5 in 5: gamers, audio games, running tracks, robots, surge pricing

Each week, Padilla’s Insights + Strategy team stands at the intersection of people, culture and brands to bring you five stories that you can read in five minutes.

1. Personalized pricing, but with choices.

Uber is currently testing a new feature in San Francisco and Los Angeles where it will alert consumers if their fare would be cheaper if they waited and give them the option to book their ride at that time. Previously criticized for its opaque surge pricing scheme, this experiment seeks to empower consumers with more information while also allowing the company to adjust pricing based on basic supply and demand. Why should you care? This is a new direction for personalized pricing by using the data that Uber previously only used to calculate prices in a bubble to instead give their customers more options. For consumers to accept more personalized pricing schemes, they have to trust the companies won’t only use their data to exploit them, but rather be a better business partner in brokering a transaction. [Quartz]

2. A generation of gamers.

According to a recent study by Pew, the majority of American teens play video games and boys are only slightly more likely to play video games (97%) than girls (83%). Why should you care? Advertising exclusively to boys on video games, whether apps or through consoles will feel tone deaf for a generation that approaches gender parity in gaming and increasingly disregards gender norms. Also, if you haven’t considered gamifying your outreach for this group, think again. [Pew]

3. Don’t kick the robot.

Starship, a startup specializing in food delivery robots, has reported that while most people have interacted either positively or indifferently towards their robots, robots have also been kicked on their routes. Why should you care? Automation, AI and every other buzzword tech term that you could throw out there has the potential to provide great benefits to us. But humans don’t do well with change, especially change they find threatening. Anyone thinking about introducing new tech need to not only consider the benefits, but how their brand can facilitate the adaptation and transformation required for not just adoption, but acceptance. [Insider]

4. Get your head in the game.

Asics has created a “Blackout Track” without lights or distractions for athletes to train their mind as part of perfecting their craft. Why should you care? This is a great example of a brand thinking beyond the immediate or obvious needs of their consumers. Athletic excellence has always been more about physical prowess or the right equipment. With initiatives like this, Asics shows how they see the athlete as a whole rather than just a potential shoe buyer. [JWT Intelligence]

5. Video turns to the radio star.

HBO has created a hybrid “choose your own adventure”/quiz game for fans of the series Westworld that can be played through Alexa. Why should you care? This is an excellent example of using the novelty of Alexa to effectively engage fans in a new way. Who doesn’t want to step into the world of their favorite show and explore? This takes gamifying advertising to a whole new level and makes it extremely accessible to fans of all gaming abilities. [The Verge]

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