Digital gets physical

The digital world can sometimes feel like another universe altogether but what I find most interesting about digital is when and how it crosses over into the physical world and the way it has an impact on our day-to-day, offline lives.

This weekend I attended the digital conference Silicon Beach in Bournemouth and amongst the line up of interesting and inspiring speakers was Andy Bell from Mint Digital. Andy talked about how they have found merging digital and physical to be a real winner in the ‘real world’

It’s the guys of Mint who’re behind Olly and Polly, the robots that emit smells or sweets whenever you receive a twitter mention or retweet; Stickygram, printing your Instagram snaps on magnets and Foldable.me, creating your cardboard buddy. These projects, along with others, have gained a lot of attention and made a good amount of money too, illustrated alone by the fact that Foldable.me gained 1000% of its Kickstarter funding goal in just a couple of days!

These projects were about giving customers things they really love… which are therefore things that they really want to tweet about! As Andy rightly said in his talk, this digital/physical crossover opens a new avenue for creativity in marketing.

Following in Olly & Polly’s footsteps this week is the introduction of the Like-A-Hug vest – a bodywarmer that inflates every time a Facebook friend gives your status updates or photo a thumbs up, in order to feel like you’re getting a congratulatory hug…

A step too far? Maybe. But who doesn’t like a hug?