onechocolate loves… the view from France

Our French office selected this week’s round-up of inspiring PR and digital marketing campaigns, smart new tech and cool events…

#1 The Apple Watch is here!

The highly-anticipated Apple Watch went on sale in stores on Friday 24th April in several countries around the globe. However, in Paris, only a few stores will have the device available for sale. One Parisian retailer stocking the device is Colette, a fashion boutique where by 10 am, more than 150 people were queued up around the corner. So, it seems that the smartwatch was a hit with Apple’s fans. Nevertheless, the watch was also mocked by some such as Christopher Walken’s commercial parody and Cyprien, one of the most influential French YouTubers, whose parody makes fun of Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive.

#2 Stop street harassment

For the fifth annual International Anti-Street Harassment Week, the French association Stop Harcèlement de Rue (End Street Harassment), created a special app – – available on both Android and iOS. Hé is a French version of the Yo app – a hugely successful American product that allows users to send simple interactions to their contacts. At first glance, Hé looks much the same as Yo, but in fact the app has a specific functionality: once a user adds themselves to your friend list, you’ll begin to receive messages simply saying ‘Hey’. The interactions seem innocent at first, but they become more frequent – and more aggressive. A great initiative to raise awareness of street harassment!

#3 Me at the zoo!

On April 23 2005, Jawed Karim uploaded a 19-second video to a (then) unknown site called YouTube which he helped create. Shot by high school friend, it shows Karim talking about how cool elephants’ trunks are. Today, the clip has been viewed 22 million times, is almost a cult piece of video and its main actor has an estimated net worth of $140 million! This story perfectly sums up the YouTube phenomenon: a platform that has the power to propel brands, pop stars, comedians and vloggers to stratospheric heights and to make users Internet famous. So, Happy Birthday, YouTube!

#4 Iron Man to promote the French Tech

To capitalise on the buzz surrounding the release of the latest Avengers film, the French Government has created its own superhero to promote French tech start-ups. Like Iron Man, the French tech hero is fully equipped with the latest home-grown innovations such as the connected t-shirt from Citizen Science, the exoskeleton of Wandercraft and the connected watch of Withings. The French government aims to shine the spotlight on the new generation of promising start-ups in France and abroad.

#5 My Idol

The viral app doing the rounds this week is the new Chinese app, My Idol. It creates a 3D virtual duplicate of the user by simply scanning your face –et voilà, your very own avatar is created. You’re then able to choose what activity you want your double to participate in, from relaxing to performing karaoke. The Guardian has labelled it “The app that lets you watch Barack Obama pole-dance” and celebrities have adopted the app in their droves, including as Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga.

#6 Happy Switzerland 

Schwarzsee,_Switzerland

The 3rd World Happiness Report came out this week, providing further evidence that Northern Europe is a great place to live. Switzerland, the land of designer watches and luxury chocolates, is the world’s happiest country, according to the report released by the United Nations, supported Sustainable Development Solutions Network. It was closely followed by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada. France came only in 29th place in the report – behind UK and Germany respectively 21st and 26th . The report bases its rankings on data from the 2012-2014 Gallup World Polls, which asked people from over 150 countries how they rated their quality of life on a scale from 1-10.

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onechocolate loves… the view from France

Our French office selected this week’s round-up of inspiring PR and digital marketing campaigns, smart new tech and cool events…

#1 Volkswagen gets creative with the truth

To promote its second-hand car sale service, Volkswagen has released a very cute and funny ad about how parents sometimes use a little ‘artistic licence’ with the truth. In the clip, parents can be seen telling their kids to “be good otherwise Santa won’t stop here” and “stop squinting, or your face will stay like that”. Using “Imagine what they’ll tell you when they try to sell you their car” as the supporting slogan, Volkswagen has created a light-hearted ad which is sure to resonate with parents and children alike. We particularly enjoyed the baffled expressions of the two children as their Dad tries to convince them that their green beans are actually French fries.

#2 Find your music match

Choosic

One of the most popular and addictive features on Tinder is the ‘swipe’ action, so it’s no surprise that other apps have sought to adopt the swiping model, the latest being music discovery app: Choosic. Users must select a preferred genre of music and then swipe either right in favour of a tune, or left to abandon a song they don’t like. Through the swiping function, Choosic learns your likes and dislikes and becomes better at recommending songs that are to your taste. We think that this entertaining approach to music discovery is sure to shake up the app world!

#3 Good morning, stranger!

Gone are the days of the annoyingly awful beep of your alarm: Wakie, a ‘social alarm clock’ app, allows its users to call and wake up strangers and vice versa. Currently available on Android and Windows Phone (iOS is in the approval process), Wakie’s community consists of Wakies (callers) and Sleepyheads. If you want a wake-up call, you simply set an alarm time through the app and when the time arrives, you’ll be connected to a Wakie of a similar age and the opposite gender. Calls last for one minute and if a Wakie is not available an automated call kicks in. The app has a huge success in Russia with 30 million wake up calls placed from 1.5 million users. For now, Wakie is avaliable in the US, Canada, UK, Singapore, Russia and Hong Kong. To some the concept may seem slightly creepy, but we are eagerly waiting its arrival in France!

#4 Shazaming objects

 Shazam

The song recognition giant, Shazam, is planning to expand beyond music and into the visual world. Speaking at this year’s Mobile World Congress, chief executive Rich Riley said the app will soon let users identify products and learn more about them simply by pointing their smartphone camera at them. You could, for instance, scan a cereal box in the grocery store to get more nutritional information. A smart development for the app that has remained among the top downloads for years.

#5 An elegant take-off

The safety procedures at the beginning of flights are not traditionally a glamorous affair. However, Air France is changing this with its new chic video demonstrating how fastening your seatbelts will “elegantly highlight your waistline” and that a “no smoking flight is simply chic”. The clip conveys Air France in a modern and decidedly French elegant spirit.

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onechocolate loves… the view from France

Our colleagues in onechocolate’s French office selected this week’s round-up of inspiring PR and digital marketing campaigns, smart new tech and cool events…

#1 IKEA brings wireless home

IKEA wireless

Wireless charging is a modern technology that, despite its convenience, hasn’t been widely adopted. You can find it in a handful of Android devices, but that’s only one side of the equation – until now. This week at MWC, IKEA announced it is ready to take us into the future with a new range of furniture equipped with wireless charging. Starting this April, you’ll be able to find floor lamps, table lamps, bedside tables, and desks with Qi wireless charging stations built-in. Prices start at £30 and the range will be launched first in the US and Europe, before a wider global rollout later in the year. We’re sure one day we will wonder how we charged electrical with cables for such a long time…

#2 Jog on couch potatoes

In 2014, the average French person spent 4.5 hours-per-day on their couch, which is far too much time for Vittel, the French bottled water brand. To combat this, Vittel is offering a revolutionary service that transforms your couch into tailor-made sneakers! The new campaign sees Vittel re-enforcing its market position as a leader in healthy living whilst offering a cool, valuable product to its customers.

#3 The Milka Biscuit Saga Challenge

With such a saturated market, one of the key challenges for a brand releasing an app is driving its audience to actually download it. The leading European chocolate brand, Milka, has come up with a clever way to maximise downloads of its new game, Milka Biscuit Saga. The app allows several people to compete at once when their smartphones are near each other. There are nine games for users to unlock and accessibility depends on the number of people playing. Thus, to be able to play all nine games, users must get their friends and family to also download the game. Milka’s strategy is clearly working because the app is ranking first on iOS and Android since its launch at the end of February with one million downloads in France alone and 16.5 million games played!

#4 Fun with words

Strategies, the famous French magazine devoted to media and communications, has created a funny video on life at home for a Dad who works in the advertising industry. He is seen talking to his children using the vocabulary he would usually use when talking to colleagues or clients; words such as ‘brainstorming’ and ‘wahoo effect’. At the end of the clip, the children have already adopted some of the vocabulary. A great comical clip that is sure to resonate with the readers of Strategies.

#5 Mermaids making a splash

Mermaid

Der Spiegel, the German newspaper, recently reported an original example of a career change. After experiencing a burnout, Sabine Schönborn – a former nurse – decided to become swimming teacher. But instead of teaching her pupils to do the crawl or swim breaststroke, she decided to teach them to move in the water in a mermaid tail costume! With only 1,500 Euros starting capital which she used to buy twenty costumes and fins, Sabine established her mermaid school nine months ago. She now trains more than 200 girls every week, helping them to live out their childhood dreams by slipping into the tail of Ariel or of Daryl Hannah from Splash. Although it may seem laughable, mermaid swimming is a real trend; other mermaid schools can be found in Stuttgart, Quebec, Florida and the Philippines.

 

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onechocolate loves… the view from France

Our colleagues in onechocolate’s French office selected this week’s round-up of inspiring PR and digital marketing campaigns, smart new tech and cool events…

#1 The professional network to shake the big ones?

social tree

Amplement is an early stage French social network which has already had great success, not only with investors, but also users. Indeed, Amplement has raised € 1 million and is positioned as a competitor to LinkedIn and Viadeo. It already has 400,000 active members and some 2,500 recruiters. What do users love? It is completely free – unlike many of LinkedIn’s features – and handy tools such as group chat. We’ll be keeping our eye on this social network and how it progresses; both in terms of funding and user acquisition.

#2 Want to upgrade? Then play with Air France

To mark the launch of its new business class cabins in Asia, Air France conducted a competition amongst passengers to win seats in its business class section for the flight they were about to board. The airline transformed the boarding gates into a gaming arena and passengers were invited to compete using a mobile game called Cloud Slicer that was invented for the competition. Scores were played out in real-time on giant boards in the gaming area to heat up the competition. We love this as a great way to raise awareness of the brand in a new market, whilst giving something back to customers.

#3 The success of Mikado… even without chocolate

Mikado

Mikado, the famous biscuit brand, created a great deal of panic this month as it announced a new biscuit without chocolate. Mikado revved up the product launch by releasing no less than 5 YouTube movies, as well as a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #MikadoStick. However, fans did not need to worry as Mikado is keeping its chocolate; the hype around removing it was simply a stunt in order to launch the real new product, Mikado King Choco. And it worked wonders, with 841,000 YouTube views, 4 071 tweets with the hashtag #MikadoStick and 11,547 mentions of “Mikado”. What a buzz!

#4 Word Lens – the app for world travellers

future

Google Translate is getting seriously cool. It has announced that it will integrate with Word Lens, a science fiction-like app which instantaneously translates written text. You only need to point the phone at signs, menus, recipes etc. (written in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish) to have the translation in English instantly appear on your phone. Even better, Word Lens will work without an Internet connection! The new features are coming to both the iOS and Android versions of Google Translate. Between Google’s update and Microsoft’s Skype translator, the barrier of language is disappearing, thanks to technology innovation. A dream for people who love to travel!

#5 Regifter

Now that the Christmas season is a distant memory, you may be wondering what to do with that itchy, comedy jumper and those Pat Butcher-esque earrings. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone; according to research, after Christmas 2013, a staggering £1.5 billion worth of presents were thrown away in the UK alone Based on this observation, the communication agency, Rehab Studio, decided to create an app, Regifter – available both on iOS and Android – which allows users to swap unwanted gifts with others. The app finds matches in your area and you can meet to swap in person, or arrange a delivery. If you can’t shift your gift, there is the ‘donate to charity’ option, which shows you the nearest charity shop for drop off. Handy!

#6 Hacker’s List

hacker

With 2014 being dubbed ‘the year of the hacking scandal’ it’s fair to say that data breaches and security scares are all over the media at the moment. However, we were still surprised to stumble upon a website called Hacker’s List, which offers to connect customers and “professional” hackers. The price of the services depends on the level of difficulty and varies from $100 to $5000. The website includes more than 500 posts from users seeking hackers. Among them, a man from Sweden who will pay as much as $2000 for access to his landlord’s website, and a woman willing to pay $500 to hack her boyfriend’s Gmail and Facebook accounts in order to find out if he is cheating on her.

This sort of hacking seems to be for very mundane compared to the huge cyber attack against Sony Pictures. However, it’s scary to see how vulnerable our online identities are, and what lengths ordinary people will go to find out information.

 

 

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onechocolate loves… the view from France

Our colleagues in onechocolate’s Paris office have selected this week’s round-up of inspiring PR and digital marketing campaigns, smart new apps and cool events…

#1 Go viral with Dubsmash

Chef ! Oui chef ! @adeleexarchopoulos

A video posted by Jeremie Laheurte (@jlaheurte) on

Following the worldwide success of the Ice Bucket Challenge, let us introduce you Dudsmash, the new viral phenomena. This new app, created by three German guys, allows you to record yourself dubbing a famous quote or song through a selfie video. Once the video is recorded, you can share it on your social media platforms for all your friends to enjoy too. The phenomenon began in Holland and Belgium and is currently taking France by storm. Even stars are getting in on the act! In the video above, actress Adèle Exarchopoulos and her boyfriend, Jérémie Laheurte, imitate a cult scene from Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket”. Just hilarious!

#2 The eyes of a child

To mark the the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in France, the Noemi Association has produced a video to fight prejudice against those with disabilities and aims to improve their day-to-day lives. This video confronts us with the two-fold reality of disability; seen through the eyes of children and through the eyes of their parents. We love this poignant clip that may well challenge the way you see others with disabilities.

#3 Six degrees of separation

The six friends theory – or six degrees of separation – claims that only six people separate one human being from another. Mercure, the international hotel network, has created an original competition campaign based on this theory. A winner from around the world will be selected and taken to meet an Aboriginal man from the Bundjalung tribe in Australia, but on the way, will stop off to meet six friends that are between him or her and the aboriginal man. At each stage, the candidate will be hosted by the Mercure hotel and the brand will reveal where to find his/her next friend. To take part in this unique experience, Internet users will be invited to post a video on Mercure’s Facebook page, describing their personalities, passions, motivations and projects, etc. A worldwide casting will start this month and the trip is scheduled for 30 days in March 2015.

#4 Sleepover in a fashion temple

sales

To launch the winter sales with a bang on January 7th, iconic department store Galeries Lafayette has teamed up with Airbnb  to launch a contest designed to get fashionistas in a froth. The purpose of the competition? To offer six people the chance to spend an unforgettable night within the temple of Parisian fashion and to enjoy the sales before anyone else. The guests will have unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to the January sales; they will receive a tour of the department store, a first look at sale items, receive help from a personal shopper, as well as receive a 200 euro gift voucher to shop the sale. To win, participants needed to send a short text explaining why they want to spend the night in the mall. We love this original idea to revitalise retail sales, which have been running out of steam in France lately.

#5 Wearable tech combats theft

With 2014 being dubbed the ‘year of the data breach’, we’re constantly being warned that hackers will be developing new and more sophisticated ways to steal personal information. One of these ways is ‘digital pickpocketing’, which uses RFID scanners that can steal data from over 30ft away. To combat this, Symantec’s Norton and Betabrand, a retail clothing company based in San Francisco, are producing jeans and blazers which will be able to block radio waves to shield a smartphone or credit card. This innovative, futuristic clothing will probably be a real asset for the future!

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