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April 19, 2016No Comments

The Cognitive #StoryMakers Are Here

By Joanna Peña-Bickley & Alex Sinclair

The cognitive era has given way to a new generation of creators.  The Story Makers, they are the artist, creative technologists and experiences designers that are revisiting what it means to design for space and time through interactive experiences.

Saturday, at the TRIBECA Film Festival, I had the honor of giving a Talk on Storytelling In The Cognitive Era - Asking, How Would Orson Welles Tackle It?  Take a listen below.

Talk: Cognitive Storytelling In The 4th Dimension - How Would Orson Welles Tackle It?

Welles created national hysteria in 1938 with his radio broadcast of
War of the World's.

Using your imagination and technologies, such as: virtual and augmented reality, 4D theater experiences like haptics in seats, wind, rain, fog, thunder, delivered across all available mediums, from a device to an interactive theater, to the side of a building, create a trailer for an updated War of the Worlds that will prompt the same audience reaction.

MAKE Session:  Co-create War of The World's 4D Movie Trailer Experience

MAKE: Co-create War of The World's 4D Movie Trailer Experience 

Read about it in Forbes and our Think Blog

Special Thanks go out to our wonderful experience design team and my all girl  Team - you are truly the future of  



April 14, 2014No Comments

ON: Behind Dibs Film Fest Big Idea

While the idea
was simple - The Dibs Film Festival was not an easy production.

As many of you know I
gave birth to this idea at TracyLocke, then in between gigs (my move to
Wunderman) I spearheaded the digital, broadcast and out of home
creative along with writing styling of Snack's Jennifer Leuzzi

There were many production and technical partners involved.  Some of
those partners were great.. and others not so great.  MTV was a great
media partner. As expected they have delivered eyeballs, buzz and
clicks. Where they fell down was their digital technology production.

Dibs Film Festival Players
Brand Conversation Strategy, Experience Design + Writing = BlueFusion
Retail Strategy & Creative, Account and Project Management = TracyLocke
Flash Interface Development & Banner Advertising = ID Society
Site Technology + Hosting = MTVN's Digital Fusion Group - outsourced to Reality Digital
Widget Technology & Distribution = Gigya

Here is a soft copy of the Expereince Design document I commonly refer to as the temporal specification.

The you add in Flash Production partners ID Society and technology partner MTV's Digital Fusion Group who outsourced their work to Reality Digital in CA.  Widget distribution duty was Gigya - who as usual delivered a superb piece of technology called Wildfire.

All managed by talented account group at TracyLocke in Dallas - BlueFusion delivered cohesive digital creative that was guided by a temporal specification that was supposed to be implemented by the ID Society and MTV's Digital Fusion Group / Reality Digital.  In the end what became clear was that the choice of Reality Digital for anything more than a video mashup up tool
creator was a mistake. 

When the deal was done MTV Digital Fusion group
was supposed to be able to  be a backend partner for more than the
video mashup tool but for the entire site. (video editing and sharing,
Sweepstakes, Widgets)  In the end the site was launched.  But to date
many pieces of the sites functionality were not implemented.  Look at
the temporal spec and see which pieces were left out of the equation.

ON: Behind Dibs Film Fest Big Idea via @jpenabickley

December 3, 20111 Comment

Generation WE

Generation WE: The Movement Begins... from Generation We on Vimeo.

What can brands do to help solve these problems WITH Generation We?

Generation WE via @jpenabickley

November 2, 20111 Comment

Generation X Taking The Torch From Baby Boomers

We were the generation once labeled "slackers," detached and melancholic.  Now that most of us are flirting with forty, reality doesn't bite nearly as much it seemed when we were younger. According to the "The Generation X Report," from the University of Michigan's Longitudinal Study of American Youth, there are a number of myths can be corrected with the latest data.

Who are the Gen X-ers?

 We were born from 1964 to 1981. (Some argue that 1961 is the year that X starts - but most experts indicate that we start at about 1964 and 1965)

Shift The Damn Spotligtht Already!

As the cultural spotlight gradually shifts away from retiring Baby Boomers, the analysis bolsters findings in a recent marketing study from JWT Intellegence, "Gen X: Flirting With 40,"(embeded below) which stated that Gen X has matured into a group of "technologically savvy, adventurous pragmatists."   Recent media coverage of rants and reflections from Gen Xers in Gizmodo and The Atlantic has also generated intense discussion, fueling debate over whether a passing of the torch from Boomers is under way. This debate is making the case for marketers to shift their budgets from traditional methods of marketing.

Let's Dispell Some Gen X Myths

Myth #1: Gen Xers are slackers.

Reality: Generation X devotes more hours to work than average and pursues continuing education.

  • Compared to a national sample of all U.S. adults, Gen Xers are more likely to be employed and are working significantly more hours above average, according to the study. In Generation X, 86% is employed and 70% devote 40 or more hours to work each week. For those holding a doctorate or professional degree, that number shoots up to 50 or more hours. Also, 79% Gen X women work.
  • Kids from "The Breakfast Club" era weren't so strung out on emotional issues that they passed up learning: Half of Gen Xers have completed a post-secondary degree and 9% are enrolled in continuing education.


Myth #2: Generation X is hopelessly single and pessimistic about marriage.

Reality: A higher percentage of Gen Xers stay married than Boomers, and most want to be married.

  • Having spent their formative years in the era of growing divorce rates (divorce peaked in 1980) might lead to speculation that Gen X would run away from marriage en masse. In reality, two-thirds of Generation X is married and 71% report having children in the home. Additionally, divorce has been declining since 1996, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • 83% of Gen Xers said finding the right person to marry and having a happy family life is very important.


Myth #3: Generation Xers are disengaged, existential isolationists.

Reality: Gen X is social.

  • There's a reason Gen X is called the "Friends" generation. The report states that Gen X has extensive social, occupational and community networks outside of the immediate family. Two-thirds of respondents entertain friends for dinner or participate in group cooking at least once a month.
  • One in 3 Gen Xers is an active member of a church or religious organization, and 29% volunteer in their community.
  •  95% of Gen Xers report talking with friends or family on the telephone at least once a week, and 29% say they do so at least once a day.

Myth #4: As former latch-key kids, Gen Xers are wimpy, neglectful parents.

Reality: About 84% of Gen X parents expect their children to earn at least a baccalaureate, and 39% expect their child to earn a graduate or professional degree.

  • 72% of parents of preschool children read to them three or more hours a week, and 83% of parents of secondary school students help with homework.

Myth #5: Generation X is depressed.

Reality: Generation X is actually pretty happy.

  • Two-thirds of Generation X are satisfied with their job; 24% of these workers rated their job at 9 or 10 on the satisfaction scale.
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 meaning very happy, the median happiness score was 8, with 29% of Gen Xers saying they were very happy scoring a 9 or 10.


As we, the 45 million strong, have been sandwhiched in between the Boomers and Millennials, we are the generation that can move from the shot gun position into the driver seat of the economy. (Shhhh... I think we may be the Job creators the politicians are taking about.)  We have a much more balanced approach and we are pragmatic as hell.  

Given that we are technologically savvy, adventurous pragmatists, How will marketers motivate us to consider using their products and services?  Since we are NOT keeping up with Jones like the Boomers, what stories will you tell us to motivate new behaviors?


This report from JWT may give you a glimpse into the opportunities that you may have with Gex Xers:


Generation X Taking The Torch From Baby Boomers via @jpenabickley

July 8, 20111 Comment

on: the truth about youth

this is a great report on today's youth. It is a view of the first truly global generation, fuelled and empowered by technology and motivated by the same three fundamental needs: Commune (the need for connection, relationships, and community), Justice (the need for social or personal justice, to do what’s right, to be an activist), and Authenticity (the need to see things as they are). These motivations drive behaviours that transcend borders.


[via McCann Worldgroup’s global survey of 16-30 year-olds]

on: the truth about youth via @jpenabickley

March 30, 2011No Comments

on: the future of retail

This week's presentation was a ton of fun to research. Who doesn't like to shop...non-stop? The Future of Retail: A Post Digital Approach to Shopper Marketing was an exercise in innovation and imaging the future of shopping.

While we are well into a the third decade of eCommerce and a new thriving generation of mCommerce technology has emerged, a number of ideas have surfaced as a beta of a new economy of commerce and consumerism. It begins by realizing that the aging of the Baby Boom generation is giving way to the coming of age of Generation Y, which has caused seismic shifts in consumer demand and shopping habits. Retail stores that have adapted [i.e. Best Buy, Sephora, Levi's ] to the new consumer demographics have begun to thrive in spite of the great recession.

Beyond a perpetually evolving, decentralized shopping experience, retailers must begin to contemplate the impact of digital and social medias on the path to purchase. In this presentation I pose a simple challenge to the audience; If the the entire world can be a store; how would your customers make instant purchases regardless of time and place?

on: the future of retail via @jpenabickley

January 6, 20111 Comment

on: the buying brain

Pradeep-book-imageDuring the holiday season I did some facinating reading.  On my list was The Buying Brain.  It was fanstatically facinating and informative.  If you are a marketer of any type this is a must read!

The Buying Brain offers an in-depth exploration of how cutting-edge neuroscience is having an impact on how we make, buy, sell, and enjoy everything, and also probes deeper questions on how this new knowledge can enhance customers' lives. "The Buying Brain" gives you the key to- Brain-friendly product concepts, design, prototypes, and formulation- Highly effective packaging, pricing, advertising, and in-store marketing- Building stronger brands that attract deeper consumer loyalty

Dr. A.K. Pradeep discusses the marketing implications of the fundamental differences among the brains of different groups of people. The book looks to understand the human brain in biological terms. He used EEG brain wave studies, eye tracking, and other techniques to look at some of the fundamental differences among the brains of different groups of people and the marketing implications of those differences.

In conducting his research, not only did Pradeep find significant differences between the brains of men and women, but he also found that the brains of mothers are significantly different than those of other women.

This is a highly readable guide to some of today's most amazing scientific findings, "The Buying Brain" is your guide to the ultimate business frontier - the human brain.

on: the buying brain via @jpenabickley

October 31, 2010No Comments

on: jay-z: decoded

Screen shot 2010-10-31 at 11.13.22 PM

Jay-Z has partnered with Bing! to create an interactive treasure hunt . When you discover places in the book, online and off, you can “decode” them.

Check out the Decoded site - http://bing.decodejay-z.com/?fbid=bx5X8b8DMcd&wom=false

on: jay-z: decoded via @jpenabickley

August 31, 2010No Comments

on: the ultimate start-up space

Martell VSOP launched a smart promotion. (love the idea - love the art in this video)

Martell invites entrepreneurs to come up with new business ideas that can revitalize parts of Singapore. Have an idea?  Many answered the call.  Check out case study here: http://adsoftheworld.com/media/ambient/martell_vsop_ultimate_startup_space 

on: the ultimate start-up space via @jpenabickley

August 31, 2010No Comments

on: the ultimate start-up space

Martell VSOP launched a smart promotion. (love the idea - love the art in this video)

Martell invites entrepreneurs to come up with new business ideas that can revitalize parts of Singapore. Have an idea?  Many answered the call.  Check out case study here: http://adsoftheworld.com/media/ambient/martell_vsop_ultimate_startup_space 

on: the ultimate start-up space via @jpenabickley



Joanna routinely to speaks and keynotes at conferences, corporations, non-profits, educational and professional organizations. Her subject matter expertise is customized to meet the needs of each audience. 

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