I’m Hungry For More: Doritos Locos Tacos, QR Codes and Fan Concert Experiences

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We’ve been exploring how brands are using the live music experience to connect with fans.

And when I saw the footage of Snoop Dogg performing in the super-sized Doritos vending machine at SXSW I have to say that I wasn’t that impressed because it seems like it was just another lame attempt to only market to fans with a slick  gimmick and not really add any value or innovation to the live music experience.

But since then I have to say things have changed as I’ve experienced more of the interactive content that Taco Bell and Doritos are unveiling with their recent combined Locos Tacos campaign.

QR Code That Rocks

As you can see by the photo above, the part about the Locos Tacos campaign that I have enjoyed the most is their excellent use of QR code.  I’m  geek when it comes to QR codes and this use is by far one of the most creative and well executed that I’ve seen so far.

Taco Bell and Doritos have clearly taken the time to understand their audience right down to connecting the sense of taste sound and sight in a pretty solid interactive experience.

For example, when you scan the QR code you’re taken to a url (http://SCN.BY/9T9AB0HTW8I7L7) which then takes you to a Hype Machine sponsored site on your smart phone with intro copy that says:

“You’ve got the new Doritos Locos Tacos in one hand and you just unlocked awesome music with the other. Life pretty much rocks. Discover exclusive Performances from Feed the Beat artists…”

Yes, I love how they made the double-fisted connection of having a Doritos Taco in one hand and in the other hand you’ve got the crafty copy and the live concert videos of Dale Earnhart Jr, Little Hurricane, Miniture Tigers and other bands.

What Could Be Better

However, I do think this mobile experience could be improved. It could be more interactive and create a better sense of community among concert fans and ultimately put fans right at the center of an emotionally engaging, highly sharable, and extremely viral social media experience.

For example, Taco Bell and Doritos could enable fans to tweet the similarities between their concert experiences and their Locos taste experience, and use those fan interactions to create a hashtag, Facebook page or even a unique forum community with other Locos Tacos/live music fans who are going through the same shared experience.

What Have They Done This Year?

And I see this as a possible future phase of what Taco Bell and Doritos has been doing with Augmented Reality and their $5 Big Box this year.

So far in 2012, I’ve seen how they’ve experimented with other creative applications of Augmented Reality and their $5 Big Box.

First they turned the Big Box into an interactive Street Fighter video game, which I was addicted to playing while I stuffed my face with tacos.

And then right around the time of SXSW came the next phase which involved buying a Locos Tacos Big Box that you could scan the box with your smartphone and see an AR floating cloud of interactive tweets from other customers who’ve enjoy the tacos too. And then while you’re munching and crunching you can join the cloud and tweet your own taste raves too.

What They Should Do Next

Again, this all very fun and creative. But what they should do is capture the live concert experiences of fans who are at these sponsored Taco Bell/Doritos shows and turn those tweets into a interactive game of shared concert stories.

That way fans are not only sharing the awesome taste of the Locos Tacos but they’re also sharing what their feeling during the show. Combined together these two highly emotional experiences would be extremely powerful.

And, like we’ve said before, this type of combined emotional interactive experience is a win for fans and a win for the brands.  Who knows, maybe this or some form of this idea is already in the works.

How ’bout You?

Have you used tasted and experienced the combined pleasure of the Locos Tacos and live music? What do you think of their use of AR and creative branding? What are your favorite examples of great uses of QR codes for live music fans?

Share your concert stories and thoughts in the comments below, on Twitter @livefixmedia, on Facebook , Google Plus, or call the concert fan hotline at 773-609-4341, and we’ll include them in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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Play State Farm’s Mix & Match Game To Win Bonnaroo VIP Tickets

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State Farm Facebook contest bonnaroo coachella

 

Continuing our exploration of concert fan contests for your live music enjoyment, here’s a quick note for those of you looking to win a VIP trip to Bonnaroo and possibly Lollaplooza or Bumpershoot.

This is a fun little contest, sponsored by State Farm Nation, that I found while scoping out the live Coachella stream on Youtube.

Play on State Farm’s Facebook page, It’s a game of classic mix & match for concert fans that’s fun to play, and if you successfully match them you get entered into the sweepstakes.

 

 

It’s pretty basic and they could’ve made it a bit more interesting and included more classic fan moments, concert emotions, or more unique characters like Dancing Guys to match up instead of the basic ones like a ferris wheel,  sun tan lotion and a weird lady with a straw hat.

That said, this is the first insurance company I’ve seen sponsor live music contest and it’s got me thinking about where State Farm would rank among our recent brand explorations.

I’ve played and entered. And we’d love to know if you win, or if you’re heading out to any summer music festivals this year and we’ll share your story on future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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Why Level 3 Is Guilty of Listening and Smart Storytelling

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Continuing our exploration into community management I’d like to share another story with you.

My view from the jury box in the Hatton W. Sumners Courtroom during the Socialmedia.org Dallas Blogwell conference made it seem like Level 3’s case study was on trial.

And the good thing about this big brand social media trial was that Level 3 was guilty on all counts of taking the “blah out of corporate blogging.”

After seeing my fare share of lackluster corporate blogs get launched with little to no strategic thinking beforehand and then fizzle out and flop, it was refreshing to hear how Level 3 made their Beyond Bandwidth corporate blogging story a success by defining clear objectives, listening in the right way to their community and empowering remarkable storytellers.

 Asking The Right Questions = Smart Corporate Blogging

The first thing that stood out to me about Ben’s story was how his team asked themselves the important questions right from the start.

Being strategic and smart was a part of the plan from the get go. They wanted to improve their search results and be more human and connected better with customers. Those goals made since to their business so they moved on to execute on them.

After defining their objectives it was equally encouraging to hear that they didn’t force the wrong executives or employees to blog if it wasn’t their passion or the right communication channel. They decided to wisely seek out people who naturally love to tell stories and transform those inspired folks into successful bloggers.

“When choosing who will blog for your company, search for storytellers, not job titles. Look for people who write long, articulate emails and tell great stories at happy hours, or people talk to customers the most and do what the customers do more than anyone else at your company.”

I loved that part of Ben’s talk because that message is so important, but rarely executed on corporate blogs.

You can’t force someone to be a storyteller or a prolific blogger.  It’s far more effective to empower the right storytellers within your company to who WANT to passionately and creatively share their stories and experiences.

And when you do give those folks the freedom to express themselves and share their stories, you’ll unleash the power to humanize your brand both externally to your customers and internally to other employees.

During Ben’s talk I thought how at Walgreens in our internal community we have one executive who is a natural storyteller and his blog continues to be a success because he’s a natural storyteller and his style resonates with our employees.

Like many of the bloggers at Level 3, our executive often writes posts about non-business, real-life and even deeply personal and spiritual topics. That said, I’m not at all surprised that our employees love to read and respond with gusto in the comments.

And to keep the engagement flowing our executive actively responds to the readers in the comments too. Yes, we might have to guide him a little bit but for the most he sees respond as a naturally extension of the conversation he started with the blog post.

Commit to Building and Nurturing Your Blogger Community

The next thing encouraging part about Ben’s story was how they committed to coaching, guiding and nurturing their employee bloggers at the beginning and as the Level 3 blog developed. Here’s how they did it:

“Train and empower these storytellers to blog. Send them articles about best practices and good and bad example blogs from other companies.

Do group posts. Send out a question to your blogger pool and you’ll get different responses. Combine these into one blog and this will showcase your company’s diverse thinking and talent.

Do “look in the mirror posts”—how are we going to be really transparent, what have we done wrong, and how can we share these learnings with customers in our blog?

Talk about the taboo: death, taxes… and fiber cuts. A single blog tweet got picked up by Telecom News and got them lots of hits. “The 10 Most Bizarre and Annoying Causes of Fiber Cuts”— number 1 reason was squirrels. People loved this, and it showed that not all outages are their fault.

The other reason I want to share the Beyond Bandwidth session with you is because I want corporate blogging and community stories like these to be the norm, not the exception.  And the way to do that is to share the similarities and learn from each other’s experiences. So here’s a little peak in to how we’ve begun to develop our internal community at Walgreens.

Listening to Ben, I thought back to the early stages of how we developed our employee communities at Walgreens.

One of the first things I did when I first started at Walgreens was to listen closely and see who were the natural storytellers in the organization. I wanted to see who were the natural commenters and who were the folks that maybe we’re passionate about social media but at least understood how social tools could drive Walgreens to become a more connected and collaborative culture.

So over the past year, I’ve listened closely to the employees who we invited into our current social intranet pilot.  Before the pilot began I met with each person so we could talk candidly and explore questions that were crucial to gaining their trust and demonstrating how our new community could:

1) What was their Walgreens story? How did they get to their current position? What do they do? I asked them to share what parts of their story, both personal and professional, gave them the most pleasure, satisfaction and frustration.

2) Who in the organization did they wanted to connect with the most and why?

3) What specific aspects of our new community appealed to them the most? Were they most passionate about ideation, sharing, networking or did they just want to gradually I could find the best spot and role for them in the community.

Since our community is a social business community with specific goals, we also spent time talking with and listening to the 1 %, the influencers, about how their contributions are the fuel to modeling how the community can be a valued tool to solving real business problems.

Like Ben explained in his talk we started to explore How could it help them collaborate, connect and humanize both the corporate and store cultures? We needed to ask this questions and begin to answer it because this is the first time that both cultures would be converging online together in a social business space. And to avoid the question would be a big mistake in community building.

I highly encouraged that we take this personal one-on-one approach to building our Walgreens community because I’ve experienced the same benefits by listening to and sharing concert fans stories over the years on Live Fix.

And and I’ve said before, much of what I’ve discovered true for concert fan communities I have applied to building corporate communities.

To listen first isn’t a natural behavior for most people, especially in business. Too often we’re trained to do do do and just crank out results without questioning the norm.

But as community managers and social media leaders at our companies, we must lead by example. We must show that thinking strategically about our community objectives, and taking the time to listen and understand our communities is well worth the time.

You might not be able to measure the ROI of strategic planning, listening and the quality of engagement like you can with other metrics, but I know that every community and social media manager should consider the intangible ROI of those actions when building and growing their communities.

I can’t say it enough. We must show how this new evolution of corporate blogging and community management is done and continue to demonstrate why it’s important. We must show the business value of actively listening first so we can truly understand our community’s needs and eventually solve their problems.

And once we’ve listened we must be ready to empower our employees to tell their stories too and model it for the rest of the organization. Just like Ben did with Beyond Bandwidth.

Thanks again to Ben for sharing the story of BeyondBandwidth and thanks also the other companies who shared their success stories during Blogwell Dallas. And thanks to Kurt and the crew at Socialmedia.org for passing along the courtroom photo.

 

 

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What If We Created Remixed Pop-Up Concerts And Live Fan Jam Sessions?

Intel ultrabook pop-up theater jam session
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Continuing our exploration in to brands and live music, a couple thoughts popped into my head after watching these videos from Intel’s new Ultrabook campaign called “Pop-Up Theater”.

As noted in the email I got from the folks behind the campaign, these Intel videos are from a series of “fun and lighthearted stunts shot in Los Angeles featuring the new laptops.”

The videos are fun to watch and they’ve got me thinking about our street musician and Tiesto experiments.

These videos also remind me of one of my favorite post-concert moments during Lollapalooza 2011 which I experienced while walking back to the train on the streets of Chicago after the festival.

I will always remember how much I loved hearing fans teaming up with street musicians to sing and swoon the extremely melodic and catchy “uh uh uh, oh oh ohhh” chorus of Britney Spears “Till the End of the World”.

That moment put a big smile on my face as the live fan jam session was sent flowing beautifully down Michigan Avenue.

Let’s Have More Festival Moments Like That

Thinking about that post-Lolla moment and watching these videos also has me wondering if Intel has plans to be at any of the summer music festivals like LollapaloozaBonnaroo or Coachella this year to make the brand experiences more interactive and memorable for fans like this, or will Intel miss an opportunity like this?

If Intel is planning on creating an interactive experience for fans at festivals, they might want to think about letting fans use the Ultrabooks to experiment with their personal live music stories in one of the sponsored brand tents on the festival grounds.

Now, If Intel Did This…

For example, they could let fans use the Ultrabook to record videos documenting their festival memories and then allow fans to merge those stories with remixed versions of the live performances of their favorite artists during the festival, and then let fans share the final versions with friends instantly on their social networks.

Allowing fans to have an emotionally engaged and highly social experience directly on the Ultrabook would be very powerful, and it would be a creative and crafty extension of this current Pop-up Theater campaign.

Even better, fans could mash-up their remixes and combine their stories in to one big interactive and never-ending collage of concert fan stories.

And what if we took elements of what Keys N Krates does and applied it to the fan experience? How cool would that be?! Very.

How would you remix your concert story?

How would you remix memories of your favorite concert experiences? How can brands, like Intel, make the music festival experience more interactive and memorable for fans?

Tell us what you these Intel videos and share your concert experiences and thoughts in the comments below, on Twitter @livefixmedia, on Facebook , Google Plus, or call the concert fan hotline at 773-609-4341, and we’ll include them in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

Pop-Up Theater Orchestra

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What Happens When You Mix Live Music, Community Management and Social Business?

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Telling stories about concert fans has taught me a lot about how live music changes our lives forever.

And my curiosity about live music communities has led me on a journey to explore many other types of emerging communities.

For starters, in our brand explorations, I’ve applied what we’ve learned about concert fan communities to help grow, nurture and engage several internal and external social communities for companies and big brands.

And because of everything I’ve learned during our psychological, sociological and emotional explorations, I’ve decided that it’s time to stir the pot, mix in a couple more ingredients and cook up a new meal to sink our teeth into.

How Do You Merge Live Music, Community Management and Social Business?

I believe concert fan communities and employee communities are related. And there’s a lot to learn by merging ideas about the two communities. Which is why I want to start exploring the questions below to see what kind of answers we can come up with.

How do you begin to write about the crossover between communities for concert fans AND internal employee communities for big brands? And are the two even related?  And if they are related, how do you apply what you learn in one community to develop another?

How We Got Here, Where We’re Headed

Like I said, this is a new path for Live Fix, so I thought it would make sense to tell you a quick story first to explain how we got here and why we’re going to talk about community management and social business more on Live Fix.

One of the things that has made Live Fix such a blast from the beginning is that I didn’t have the answers. I only had a growing curiosity to know more about what made concert fan communities and our live music experiences so addictive, unique, memorable and life-changing.

Back when I first started Live Fix no one else was writing about this kind of stuff so there were no rules.

And if you ask most bloggers they will tell you that one of the best things about blogs, and social media in general, is that if you have topic that you want to read about but there’s no one writing about it, you can go blaze the trail yourself.  It’s very easy to set up shop yourself and go create the content you want to read.

So that’s what I did.

I took that seed of curiosity, planted it and watered it. I was guided by the simple notion that each post I wrote was an experiment. I began to write about what I saw, felt and discovered at live shows.

And after writing each post the road map become more clear.

I began to see where our explorations needed to go.

As I wrote each post I realized more and more how important it was to understand why bands, fans and brands are addicted to live music.  And the result were successful experiments like:

And five years later, by doing lots of testing and experimentation, Live Fix is now a growing community of live music fans that I hoped it would be.

How One Inspires The Other

Up until this post I haven’t really talked about my non-Live Fix world, but now I’ll be sharing with you what I’ve learned and will continue to discover as a community manager leading internal employee communities at Walgreens. Why share this stuff with you?

Well, it’s simple.

I have always seen Live Fix as a dynamic laboratory to test new ideas, meet amazing people and learn many new things about how online and off-line communities engage and evolve. And all those things I discover in the Live Fix laboratory continue to be a source of inspiration for the employee communities at Walgreens.

I’ll wrap up by saying this.

It’s obvious that what I learned about live music communities, what goes on in internal employee communities at Walgreens and the future of social business are all linked together. And I’m excited to see what happens when we start collaborating and swapping ideas about all three topics.

So to all you loyal Live Fix readers, I thank you for faithfully following along all these years and I hope you enjoy this new thread of discussion and experimentation. And if you’re new to the Live Fix community, I welcome you and hope that you join in and share your live music stories and community management insights too.

What’s Coming Down The Pipeline?

As this new exploration gets rolling you can expect posts about social business, intranets, community management trends and links to my favorite community manager blogs. Again, some posts might be just about those topics and some might mix in my live music experiences.  Either way, it’ll be fun to see where the journey takes us.

What do you think about our new exploration? What similarities do you see between concert fan communities and social business communities? What would you like to see us explore about this topic?

Thanks again for following along and let’s continue the conversation in the comments below, on Twitter @livefixmedia, on Facebook or call the concert fan hotline at 773-609-4341, and we’ll include them in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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For The Fans Or Brands? Tiesto Becomes First Artist To Play Live On Twitter

Tiesto in the booth CES 2012 HP
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Tiesto in the booth CES 2012 HP

Social media and concert history were made this week as Tiesto, Twitter and HP teamed up at CES 2012 to deliver a live stream of the Dutch DJ rocking the a VIP crowd from the booth. And the event was a great opportunity to continue or live concert brand exploration.

Dj tiesto hp live on twitter

As Billboard reports,

The private, invite-only set also marked the launch of another social media initiative for the man his friends call Tijs: “In The Booth,” a 10-part video series meant to document Tiësto’s fast-paced, globetrotting life, is set to premiere on the artist’s YouTube channel on January 17. Produced by Believe Entertainment Group – the digital content company behind Lebron James’ animated Web series “The Lebrons” – the documentary was also underwritten by HP and Intel, and features Tiësto prominently using the brands’ products.

As Mashable reports, the folks at Twitter were excited about the opportunity and the possibilites that it presents beyond 140 characters:

“We have offered streaming on the site before, but this is the first-time ever that the site will feature a live concert,” Rob Pietsch, Twitter’s director of West Coast sales, told Mashable. “HP came to us with the idea and we couldn’t be more excited to hear how the company and Intel will be using their Twitter brand pages to reach out to the public and become destination sites.

And What About The Fans?

This is all very exciting and boundary-pushing, but we must ask: what’s in it for the fans?

We must ask if the fan experience is really be considered, or if the fans are just playing the role of social media marketing targets?

As we’ve seen with our other brand experiments and explorations, telling or celebrating the fan experience isn’t always the first priority or a priority at all.

And with this new HP/Tiesto partnership it still remains to be seen how much of the fan experience HP is interested in celebrating.

Is This Really Anything New?

Not really. We know that using DJs, hip hop producers and the increasingly popular mainstream live dance music trend is nothing new for marketers to capitalize on. For example, Diplo has been the spokesman for Blackberry and Dr Dre has been used by HP in the past.

And, unfortunately, the list is short when it comes to brands that actually deliver on creative fan-centric social media marketing campaigns that don’t even feel like marketing at all.

In case you’re looking for evidence, these Rolling Stone/Dr. Martens, Scion, Sennheiser, and Pitchfork Don Q Rum experiences are some recent examples of brands doing it right or at least headed in the right direction.

That said, we’ll have to wait and see how the “In the Booth” videos turn out before we officially decide if HP has genuinely  integrated and celebrated the fan experience.

Will HP & Tiesto Innovate and Document the Real Stories?

Like we explored in the wake of Lollapalooza, there’s a lot of possibility for brands to deliver truly groundbreaking experiences while telling the brand AND the fan story at the same time.

I know I’m looking forward to seeing how HP’s does it this time and if they will creatively weave in amazing Tiesto fan stories like this one.

Tiesto has also been at the center of several ongoing controversial stories and it’ll be interesting to see how much HP documents those.

The history-making 2012 CES concert steaming footage was only available for 48 hours after the show, but it’ll be available on the HP Facebook page Tiesto tab after January 17th.

What’s Your Tiesto Concert Story?

Is this HP partnership cultivating a genuine sub-community of Tiesto fans, or is this just another timely marketing opportunity for HP? How would you make the fan experience a creative part of the “In the Booth” videos?

What did you think of the Tiesto Twitter concert? Got a Tiesto live show story? Share your concert experiences and thoughts in the comments below, on Twitter @livefixmedia, on Facebook or call the concert fan hotline at 773-609-4341, and we’ll include them in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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Concert Contest: Perez Hilton Wants You To “Live Famously” At The Show

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Back when we had the pleasure of discovering how Perez Hilton throws a Pre-Lollapalooza party in Chicago, I started to wonder what goes through the mind and heart of Mr. Lavandeira during a concert.

Well, now you might be able to ask him yourself and let us know what he says because he’s teaming up with Lean Pockets’ “Live Famously” sweepstakes to give fans a chance to win a prize package that includes a special VIP concert experience.

Here’s the details of what you, and a friend, can win for the grand prize.

  • luxury hotel stay
  • private car service to and from the airport
  • $1,000 reward card for whatever they want
  • $250 spa card
  • special concert experience with well-known celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.

We’re also told that ” you can win thousands of daily prizes, such as retail gift cards for stylish clothing brands, department stores and online shopping.”

Here are the two ways to get your sweepstakes code:

1. During the promotion period, visit a LEAN POCKETS® brand retailer and purchase a specially marked package of LEAN POCKETS® brand Stuffed Sandwiches with the Live Famously logo on it.

2. To enter without making a purchase, obtain a code on the “Live Famously Sweepstakes” Tab on the LEAN POCKETS® brand Facebook Page.

 Is This Contest For the Fans?

As we continue to experiment with and see how brands use the live music experience to engage fans, we’ll keep an eye on this Lean Pockets contest to see how it goes and what you, the fans, think of it.

Go ahead and post your comments below, on Twitter @livefixmedia, on Facebook or call the concert fan hotline at 773-609-4341, and we’ll include them in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

We’ll also be sharing other concert contests in 2012 so stay tuned for more!

 

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Concert Contest: Win a Trip To NYC, Live Show at Madison Square Garden

fuse xfinity concert contest my city my music
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fuse xfinity concert contest my city my music

Continuing our exploration of concert contests and how brands are engaging fans, we wanted to pass along info about Fuse and XFINITY coming together to give you a chance to win a full day and night of enjoyment in New York City!

According to the contest details, one lucky winner will win:

  • A trip to New York City along with pair of tickets to the concert of their choice at a Madison Square Garden venue
  • A music prize pack including an MP3 player and headphones
  • A gift certificate to download your favorite music
  • And a pair of tickets to enjoy a night on the town at any local New York City museum or attraction!

When chilling out at home I’ve enjoyed watching several of the live shows on Fuse, so it’s good to see them giving local Chicago fans a chance to win a trip to catch a show in the Big Apple.

The contest also features Chicago band Kill Hannah but, unfortunately, this sweeps contest is limited to locals and is only open to residents of Illinois.

The entry deadline is December 26th and you can enter by heading over to fusemycity.com to fill out the quick registration form!

Stay tuned for more as the “My City. My Music.” contest unfolds and we talk with the winning fans and the contest sponsors on a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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Concert Preview: RE:MIX LAB at River Arts Center

Re:MIx Lab London Hollywood Holt
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Re:MIx Lab London Hollywood Holt

On Saturday, November 19th we’ll be checking out the RE:MIX LAB presented by Antenna Magazine at the River East Arts Center.

The RE:Mix LAB, fueled by the new Hyundai Veloster, is a multi-day, multi-media event, which will feature music, gaming, and film in support of the soon to be released RE:GENERATION music documentary.

Theophilus London will be performing live in addition to DJ sets by local Chicago favorites Team Bayside High and Hollywood Holt. Several tracks from London’s new album Timez Are Weird These Days have been on constant rotation in my 2011 playlist, and while we were at Lollapalooza 2011 we had the pleasure of dodging the downpour inside the Dell Lounge to catch a set by Hollywood Holt.

And knowing the good times we had at the WBEZ Hip Hop Block Party earlier this year, we’re looking forward to seeing how the collective groove all comes together at the River Arts Center.

As you know, we’ve been exploring how brands like Honda and Scion are innovating the live music experience and engaging fans at shows and during road trips, so we’ll be talking with the artists, Hyundai and the folks behind this RE:MIX LAB event, and we’ll share our chat with them on a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

Full info about the event is below. And if you have a question or a comment for any of artists or Hynaudi post it below and we’ll be sure to include it our chat.

PERFORMANCE BY:
Theophilus London

DJ Sets from:
Team Bayside
Hollywood Holt

River East Arts Center
435 East Illinois Street
Chicago, IL 60611

Time: 8pm – 11pm

rsvp: chicago@remix-lab.com

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Way Better Than Peanuts: Mat Kearney, SWA Surprise Passengers with Intimate In-flight Concert

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Well, it looks like Southwest Airlines has joined our list of brands who are testing out creative ways to re-define the live concert experience making it more unique and intimate for fans.

And what’s interesting about this Kearney/Southwest in-flight live concert experience, is that it celebrates and incorporates many of the elements of our ongoing exploration of the shock and awe of surprise shows.

So here’s what Southwest says on their blog about the Mat Kearney concert they hosted 30,000 feet in the air while unsuspecting fans were in route from Nashville to Chicago:

As the official airline of Aloft Hotels presents Live in the Vineyard, Southwest is partnering with various artists to provide the ultimate in-air entertainment experience…Talk about an exclusive event! Keep an eye out for the Southwest aircraft displaying the Aloft presents Live in the Vineyard decal that will be touring our system through the first weekend of November.

As you can see in the video above, Kearney was also wowed by the experience, which apparently has been on his wish list for a long time.

Of course, in-flight surprise shows are nothing new. And I remember when Kayne West did an impromptu show last year when he jumped on plane PA from the pilot cock pit to rock a medley of “Good Life” and “Gold Digger.”

But for that show, West wasn’t with the fans in the coach cabin area. So I imagine Kearney’s show was a bit more special as fans got to actually share the moment with him just a few feet away. Kinda like Cindi Lauper’s surprise show for fans in a Buenos Aires airport.

What Can Fans Expect For Future Flights?

How will this sort of unique in-flight experience be integrated into the cost of plane tickets?

And what extras and special values they will offer passengers in the future?

Will this re-define the value and fun of flying with a particular airline?

Will we begin to see more airlines offering this type of surprise entertainment on more flights?

Will fans begin to consider the touring schedule of their favorite artists when planning and picking their plane trips?

Now Let’s Chat About

what you’ve experienced so far.

If you were on the SWA Mat Kearney flight or have been surprised by other pop-up or secret shows, we invite you to share your experience.

Drop us comment below and let us know what you thought of the surprise show and we’ll share your story on a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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Rolling Stone and Dr. Martens Want To Know About “Your First Concert”

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During my daily cruising to see what’s going on in the live music world on the interwebs, I stumbled across one of the coolest music publication and brand partnerships that I’ve seen in a long long time. It was Rolling Stone’s “Your First Concert” experience sponsored by Dr. Martens.

I’m not sure how long it’s been going on, but nonetheless I encourage you to go check it out because there’s a lot of great stories shared by fellow concert fans ranging from the Beatles in 1968 to the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2000. There also a celebrity and Rolling Stone editor feature that includes first concert experiences from Will.i.am and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James first live shows.

What’s Do The Fan Stats Reveal?

They’ve also created two interesting graphs from the “how old were you” and “what year was it” information you enter to tell your first concert story.

As of today, the graphs reveal that most of the first concerts entered took place between 1975-1979 and 2005-2009. And the age graph shows that most fans experienced their first show between the ages of 13-17.

What Would Make This Brand Sponsorship Even Sweeter?

Considering our previous brand experiments, this is definitely one of the best brand sponsorships I’ve seen for concert fans. As far as I could see, there was any mention about winning a prize for sharing your experience.

That said, it would make this experience that much sweeter if you COULD win some free swag from Rolling Stone or Dr. Martens.

Swag or no swag, I’m excited to take a deeper dive into this most excellent fan experience and share the findings with you. There’s a lot of really great concert memories being celebrated and hopefully we can have fans share their stories with us in great detail like these fans have.

How ‘Bout You?

What was your first concert? Have you shared it in this Rolling Stone experience?

We’ll also be contacting Rolling Stone and Dr. Martin to see if the’ll tell us the creative back story about “Your First Concert,” so let us know what you think in the comments below and we’ll include your feedback during a special upcoming episode of Live Fix Radio.

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Chew On This: Did Trident Revitalize Fans at Pitchfork Music Festival?

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Okay, now it’s time to share some more fan stories from Pitchfork Music Festival 2011! Check out the video above as we explored the Trident Vitality Lounge and had an ‘AWAKEN’ing session at the oxygen bar. Sorry for the shakiness of the video, I think they had the oxygen cranked up a bit to high while I was filming.

As you’ll see, we asked two fellow concert fans about how the oxygen bar session was impacting their Pitchfork experience.

And this was a great opportunity to continue our exploration of how our senses play a role during a concert, and how Wrigley’s 5 gum experience gave Coachella fans a chance to get interactive with their chewing gum.

And though it wasn’t nearly as digitally interactive at 5 Gum’s, Trident had a slightly similar angle at Pitchfork this year with their more physically and sensually-focused Vitality Lounge that offered fans free massages, relaxing couches to chill out on, and of course the oxygen bar.

What Was It Like?

Hanging out in the Trident Vitality Lounge was a very interesting and thought-provoking experience, so I dug a little deeper to find out more about oxygen bars and how they might impact our concert experiences, and if they really do have any medical benefits.

Did Trident Pass The Test?

And in this post we’ll also continue our experiments with brands who do or don’t engage concert fans.

That said, the minute I saw the booth at Pitchfork I was instantly curious to see if Trident was pushing the boundaries as a brand by making the concert experience more sensual and interactive for concert fans. And we’ll share our thoughts on that too.

What About Oxygen Bars?

First, let’s check out some info about medical benefits of oxygen bars.

According to this Askmen article, oxygen bars provide minimal benefits for fans and could actually do harm in some cases. The article does a solid job of explaining the facts and truth about oxygen bars and they sum it up by saying:

So the bottom line, according to the scientific data out there, is that though 20 minutes of pure oxygen isn’t likely to cause major damage, it won’t provide much good either. If anything, it will expose you to needless risks.

Oxygen bars have been around for awhile, so I took a look back in time to a 1997 CNN Health article that talks about the rise of oxygen bars and the growing trend of athletes using them and oxygen-enhanced bottled water.

The CNN article didn’t say anything about artists or fans using oxygen during a concert but imagine the effects would be the same.

You can learn more about the the company that makes the oxygen bars used at Pitchfork here, and read more about the history of oxygen bars here.

So Is Trident Pushing Boundaries?

Though it was a fun experience to try out the oxygen bar at Pitchfork, I don’t think Trident was exploring any new territory. And it didn’t help that the ladies working the booth didn’t know a whole bunch about the oxygen bars or the effects of them concert fans.

Yes, it was a nice thing to provide fans a place to relax and re-energize, but it would’ve been even better if Trident made a more personal connection between the live music experience and the Vitality Lounge.

And that’s one of the reasons why I asked Christia if she would have liked to try the oxygen bar out while she watched Battles play. By asking her that I was exploring the idea of Trident’s Vitality Lounge going beyond just being a service booth and evolving into a fully interactive concert experience that fans would appreciate and enjoy.

And that’s were Trident’s Vitality Lounge and most brand’s festival booths fall short. They either don’t make a lasting physical connection or they don’t focus too much on telling just the brand’s story, and not enough on telling or weaving in the fan story.

And that’s unfortunate because I chewed Trident’s Vitality gum all weekend long and loved it, just like Tune-Yards and TV on the Radio’s set.

But I can’t say the same for 5 Gum, which unfortunately loses it’s flavor pretty fast, like far too many of the sets at Pitchfork did this year.

It was also pretty annoying to keep getting asked by the AXE girls each time I passed by their big “Even Angels Will Fall” tent. It was funny though to see other Pitchfork fans playing games and using the Axe mini pump spray bottle to spray each other so many times that they reeked of AXE.

Why Don’t Brands Go Further?

But again, Trident, AXE and most brands I’ve seen at festivals unfortunately don’t make that personal connection. They don’t innovate in ways that matter emotionally. And they don’t make what their giving you — gum or deodorant samples — unique in any way.

Heck, it would’ve been interesting to see Trident or AXE create samples that had a unique Pitchfork logo or something that was sort of commemorative.

The One Thing Everyone Wants To Know

The last question, I’m still wondering about is whether or not fans who stopped by the Trident Vitality Lounge associated their memorable Pitchfork experience with their time in the Lounge?

And of course, the answer to that question is the ROI (Return On Investment) of why most brands spend the money to go to festivals.

And as it’s why, as Ad Age points out, Trident has a couple key objectives with their Vitality gum.

Also, the pellet-size gum, which comes in a box that “clicks” when opened or closed, is aimed at a slightly older demographic than 5, with the targeted audience being people in their 20s and 30s who are into wellness.

The message will focus “more on the experience associated with the gum,” said Mr. Maglaris, emphasizing that only one variety has the vitamin.

But will that experience be memorable for concert fans? Right now it’s not.

But it could have been if Trident, and AXE, focused more on telling a story and making a stronger emotional connection between their product and the concert fan experience.

There were over 18,000 concert fan stories that happened at Pitchfork 2011 and I didn’t see any brands making the most of the opportunity to connect their successful products in any memorable way.

Like I said, I love the Tune-Yards and TVOTR set, but when it comes down to it, I don’t associate my favorite Pitchfork musical experiences with Trident. The only connection that was memorable for me and Trident was talking with those two fans.  Beyond that what I was chewing was just something to keep my breath from smelling.

But enough about our experiences…

Were You There?

Were you at the Pitchfork Music festival to check out the Trident Vitality Lounge? We invite you to share your concert experiences in the comments below, so they can be included in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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Product Review: Experimenting with the Sony Bloggie Touch MHS-TS20

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sony bloggie touch product review

Continuing our exploration of cool gadgets for concert fans, here’s a review of the new Sony Bloggie Touch.

Our review of the  previous version of the Bloggie got me excited about the possibilities to record short 2-3 minute personal journal-style videos that chronicle our concert experiences. So needless to say, I was looking forward to testing out this new and improved version.

We all know that YouTube is full of videos of concert fans capturing the action that’s going on onstage.

And considering what we know about concert fan emotions,  I’m been testing out the Sony Bloggie Touch and experimenting with it recently to see  how we could use it to better chronicle, capture and share the emotional impact of our concert experiences– before, during and after shows. More on than in moment.

Goodbye Old Bloggie, Hello New Bloggie

There’s a lot reason why I really enjoyed testing out the new Bloggie Touch.

For starters, I liked the new and improved design. The brushed metal and sleeker black casing is definitely better looking and more durable than the previous version.

Though I did like the swivel head of the older version, this new design is certainly sturdier, lighter and more natural to hold. And the onscreen touch controls are easier to use, especially in low-light situations, like when you’re at a concert at a darkened venue and you can’t see but have to relay on touch and trust where your fingers go without looking down.

With the Bloggie all you need to do is press the on/off button on the side and then with a slight movement of your thumb to push the big red record button to capture video, or slide your index finger a short inch to click the shutter to snap a quick still shot when you’re in the photo mode. The intuitive touchscreen navigation and ability to switch to taking a photo worked great when I wanted to grab a quick photo while I was recording video of band or the crowd.

Since the Bloggie no longer has the swivel head with this Touch model, Sony does offer the self-recording feature with the release of the Sony Bloggie Duo model, which came out later this year as I was testing out the Bloggie Touch. I haven’t had a chance to test out the Duo yet, but the it does look like a pretty neat camera with its small 2” live screen on the front so you can seen what you’re recording.

How Did It Do In A Low-light Concert Setting?

Though it’s still not as good as using a more advanced handy-cam, the Bloggie Touch still did a lot better in low-light than I expected. The auto-focus lets you zoom in from wide angles to small objects and I used this feature a few times when I was going from shooting the whole band on stage to just the mic or the fingers playing a guitar. The face-detection feature was fun to play around with too but I wasn’t quite sure how to make use of it for what I wanted to do, so it really didn’t make that big a difference in the long run.

The 1080P HD video capabilities definitely gives you the power to create pretty impressive video quality considering that you’re using a MP4 YouTuber-style mini-camcorder.  Without a doubt, the Exmor™ CMOS sensor delivers a high-quality and a much improved low-light recording capability. It’s also a huge improvement over the previous Bloggie model which was sub-par in low-light situations.

But I would also make sure to hold the camera the right way when your shooting, meaning that when I recorded the Chicago Rocks Tour video in the car on the way home, I was holding the camera vertically which made the final video into a thin vertical strip, compared to the MOBfest 2011 Concert Fan Chronicles video when which I held camera horizontally and the final video filled up the entire screen width on YouTube the way I intended.  It would have been nice to know that that would happen before I filmed the video, so consider yourself informed.

Even though you can hook up an external mic to it, I was still impressed with the sound quality I got when I recorded the video at the Kickback concert at the Hideout. I moved around the venue recording various clips during the show to see how it recorded. Again it’s not awesome sound, but for what I wanted to do it gave me just what I needed, which was good enough audio to use on our Live Fix podcast and forthcoming concert fan mixtapes.

sony bloggie touch product review

Does the Bloggie Touch Take Good Photos?

As far as photos go, with a 12.8 megapixel camera the Bloggie Touch takes high-quality still shots too. And since I loved using it even when I wasn’t at a show, I tested it out in non-concert situations too.

And as you see in the pictures below, it did a fine job of snapping some aftermath shots as I attempted to shovel myself out of the snowy depths of the Great Midwestern Blizzard of 2011 back in February.

Can You Get Social With It?

The editing and social networking uploading software that came with the it was fun to use, but it was a bit clunky and took up quite a bit or memory on my computer. Once you plug the Bloggie Touch with the pop-out USB attachment at the bottom of the Bloggie,  the software immediately recognizes it and lets you easily grab the videos/photos from the device, catalog and edit your them, and then upload them to YouTube or Flickr for instant sharing.

The rechargeable lithium battery also charges while it’s plugged into the USB port which saves on batteries. And this version kept a charge for over two hours while in constant use, which again is an improvement from the other Bloggie that crapped out under an hour.

Mobile Phones vs. Bloggie Touch

You’re probably wondering if it’s worth it to get the Bloggie when your mobile phone can do what you need it to do.  And you’re probably right in saying that considering that the value and need of these shoot-and-share mini-camcorders has been challenged by the ever-advancing video/photo capabilities of mobile phones.

But the truth is my Motorola Droid and other mobile devices I’ve experimented with don’t always work as smoothly as I would like it to. And more times than not, the video and audio quality of my Droid is not what I’m hoping for either.  That said, the Bloggie Touch is certainly a worthy back-up and/or alternative to just using your mobile phone, which again, is often limited in photo, video/audio quality and memory storage.

Wrapping Up Our Bloggie Touch Experiment

Overall, I was very happy with how the Bloggie allowed me to quickly and easily do everything I wanted to during the experiments. I had a lot of fun using the Bloggie Touch. And to be honest, I’m kind of sad that I had to send it back to Sony after I finished writing this review.

At the competitive price of around $130 — which is fairly standard for these types of mini-cameras — I found it to be an exciting tool that has a lot of potential to tell help you simply and easily create videos and share our life-changing concert experiences with each your fellow concert fans.

Again, my main goal with this Bloggie Touch experimental review was to start showing how we can creatively turn the camera on ourselves and tell our own self-made and inspiring concert fan stories, instead of just recording the artist during the show.

In the end, there’s a lot of ways to you can tell your concert story with video. And you can record, chronicle and share your concert experiences whether you’re using a mobile phone or one of these mini-camcorders.

But however you do it, I just hope that you do at least start thinking about how to make your own videos. And I hope  that this experimental review got your creative juices flowing.

Thanks again for following along and I invite you to check out our other cool gadget product reviews. I also invite you join our ongoing video experiment here at Live Fix by posting a link to your own concert videos in the comments below.

What Gadgets Rock Your World?

Got a favorite gadget or mobile app that you love to use at concerts? Have thoughts about the Sony Bloggie Touch? Let us know what you think and we’ll share your feedback during a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

 

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Before Your Next Show: Get To Know Thrillcall and Earlove

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earlove

During this episode of Live Fix Radio we explore how Thrillcall.com helps concert fans find their favorite live shows and discover emerging artists, and how Earlove makes sure your ears stay safe and sound while you get your rock on.

Subscribe via iTunes.

Show Notes:

We’ve featured the Thrillcall.com concert widget on Live Fix (in the right column) since last year and we’re excited to have Courtnee Rizzo, Social Media Manager of Thrillcall.com, give us the inside scoop about how the San Francisco-based startup helps connect fans to the live music experience. Courtnee also filled us in on what she enjoys the most about reviewing concerts on the Thrillcall blog,  and why she’ll never (ever) forget seeing Coldplay live.

Chicago-based DJ, entrepreneur and hearing protection advocate Carolynn Travis tells us what inspired her to create Earlove for live music fans and bands, and why she ranks Orbital live in 1999 as one of her all-time favorite concerts.

Product Review For You

Continuing our exploration of cool stuff for concert fans, we also tell you why we give Earlove earplugs and the Etymotic HF2 earphones “Two Ears Up” after we put them through a very thorough concert fan examination at SXSW 2011 and other live shows this year.

What Did You Hear During the Podcast?

Orbital – “Chime” Live At Glastonbury 2004 (iTunes)

Coldplay – “Politik” Live in Sydney 2003 (iTunes)

Thanks again for listening and be sure to tell us what gadgets and sites you love to use to rock your favorite concerts!

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