go post-surf.  there’s a small outdoor eating area where you can sit on little stools.

chorizo: 2, a little too strong for me

fish: 5, wow! outta this world, i’m still thinking about it. melt in your mouth fish perfectly cooked. breaded.

tofu: 4, surprisingly really good. grilled tofu had a hint of smokiness and was really soft.

ambience: 5, you can’t beat the surf shack atmosphere