Posted March 28, 2014 5:53 pm by with 1 comment

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Oculus RiftWelcome to the end of the work week (for some). I thought I’d wrap up my part with a look a few stories that totally confused me this week. For example. ..

Facebook acquires Oculus VR

Oculus is an amazing company. They created The Rift, an awkward looking but very cool piece of technology that lets you move around inside a virtual world by simply moving your head. It’s the next generation of gaming technology but what does that have to do with Facebook?

I’m not the only person mystified by this match-up. Here’s a quote from the Oculus blog:

At first glance, it might not seem obvious why Oculus is partnering with Facebook, a company focused on connecting people, investing in internet access for the world and pushing an open computing platform. But when you consider it more carefully, we’re culturally aligned with a focus on innovating and hiring the best and brightest; we believe communication drives new platforms; we want to contribute to a more open, connected world; and we both see virtual reality as the next step.

Companies have a right to diversify, but this sounds about the same as Amazon created flying, package delivery drones. It’s a cool idea but is it practical? Will people slip on their virtual headset to play around of Candy Crush? Or take a walk through a virtual gallery of their friend’s wedding photos. Hmm. . . I’m starting to see the light. . .

What do you think? Good move, bad move or huh move?

Foursquare asks $100k for tap and tweet

AdWeek is talking about a new type of ad unit Foursquare is testing with some of their biggest clients. Since many Foursquare users already share their check-ins automatically through Twitter, the app maker thinks it will be an easy leap to get them to Tweet other messages, too.

Tap to Tweet looks like this:

foursquare-tap-to-tweet-01-2014After a diner checks in at a location, they get an ad with a configured Twitter message. All they have to do is tap and the advertisement goes out to the world.

By why would they? In this case, MasterCard is offering the Tweeter a chance to win a prize – or are they? Kind of hard to tell with no link to rules or a deadline or specifics on the “surprise.”

And for this, Foursquare reportedly wants a $100K?

Where’s the incentive? Will Foursquare users get bonus goodies or points for sending out Tweets? I’m sure there are a few folks who will dutifully tap just because they’ve been conditioned to do so or because they genuinely like the product.

But remember, they’re not Tweeting to promote the check-in location, they’ve already done that. This is an extra step for an unrelated advertiser.

If it were me, I’d use that valuable real estate to send people directly to an online site where they can amuse themselves while they wait for their friends to show up or a mobile app download page.

What do you think? Would you tap to tweet that MasterCard ad for a chance at some vague, potential prize? Or would you be more likely to click on a video or game link while you wait?

What marketing news story has you scratching your head this week? Let us know in the comments below.

  • I could see buying a seemingly irrelevant company because it holds some important patents (even if not immediately apparent from its product line) or even more if it employed some brilliant individuals with the acquisition being something of an extremely generous signing bonus. I can also see why a company would acquire a seemingly irrelevant firm that is a technology leader in an unrelated field that it sees as the way of the future — particularly if they believe that their existing products are not likely to be a significant part of that future. I can see how a company, misreading the future and limitations of a given technology, might invest heavily in the modern equivalent of a “spruce goose”. Finally, I can see why a billionaire might look upon an expensive, shiny new toy and choose to buy it, whether out of novelty, envy, curiosity, or “because it’s there” — even more so when he can buy it with somebody else’s money.

    I don’t personally think Facebook’s explanation is compelling.