If you’ve been to the Disney Parks located in the United States or on a Disney Cruise Line this year you might have noticed people sporting wristbands ranging from various neon colors, all with a simple Mickey Mouse symbol on it. With a wave of their wrists they’re able to skip the line as your kids groan and moan, pleading for a chance of meeting Elsa. Instead of having to deal with giving the exact cash amount or fumbling with cards as you’re buying food, they wave their hand and are off on their merry way. You might think it’s a magic band and you would be correct. It is literally called the MagicBand and is Disney Parks way of creating a new experience for their visitors to the Happiest Place on Earth. It also gives them an insane amount of access to Big Data in a perfect, controlled environment. How magical!
The MagicBands are RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) enabled bracelets that debuted in late 2013 for the Walt Disney World Resort Park, but have gained momentum this past year with their expansion to the Disney Cruise Lines. They sold over 9 million units in 2014. Through the use of the website called MyMagic+, visitors can connect their wristbands to credit cards, book fast passes (up to reserving three rides without having to wait in line!), and reserve and order food ahead of time at restaurants in the park before even stepping on the premises. They work as hotel access, so instead of having to worry about losing your room key between your family members you just wave your personal wristband to enter your room. They also have an app for the band so you can update your fast passes and food orders while in the park, along with being able to see your happiest memories in visual form. In addition, when you use the wristband cast members also greet you by name preference, whether if it’s by Steve or Mr. Edwards. It’s up to you! You’re the guest!
You might be worrying that these MagicBands contain your personal information but Disney executives swear they don’t and that, contrary to rumor, they aren’t able to locate your child with a flip of a switch. Watch your kids you crazy parents! The value of the wristbands for Disney is that they are able to get richer customer data by seeing where people are shopping along with their habits. Disney has claimed that people with the wristbands spend more than those who don’t, but they haven’t the released the actual figures yet. How it works is that they’ve placed multiple radios around the park in various locations. The wristband acts as a frequency identifier and sends a signal, allowing Disney to essentially follow your day from which rides you prefer to finding where you’re sitting in a huge ballroom to deliver your food. It lets them know how long you’re willing to wait in line or when something inconvenient happens, allowing them to send you a new experience. It allows them to immediately recast your memory from a bad one to a great one. Basically, it restructures how Disney responds to humanity.
“The whole system gave Disney a way of understanding the business,” Nick Franklin, one of the developers of the MagicBand, stated in an interview. “Knowing where we need more food here, how people are flowing through the park, how people are consuming the experiential product”. Walt Disney World is the perfect place to experiment with this. Disney has total access to the information with the full permission of the numerous visitors that go through their parks. They don’t need to worry about multiple business partners or privacy issues as they own everything on the property. When you buy the ticket, you’re essentially signing a “Observe me! Film me! Document me!” clause that allows Disney to view your habits. What’s more important is that you’re probably ok with it at the time because it’s Disney. It has the halo effect that makes people feel comfortable with giving out that information for free. If Facebook or Google was doing this, the responses might be very different. If this was being done by Facebook or Google, the responses might be very different. Disney is allowed to test new experiences with technology that changes our notions of what we’re comfortable with. They sell you a great experience and in return you give them Big Data. It’s an idealized world that shows an idealized life in a self-contained environment, similar to a snow globe. It even has fake snow for the holiday season!
So the next time you go to a Disney Park you might be having a convenient, hassle-free, great time with your family but remember. The mouse is watching you create magic for them. All it takes is the wave of your wrist.
Could big data be the key to finding true love? Usually we think of big data being as a tool used by marketers to better deliver advertisements or information to a consumer, and we may not think it could be used to enhance our love lives. However, online dating sites have been using data (and now big data) from the start.
Online dating has been around for awhile now (over 20 years) and is becoming more and more common among relationship seekers but how much data are people willing to share to get the perfect match?
Some websites ask as many as 400 questions. Match.com estimates that it has more than 70 terabytes of data about its customers. What happens with all this data? As the Tinder (an online dating app), vice president of advertising Brian Norgard said, “it allows us to give that data back to our brands in a really valuable way”, such as Bud Light in which they did their first advertising campaign.
Big data is helping these websites provide better matches for their customers which means more satisfied customers, which means bigger profits.
So why isn’t everyone on these dating sites successfully matched yet? Well, people lie, and not always on purpose. Hinge, a Washington DC-based dating company, gathers information about its customers from their Facebook pages. The data is likely to be accurate because other Facebook users police it, Justin McLeod, the company’s founder, believes.
Companies aren’t the only people who can take advantage of big data in online dating though. There are now more tools than ever for creating and using data in budding romantic relationships. For example, Lulu, is an app for young women to anonymously review their male friends, exes and hookups, that has recently attracted significant popular attention. Lulu lets female reviewers anonymously select hashtags that describe male acquaintances, from #DudeCanCook to #Cheater which it then translates through an algorithm into numerical ratings. Lulu has over a million users and is popular at colleges. Lulu’s founders describes the app as creating a safe, empowering place for young women to swap intel about which guys are worthwhile, although some critics say it is creepy and promotes a double-standard.
Have you ever Googled your name?
Not that I have ever done that myself, of course. It’s just…I’m mentioning it for a friend.
Well, if you did it, don’t be embarrassed. According to Pew Research Center, 56% of Internet users have searched for themselves online. (Kelly, 2013) This phenomenon, called egogoogling or vanity searching, has helped Alec Brownstein to get his online resume into the right hands.
Back in May 2010, Mr. Brownstein, a 29-year-old advertising copywriter from New York City decided to exploit the power of Google ads by setting up paid search campaigns using the names of New York’s top creative directors as keywords. The idea was that when the creative directors Googled themselves, they found paid search ads asking for a job. (Moth, 2013)
“Everybody Googles themselves,” Brownstein explained. “Even if they don’t admit it. I wanted to invade that secret, egotistical moment when [the creative directors I admired] were most vulnerable. Since Brownstein Googles himself “embarrassingly frequently,” he assumed that the creative directors did so as well, and so he decided to purchase their names on Google AdWords.” (Indvik, 2010)
As David M. Scott stresses, while SEO is “the art and science of ensuring that the words and phrases on your site […] are found by the search engines and that, once found, your site is given the highest ranking possible in the search results”, a Search Engine Advertising is when a marketer pays to have an ad to appear on search engines according to the keywords bought.
Indeed, when buying ads on Google, the more well-known the individual, company, or organization is, the higher the price. However, when buying an individual’s name, the cost is usually much less. (CBSNEWS, 2010) That was the case for Brownstein, who spent only $6 for the ads. Since Brownstein was the only one bidding on the names of the five creative directors he most admired, he was able to get the top spots for only 15 cents per click. (Indvik, 2010) As a matter of fact, “it is ineffective to try to reach [your target] with broad, general search terms.” (Scott, 2013)
Alec relied on the vanity of 5 New Yorkers creative directors so that when they Googled themselves the top result would have been a message from Alec with a link to his resume. “Hey, Ian Reichenthal,” read one. “Gooogling yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too.” Brownstein targeted five executives. Four offered him an interview. (Kingsley, 2011)
It is also important to notice that Brownstein deliberately misspelled ‘Googling’ by changing it to ‘Gooogling’, because advertisers cannot normally bid on trademarked terms.
Scott Vitrone and Ian Reichenthal, the co-executive creative directors at advertising Young & Rubicam in New York, were among those Brownstein was trying to reach. In a couple of months, Y&R offered Brownstein a job recognizing the creativity and the effort.
This case in considered one of the most successful SEO campaign and was worth Mr. Brownstein two awards in the self-promoting category: The One Show and The Clios.
Moth, D. (March 5, 2013) Six Examples Of Effective PPC And SEO Campaigns
Indvik, L. (May 13, 2010) How To: Land Your Dream Job Using Google AdWords
Kingsley, P. (July 17, 2011) How Far Would You Go To Get A Job?
Kaufman, W. (June 8, 2010) For The Love Of Google: Landing A Job With Search
CBCNEWS (May 14, 2010) Google Ads Help Job Seeker Find Work
Kelly, S. M. (September 27, 2013) 56% Of Internet Users Have Searched For Themselves Online
Scott, D.M. (2013) The New Rules Of Marketing & PR, Wiley
Rajat Paharia defines Big Data as “the explosion in the size, amount and form of information available around any one individual, organization or event. It comes from an increasingly wide variety of sources; is assembled in a variety of forms, some structured and processed and some unstructured and unprocessed; and is present in heretofore unimagined quantities.”
Seeking a job is changing as we speak, and it has never looked so prominent. Now that the recession is behind us, the job market has changed tremendously. There is currently twice as many employers looking to fill jobs as there are applicants. Careerlabs.com is utilizing Big Data to help job seekers get better job matches. By having a better understanding of the companies they are applying to, future employees can better understand where they are getting themselves into and if the company fits their profile. Watch the video here.
Careerlabs utilizes Big Data to help individuals find their better fit. Currently, they monitor about 70% of all US companies. Big Data enables Careerlabs to gather transparent and anonymous opinion data from millions of employees between the ages of 25 and 45 making 70k to 150k. These anonymus responses about the companies they work or have worked at include, compensation, benefits, employee turnover, culture, company growth and other related topics. The data obtained helps Caeerlabs curate and customize jobs based on the individuals interests as well as on his/her expectations of the job. Big Data also enables them to create courses, guides and suggestions to further their career growth.
The way CareerLabs work is extremely simple. You start off by signing up for free (you can sync either your Facebook or your LinkedIn account) and start browsing away. For $19 per month, you get more filters and added information such as if the company provides international sponsors or facilitates International visas. For $49 per month, you get extra details and analysts tools that grants you extremely detailed information about the companies you are interested in such as information of benefits or 401K plans.
Getting inside information on a company can be truly beneficial to a job-seeker. For example, If the job-seeker is looking for a job that doesn’t require her to be in the office physically or if the applicant’s political views are important. CareerLabs is a perfect example of how big data and creativity can help change the way we look for jobs and also, potentially the ROI we give back to the company.
How do you market your company in a relevant, engaging way? How do you solve a real problem that’s affecting your country? Can you do both?
Spies Travel, based in Denmark, answered these questions in a rather intriguing and very European way. They said of course we can do both! We’ll solve it by answering the number one problem Denmark is currently facing. We’ll solve the low birth rate with our product. Yes, you did read that right. That was not a typo and they did it in a brilliant way. Warning, the following campaign does have mature content.