The hoodie you see here is called Ping. It’s a stylish, functional garment that allows you to wirelessly connect with Facebook by performing natural movements such as lifting up the hood or lowering the zipper. Pull the hood up and the system posts your location to your Facebook. Your friend Susan leaves a comment saying she’ll meet you for coffee – a sensor in the hoodie taps you on the shoulder to let you know there’s a timely message.
Electric Foxy (how much do you love that name?) is also working on a fashionable hoodie / music player. I’m not talking ‘tuck your iPod into the pocket.’ I’m talking about a player that raises the volume when you raise the zipper and changes tracks when you wave your hand in the air. (I guess you’re out of luck if there’s a sudden wind or you need to hail a taxi.)
They also have garments that measure fitness data, flexibility, your ability to perform a complex dance – they probably have one that creates art while you dance! It’s incredible. It’s also not that far off.
Look at where we are now with the computerized dashboards in cars. You can answer emails and make hands free phone calls while you’re stuck in traffic. And with Google Goggles, you’ll have access to the entire Internet, literally in the blink of an eye.
So what does this mean for marketers? A long, rough road. Look, we’re having a hard enough time getting a handle on social media marketing. Mobile marketing has its own set of problems. What happens when we lose the screen entirely? I foresee a return to audio (radio) advertising. The Ping girl puts her hood up and hears an ad for Starbucks complete with directions to the nearest location. Tap, tap, tap.
Advertising will have to become more relevant. That’s great news for local advertisers who can snag tech users on the go, but can the same technology be used to convert online buyers? Think about the guy in the music hoodie. Suppose, after a song plays, he can snap a button in his collar to buy other songs from the same artist. The song automatically downloads into his cloud and half a block later, he’s jogging to the new tune.
The problem is not with monetizing wearable technology – the problem is how to get over our dedication to the same old techniques. Banner ads are not going to work on Google Goggles. A long email sales pitch isn’t going to convert if the buyer is listening to his email while he rides his bike. It’s time to get creative. It’s time to start matching what we’re pitching to what people are doing with special attention to how they do it.
Technology is moving faster than ever and it feels like marketers are getting left in the metallic dust.
Do you think there’s a place for marketing in wearable technology or is that one boundary we’re never going to cross?