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Is Kik Replacing Snapchat?

Social media comes in many different shapes and sizes. From Facebook to Snapchat to Pinterest to Kik, there are a variety of ways for us to stay in touch with our friends and favorite celebrities every day. Facebook, Snapchat, and Pinterest are widely known by many, but what is Kik?

I’m sure many of us have heard the phrase, “You got a kik?” but what is it really. Kik Messenger is an instant messaging mobile app available for Android, iPhones and Windows Phone operating systems. Through Wi-Fi, you can send and receive messages, videos, sketches and other content with any of your friends that have the app and register a username. Sounds a little bit like Snapchat with similar capabilities and a focus on anonymity. Kik made its debut in 2010, but why did it get lost in the shadow of Snapchat?

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Ad Week recently published an article about Dunkin’ Donuts’ interesting marketing move involving Kik. On National Donut Day this year, Dunkin’ Donuts will create and sponsor the first branded face filter on Kik. This face filter will be in addition to the filter they will be creating for Snapchat. While Snapchat face filters have become increasingly popular in recent years, this is the first time a major corporation will be paying for a filter on Kik.

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Dunkin’ Donuts could be onto something here. Kik is making its first major comeback in the always evolving world of social media. Will other major corporations follow in Dunkin’ Donuts’ footsteps and create and sponsor face filters for Kik? Or is this going to prove to be a complete waste of money for the coffee and donut company America runs on?

Make sure to grab a donut for National Donut Day!

For more reading, visit Ad Week.

 

Amazon Launches “Handmade At Amazon”

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With handmade items trending in today’s society, it seems like everyone has had their fair share of DIY disasters. Sites like Pinterest have a variety of jewelry, style and decorating ideas that can be hard to resist, but when projects turn out looking nothing like the original, it’s probably best to leave it to the pros. For the past 10 years, Etsy has been the go-to site for these unique items, where creatives can open their own shop to take orders and sell products. Last week, online shopping mogul Amazon launched a new element to their online platform, Handmade At Amazon, which is in direct competition with Etsy.

In a recent SF Gate article, the challenges that will face Etsy because of Handmade At Amazon are contemplated.

Handmade At Amazon currently consists of 80,000 products from 5,000 artisans. In order to sell on the site, artisans, which are determined by having 20 or fewer people working for the shop, have to fill out a questionnaire and be approved by Amazon. Etsy currently has 22 million active users and 1.5 million active sellers and allows for specific products to be made with the help of approved manufacturers.

Amazon also announced that users who have Amazon Prime can utilize the free shipping on the site’s new element as well. This gives Amazon an edge over Etsy. When an Etsy shop owner sells one of their products, they either need to then charge their customer for shipping or pay for it out of their own pocket.

Though Amazon does not allow for outsourced manufacturing for Handmade At Amazon products, Etsy feels that this allows for their marketplace to grow. Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson says that they only allow these manufacturers to be those who align with their values. The site has grown so much, that in order for more growth at Etsy to happen, these outside sources may be necessary to continue at their current rapid rate of growth.

So how can Etsy hold its own against an e-commerce giant? If Etsy sticks to their values and continues to sell unique, well-made products, the company can keep their customer’s allegiance. Individuals who shop on the site value the customer service experience and relationship between buyers and sellers.

Competition is always a great way to see how a company can do under pressure. Since its launch 10 years ago, Etsy has been the leader when it comes to purchasing and selling handmade goods online. It will be interesting to see how and if they change their marketing tactics or business strategy to compete with Handmade At Amazon.

For more on Etsy or Handmade At Amazon, visit their sites, or read this article from SF Gate here: http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Amazon-challenges-Etsy-with-Amazon-Handmade-6557787.php

Change the Way You Don’t Answer Phone Calls with CallSnap!

Chicago-based TIP Solutions has partnered with tech investor and former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal to spread the word about the new ways it lets customers respond to phone calls.

TIP Solutions’ first product is free Android app CallSnap, which allows users to decline calls by sending a picture, clip-art image or recorded voice message in return.

Company president Michael Unetich expects the photo-sharing and communications combo will resonate with teens and 20-somethings. A user who’s at a concert, for example, could skip the incoming call while sending back a picture of that scene.

Since the app launched in mid-2013, the company said, it has been downloaded 80,000 times worldwide, a figure Unetich hopes will balloon with the help of O’Neal, who also has a stake in the company. He’ll promote it online and at tech conferences.

“I’ve always tried to be ahead of the curve in technology and am drawn to companies that are unique and innovative,” O’Neal wrote in a statement emailed to Blue Sky Innovation.

Next up is the Smart Calls Platform, a firmware-based call management technology that is built into phones at the time of manufacturing. Its two features are HOLD-ON!, which allows users to “politely delay the pickup of incoming calls,” and GOT-CALL, which connects and plays a recorded message that acknowledges the call and explains the user will respond later. Unetich said these tools help stave off “hammer callers,” or those who hit redial until someone finally picks up.

India’s Spice Mobility is testing the sale of 50,000 Smart Calls-enabled phones to assess demand. Unetich said Indian consumers like the voice-response option, which allows users to communicate in any language. Though the service is now free, customers will likely pay a monthly fee of about 75 cents to use the service in the future.

TIP Solutions’ third product, Call Check, alerts users to calls missed while off the network — while on a plane, for example, or while their phone is turned off. Unetich said business travelers, particularly those in sales, have a desire to capture every call, regardless of whether the caller left a voicemail. Unetich plans to roll out Call Check with a $1.99 monthly fee on Android by the end of March, with an iPhone version coming by mid-year.

Though visual voicemail and responding with a text are already popular, Jan Dawson, chief analyst at consumer-technology firm Jackdaw Research, sees a general shift away from voice-based communication that may create space for more tools like these.

“This kind of space has always existed,” Dawson said. “People have always tried to innovate, but nobody’s really made a business out of it on a sustainable basis.” That’s because the big guys often put out their own versions of popular features.

Unetich isn’t able to get CallSnap into iPhones since Apple limits developers from manipulating the incoming call screen. For now the app will be limited to Android.

The same goes for Smart Calls technology, so Unetich wants to license the firmware to Chinese carriers who can bake the technology into their devices.

Unetich said getting picked up by one of the top-tier manufacturers such as Samsung, LG or HTC is one of his main goals for 2014. Maybe then he can put a dent in the global call-management market.

The Launch of Farmer’s Fridge

This week Paramount Public Relations, Inc. helped with the launch of Farmer’s Fridge, a new kind of vending kiosk to hit the Chicago market and my, how the Windy City adores fresh salads at the push of a button!

The idea is simple yet innovative—the vending machine concept, yet instead of being filled with processed junk food, Farmer’s Fresh fills their cutting edge kiosks with fresh, restaurant quality salads that are stocked every day by 10 a.m. The outcome? More salads please!

Read more about Farmer’s Fridge:

Daily Candy: http://www.dailycandy.com/chicago/article/160179/Farmers-Fridge-Vending-Machine?et_cid=68096&et_rid=255773

Chicago Grid: http://www.chicagogrid.com/news/farmers-fridge-salad-vending-machine/

Crain’s Chicago Business: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20131105/BLOGS09/131109943/lunch-in-a-jar-now-vending-in-the-loop#

Progressive Grocer: http://www.progressivegrocer.com/top-stories/headlines/competitive-watch/id40355/from-farm-to-vending-machine/

FROM JUNK FOOD to HEALTH FOOD: LOCAL ENTREPRENEUR REINVENTS THE VENDING INDUSTRY IN CHICAGO

Farmer’s Fridge Offers a Healthy Food Option for People On-the-Go with Automated Kiosks Stocked Fresh Daily by 10 a.m.

(Chicago, IL) –Farmer’s Fridge is breaking the mold on fast food by offering healthy and delicious meals that are made daily and sold in innovative refrigerated kiosks.  The company’s first kiosk opened today at Garvey Food Court, 201 N. Clark St., Chicago.  Additional locations are scheduled to roll out in the Chicagoland area this Fall.

Recognizing that a growing number of people want nutritious, healthy and delicious food on-the-go, entrepreneur Luke Saunders launched Farmer’s Fridge in Chicago in October 2013.  Farmer’s Fridge gives people who are looking for healthy foods a new option: gourmet salads and snacks with the push of a button – via a Farmer’s Fridge automated kiosk.

Everything is made fresh each morning and delivered by 10 a.m. to an automated kiosk.  Farmer’s Fridge offers foods that provide a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  Packaged in recyclable plastic jars, customers can choose from several delicious salad options, as well as breakfast and snack items, each designed to offer various benefits of a healthy diet.  The company follows Environmental Working Group guidelines for using organic ingredients, and buys from local farms when possible, to create nutritious meals that are delicious and satisfying.

Wrapped in beautiful reclaimed barn wood, Farmer’s Fridge kiosks aren’t just any old vending machine.  Farmer’s Fridge automated kiosks combine best-in-class vending technology with a touch-screen design to create an innovative way to grab a healthy meal in mere seconds.  Each machine contains an on-site recycling bin for empty plastic salad containers.  The company also provides catering to businesses in the Chicago Loop area.  Salads start at $7.99 with a weekly special “Jar Du Jour” for $6.99. All salads can be paired with proteins for $2 and salmon for $4. Snacks are $3.

Farmer’s Fridge selections are composed of high-quality, nutrient-dense ingredients selected to provide the whole grains, fruits, vegetables, quality proteins and healthy fats needed for lasting fullness.  Each selection is delicious and ensures maximum nutrient-density so that you are energized and feel great.  And unlike some fast foods that are designed to keep you hungry so you will eat more, Farmer’s Fridge selections are filling as well as delicious.

“Finding fresh, healthy food shouldn’t be hard.  Sure, you can find healthy offerings at a sit-down restaurant or a grocery store, but people don’t always have that kind of time.  I want to make it fast and easy for someone to choose a delicious, nutritious smart meal when they are on-the-go,” said Farmer’s Fridge Founder Luke Saunders. “What we’re doing is taking the vending machine concept and revolutionizing it.  You can now find a truly healthy, satisfying meal at Farmer’s Fridge.”

The time is right for this concept: according to a recent Gallup poll, most people understand that they should be making healthier choices.  Seventy-six percent of the 2,027 adults surveyed in July of this year said fast food is “not too good” or “not good at all for you.”

Farmer’s Fridge has also partnered with SPE Certified (www.SPEcertified.com) to expand its healthy meal options with scientifically-grounded, third-party validation of their merits. SPE stands for Sanitas Per Escam, or Health Through Food in Latin. It’s a unique certification company that is defining a new way to eat by enhancing the nutritional quality of meals, without compromising taste. SPE Certified’s holistic approach focuses not just on health but on the Sourcing, Preparing and Enhancing of food. Its team of experts includes chefs, nutritionists and registered dieticians who collectively take an innovative and scientific approach to certifying dishes – essentially, giving them their seal of approval – based on a specific set of criteria. So when customers see the distinctive SPE logo (dubbed a “squiggly, red insignia” by The New York Times), they will know those meal options have been properly sourced, are nutritionally balanced and delicious. According to Natalia Hancock, R.D., Senior Culinary Nutritionist at SPE Certified, “This is neither about diet food nor counting calories. It’s about enhancing the natural quality of foods and ensuring they taste great.”

Highlights of the menu include:

Salads

  • Antioxidant Salad – Mixed greens, almonds, mixed berries, carrots, flaxseed, goat cheese and sprouts. Served with white balsamic vinaigrette.
  • High Protein Salad – Spinach, corn, peas, pumpkin seeds, figs, broccoli, chickpeas, shredded Parmesan, quinoa. Served with lemon tahini dressing.
  • Detox Salad –Kale, fennel, pineapple, sprouts, blueberry, quinoa, white beans. Served with lemon-cider dressing.
  • Cheater Salad – Romaine, hard boiled egg, white cheddar, sunflower seeds, roasted corn, carrot, cucumber, tomato and turkey bacon. Served with honey mustard dressing.
  • Sushi Salad –Mixed greens, Napa cabbage, avocado, mango, brown rice, seaweed, carrots, cucumber and edamame. Served with Japanese ginger dressing.
  • Mediterranean Salad – Mixed greens, artichokes, white cannellini beans, cucumber, tomato, black olives, grated Parmesan, pine nuts and oregano. Served with red wine vinaigrette.
  • Salad Verde – Mixed greens, kiwi, apple slices, pistachios, celery, goat cheese. Served with white balsamic dressing.
  • Pineapple Sun Salad – Mixed greens, brown rice, sunflower seeds, carrots, cucumbers, golden raisins and goat cheese. Served with pineapple dressing.
  • North Napa Salad –Napa cabbage, mixed greens, red grapes, avocado, unsalted pistachio nuts and dried tart cherries. Served with balsamic vinaigrette.

Proteins

  • Lemon Pepper Chicken – Chicken breast baked in lemon juice and olive oil with salt and pepper seasoning.
  • Tuna Salad – Lemon-dill tuna salad with minced celery.
  • Baked Tofu – Lemon balsamic marinade.
  • Poached Salmon – Lemon, cucumber and dill.

Snacks & Sides

  • Greek Yogurt Parfait – Greek yogurt, strawberries, blueberries and local honey.
  • Sliced Vegetables and Hummus – Carrots, celery, and cucumbers with hummus.
  • Sliced Apple – Mixed apple slices, honey and almond butter.
  • Farmer’s Salad – Cottage cheese, radish, cucumber, sweet pepper, snap peas, tomatoes, chopped dill.
  • Cauliflower Fried Rice- Cauliflower, local peas, carrot, garlic and egg whites.

ABOUT FARMER’S FRIDGE

Farmer’s Fridge, a new healthy vending machine concept, delivers delicious gourmet salads and snacks to customers via automated kiosks around the Chicagoland area.  The idea to provide nutritious meals came from Founder Luke Saunders’ realization that health-conscious people were struggling to find nutritious meals and snacks that were easily accessible.  Building on that belief, Saunders drew on his background in manufacturing to create an automated kiosk that could dispense healthy food options.  Farmer’s Fridge offers people healthy, nutritious foods that are delicious and satisfying in a state-of-the art, innovative automated kiosk.  The salads and snacks are made from fresh ingredients available from local produce vendors.  Farmer’s Fridge salads and snacks are handcrafted each morning in a local Chicago kitchen and are stocked daily by 10 a.m.  The company also provides catering to businesses in downtown Chicago. For more information, please visit www.farmersfridge.com.

 

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