The BFG Spin on all things digital,

social, and creative - or otherwise blogworthy.

Updates & Speculation in the Location Based World

Posted by Sara Swiatlowski on March 09, 2011

SXSW is so close I can almost taste it. I won't be on the ground in Austin but I'll definitely be keeping up to date on what's happening in the world of location based apps. I seem to have become the resident geek for all things location around the BFG Content Department. I've even been accused of being a SCVNGR fanboy, a notion which I fully reject.

Some news & rumors have sprung up in the last few days so this blog post will set the stage for what is sure to be an exciting SXSW week.


Ahead of the official start of SXSW, last years darling, Foursquare has launched version 3.0 of their app for Android & iPhone users. You can read the full specs over at Mashable while I highlight my favorites here.

They have added a new tab, Explore, to the application. The goal of it is to tell you what's near you, and what's popular among you or your friends. In theory this should help you explore your surrounding in a new way, at least that's the hope of Foursquare's founders. You can narrow by category (food, coffee, nightlife, shops, A&E) or run a search if you are looking for something more specific.  I see this as becoming more of a home base for the app and a welcome change.

Next up, they have made changes that should make things easier for merchants using the service to offer rewards. With this comes the ability for any user to check out all rewards nearby. Another great usability change for the average user.

Last up it seems like they are finally working on the game layer of the application. The idea of the world as a game is something that they really set out to do in the first place, it has just gotten lost in their massive growth. Evidence of this in the wild; you'll now get bonus points for checking into a location if you are friends with the Mayor (thanks Amy for letting me steal this snap!):


There seems to be buzz that Gowalla is going to announce something that has to do with their rewards system soon. SXSW seems like the logical place to make this happen. I'll be interested to see how they handle rewards as I think it is a change that they need to make in order to survive in the ever evolving market segment. The idea that they may tap into something along the lines of Groupon or Living Social is interesting. I'd like to see bigger rewards offered on a tiered basis depending on the amount of people who check into a location.


They have a press conference scheduled for tomorrow so I'll definitely be watching out for their big news. I'm not exactly sure what to expect but I'd love for them to finally introduce a BlackBerry app. I also fantasize about augmented reality being incorporated into the app but I'm not sure if it makes sense to launch something like that now. The rumor mill also seems to be swirling that they will announce some sort of group rewards functionality. Perhaps a partnership with Groupon? We'll have to wait & see.

Obviously, a highlight for SCVNGR at SXSW will be the keynote on Saturday given by founder, Seth Priebatsch. As an alleged fanboy early adopter I can't wait to hear from him.


I haven't read much about activities for StickyBits or GoldRun at SXSW but I'm hoping that there will be something. If there are, I may not have it live from Austin, but I'll be sure to include an announcement recap here!

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How To Be Your SXSW Best

Posted by Hal Thomas on March 09, 2011

Tomorrow morning a special detachment of BFG'ers will be flying out to Austin, TX for the annual SXSW Festival. SXSW is pretty much like Mecca for geeks, freaks, tastemakers, thought leaders, and more than a few douchebags self-proclaimed social media experts, ninjas, and rock stars. Luckily, you've got us to help you find the signal through the noise.

We'll be blogging daily on all best sessions, panels, parties and t-shirts, so check the blog often to see what's happening. Also, you can follow us on Twitter (see below) for updates in real time and maybe even an inappropriate after hours tweet or two.

Personally, my goal is to be banned from the entire Internet by the end of the conference. Wish me luck!

Follow our SXSW adventures on Twitter:
BFG Communications, official account
Sloane Kelley, Interactive Strategy Director
Greg Tariff, Senior Graphic Designer
Hal Thomas, Content Manager

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Red Bull Augmented Racing

Posted by Alex Trevisan on March 09, 2011

Sometimes I feel like I could write a blog just about all the awesome things that Red Bull is doing around the world. The brand is one of my favorites and for good reason (little of which has to do with the drinks). Not only did Red Bull create an entire beverage category for energy drinks, but has rapidly extended their product line into various new markets without losing any brand equity. Not the easiest thing to do, especially when starting out as just a beverage.

One of the newest interactive experiences from Red Bull is their Augmented Racing App. This app for iPhone allows users to create a custom race track made of Red Bull cans and race their friends through this course in an augmented reality display.

Users purchase and line up several Red Bull cans on the ground in the form of a track design of their choice. Using the app's camera, you then scan the front of the can to unlock the track building feature within the app. As you scan the rest of the cans on the ground, the app will create a track that mimics the formation you have set.

Once you have your track, you can record your best racing time in the video game. Sharing your track with friends allows them the ability to try and beat your time, while a ghostlike image of your car races along side of them replicating your winning race.

This video with Red Bull sponsored NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne visually explains how the app works:

You can download the app for free from the iTunes store. I love this idea from Red Bull as it fits in well with the brand, gives users something fun to play with, and ultimately encourages people to by loads of Red Bull. I'm already eagerly anticipating the next digital offering from the brand.

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Geekend 2011: Bigger, Better, Geekier

Posted by Alex Trevisan on March 09, 2011

This year will be the third anniversary of Geekend, BFG's brainchild and interactive conference experience phenomenon. After two highly successful Geekends in 2009 and 2010, BFG is back at it again, this time with a slightly geekier swagger.

Starting tomorrow, Geekend will be invading the streets of Austin to participate in SXSW. The geeky crew will be out and about promoting Geekend to the masses and giving away some pretty sweet gear (t-shirts, buttons, stickers...oh my!). If you too will be geeking out at SXSW, give us a shout so we can tweet up. BFG's own Sloane Kelley will be waving the metaphorical geek flag (or maybe an actual one, you never know), and she is always down for a social check-in on SCVNGR.

The BFG Interactive team has been hard at work over the past few days making updates to the Geekend website, which went live yesterday. As always they did a great job. Take a look and you will find updated treasures including:

Tickets on sale now! The early bird gets the worm, but what is earlier than the early bird? The Dirty Bird. The dirty bird gets several worms, and saves a bunch of cash. Purchase your tickets by April 15th for the drastically affordable price of $50. This rate won't last forever so don't delay. If you are really feeling geeky, you can also purchase our Big Bird pass, which gets you 2 Geekend passes, some extra swag, and donates a grant to Savannah Public School youth in your name.

Geekend is going to Boston! Aside from our Geekend event in Savannah, we will also be taking the show on the road this year to Boston (or Bahhston if you prefer). Geekend Roadshow will be coming to Boston this October 3-4 as part of DMA2011, an annual event hosted by the Direct Marketing Association that caters to the top marketers and companies from around the globe. We are super excited to partner with such a great group. Purchasing a ticket to DMA2011 will give you access to all of DMA's events as well as the Geekend Roadshow. Hope to see you in Boston.

Apply to speak at Geekend! Applications are now being accepted for speakers at both Geekend in Savannah and in Boston. Head on over to our site to submit your speaker form.

As you can see, we have a lot in store for Geekend this year, all of which couldn't be possible without the work of BFG (and of course New Moon Savannah and Thinking Cap, Inc.).  Be sure to follow Geekend on Twitter and 'Like' them on Facebook for timely updates.

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