Everyone knows Monopoly: the game with the potential to destroy relationships and ruin perfectly pleasant rainy afternoons. There is, however, something timeless about the real-estate peddling simulator. The colourful banknotes (that are inevitably embezzled by a corrupt banker), navigating the board as a Scottie dog, and the smug feeling of having won second prize in a beauty contest all make for a memorable experience. Enter a not-so-timeless Hasbro board game, 2013’s Monopoly Empire. This set sees families facing off not in the arena of real-estate, but that of brands.
In recent years more and more people have been succumbing to smart-device procrastination. eMarketer found that on average US mobile users now spend as many as 4 hours on their phones every day, with other studies substantiating their findings. Alarming? Maybe a little. A host of productivity applications have set their sights on this emergent mobile culture. Developers such as ShaoKan Pi have enjoyed success not only seeking to curtail usage, but to harness it to encourage self-improvement. These kinds of productivity app are nothing new: to-do lists, notepads, and synced calendars have been in circulation since the App and Play stores’ inception, as have social media platforms and games for people to while away the hours, but this latest generation ups the stakes in terms of both design and functionality.
Switch. A simple message that has done Nintendo a lot of favours in the past year. So why does it fall short of the mark as the cornerstone of Apple’s new ad campaign for the iPhone? We are faced with an image split in two. On one side there is “your phone”, the other "iPhone". People are bouncing from the former over to the latter with ease - why haven't you switched?
I recently ended my time working as a social media marketing manager for a Nottingham based estate agent. To facilitate the handover I had a number of meetings with my successor and they got me thinking - what's the best way to get started with digital marketing? My colleague was a beginner in the field, which meant I needed explain the essential components of a successful campaign without overloading her with jargon. This started with the perhaps obvious question of “why bother?”
Whether a consumer is presented with a masked figure with a penchant for existential dread or an incisive piece of analysis on the current real estate market, you can be sure that thought and conviction were requisite components in the creation of their experience. “Show don't tell” has become something of a mantra for game designers and marketing specialists alike, and with good reason: : if the creative behind any form of content can effectively communicate a message in a way that demands real engagement they have achieved what many fail to do - interest their target audience.
Web design is something that almost everyone interacts with on a daily basis, but it seems that surprisingly few people get to grips with what goes into a fully functional website. It's something that I've grown increasingly interested in, both on the SEO / PPC side of things (what makes your website crop up when someone enters a search term in a browser) and the building blocks that make up a site. There's something strangely satisfying about right clicking a web-page, hitting 'inspect', and having a good ol' rummage around.
In an essay critiquing the cynicism, self-reference, and black humour that had gained prominence in America David Foster Wallace famously wrote that irony was “ruining our culture”. In his eyes there was a time and a place for postmodernist irony, and it was the fifties and sixties. He appreciated that this ironic voice has always been great at highlighting the farcical and hypocritical nature of things. Where he thought irony and cynicism fell short was in their inability to provide a solution to the problems that they so effectively drew attention to.