Monthly Archives: May 2011

Google Debuts NFC-powered, tap-to-pay “Google Wallet” system

Backed by MasterCard and Citibank, Google Wallet will debut in San Francisco and New York this summer, leveraging the Samsung Nexus S 4G as the primary handset running on the Sprint network. Google will finance the new Wallet system by offering retailers the ability to target coupons and loyalty programs to their customers.

Looking forward, Google Wallet may not turn out to be a long-term powerhouse but merely apply pressure to banking, retailers and phone manufacturers to develop competitive NFC-based, “tap-to-pay” technologies. Either way security concerns will explode, but market adoption will be the true test.

Check out these links for some more detail

Google Launches Trail of Tap-to-Pay Phone System

Google Wallet

How secure is your wallet in Google’s hands? (FAQ)

Author: John Carew


Vanguard Direct in Chicago for Print Solutions Conference and Expo

Last week, Chicago hosted the 2011 Print Solutions Conference and Expo. For three days, the famous Navy Pier on Lake Michigan was home to educational seminars and exhibition booths. The overall theme this year seemed to be the continuing emergence of technology and how our industry is incorporating it. Much focus was placed on how print can work with social media and other marketing technologies.

Vanguard Direct sends a team every year, and I was fortunate enough to attend this year. As a contributing blogger to Utterly Orange, it was great to represent Vanguard Direct’s social media initiatives. I attended several seminars on how our industry is embracing this technological revolution. Most notable were seminars on mobile marketing and how to network in the digital age. Also making the trip were Tom Worrilow from our Pennsylvania office as well as President Bob O’Connell and Vice President Joe Corbo from our NYC office.

It was certainly interesting to note the many ways our industry is evolving to incorporate these new marketing channels. Continuing education is a vital part of Vanguard Direct, and attending industry events like this is one of the many ways we stay ahead of the curve when facing new trends.

Author: Dustin Hill

A Billboard That Draws ATTENTION

Can you draw from memory? Would you be able to re-create New York City, which took hundreds of years to build, after a two-and-a-half-hour helicopter ride?

The artist Stephen Wiltshire, who is autistic and lives outside London, definitely can. He is able to draw detailed panoramas of expansive cities after flying over them in helicopters. Pretty cool! This amazing talent got him a new project: the “We will not rest” campaign for Swiss bank UBS.

Wiltshire is creating an extraordinary ad––250 feet long and seven feet wide––that will be displayed in the international arrivals hall in Terminal 1 at John F. Kennedy International Airport. It is part of a campaign for UBS by the London office of Publicis Worldwide, part of the Publicis Groupe. “The whole idea, in financial services terms, is attention to detail, commitment to even the smallest things to make the big picture successful,” said Jay Williams, executive vice president and executive creative director at the Publicis New York office.

Wiltshire is creating the panoramic view of NYC from memory only. The 37-year-old artist’s autism affects his social interactions, but it has also given him a photographic memory––and the ability to draw what he has seen. “I just looked without drawing,” said Wiltshire to a Daily News reporter back in 2009, describing a helicopter ride over NYC for an earlier project.

Author: Marina Kaljaj

RIT Launches Its Printing Standards Audit Certification

Last week, the Rochester Institute of Technology announced the commercial launch of its Print Standards Audit Certification, or PSA for short. The program, started by Professor Robert Chung, has been in development for the past year and promises to help printers demonstrate they’ve mastered the use of standards in their operating workflow. This new certification process focuses on preparing printers for workflows that will accommodate new technology as well as an international supply chain.

The advantage of this PSA certification process is that it encompasses multiple standardization methods and certifications, auditing them all as a whole and making sure they work synergistically. Contributions to the PSA certification process came from multiple international leaders in standardization, including KEE Consultants (France), Fogra (Germany), Ugra (Switzerland), SCGM (Netherlands), BPiF (UK), and IDEAlliance (U.S.).

KEE and IDEAlliance proved to be huge players in making the PSA successful. KEE’s ISO 12647–based Gap Analysis Audit is fully aligned with the PSA process, and some of KEE’s tools for assessing conformance to a PDF/X compliant workflow were also part of the PSA process. Another important partner was IDEAlliance, which has enabled printers to achieve a shared neutral appearance across multiple technologies and substrates with its G7 calibration method. Both collaborators, in addition to others, were instrumental in making the PSA certification process a success.

As printers seek to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, they are faced with the tough decision of which certifications to seek out. The PSA certification process makes a good case for itself, since it is one of the only to incorporate several standards and workflows to aid printers in obtaining balanced results from the beginning to the end of their processes.

So, when you are looking for a company to print your project, how do its certifications affect your decision?

Author: John Mehl

From Facebook Forced to Address Legal Gray Area of Kids and Advertising

From Irina Slutsky’s article on

A big part of Facebook’s advertising strategy is to turn user “likes” into advertisements that show the user’s name and image. And that strategy is a major reason brands love Facebook so much––if a user “likes” a brand page, Facebook will spread that endorsement around the network as far as the user allows it to go. But what if that user endorsing a brand happens to be a child?

A recent Consumer Reports survey found that as many as 7.5 million Facebook users in the U.S. are under 13, a violation of Facebook’s user policies. But an additional 14.4 million are between the ages of 13 and 17, younger than the age of legal consent in most states. Should the images of these minors be used in advertising?

To continue reading this article, visit the source.

Author: Eric Swenson

Android Passes iOS as Leading Smartphone OS, Apple Still on Top of Manufacturers

April 2011 mobile device stats emphasize the power of the mobile market.

Millennial Media’s Mobile Mix report released this month underscores the breadth of mobile devices in the marketplace. Apple is still on top as a manufacturer, with more than double the impressions of second-ranked Samsung. The iPhone also ranks first in the list of top 20 mobile phones, with the BlackBerry Curve in a close second (with one quarter of the iPhone’s impressions). Among the other notables on the list are several products from the “quietly brilliant” HTC, including the best-selling HTC Evo. With more than 53% of the smartphone market, the Android operating system has surpassed iOS as of April 2011, with iOS a close second at 28%.

What does this mean for the market and for communications professionals trying to enable their messages to reach their audiences via these mobile devices? Think multi-platform if you wish to cover all your bases. Apple had a good run, and if history repeats itself, it will continue to innovate, but the iPhone 4 was not much of an improvement in the innovation category. The HP TouchPad has quickly shown how you can use your tablet and smartphone in perfect unison. When you add input method (touch screen, touch/QWERTY, QWERTY and keypad), the evidence is far stronger. Touch devices are here to stay, and application design and the devices’ forms will continue to evolve. Innovation will prompt customers to buy devices, but the unique, out-of-the-box methods of conveying information to others through these devices will strengthen their staying power. People choose to check Facebook, read books, check email, and share videos from their mobile devices because it’s easy. Developers make apps to meet consumers’ needs since the cost to develop and launch them to market is relatively low compared to that of other software models in the history of computing.

The competitive market for operating systems and device innovation will keep the market moving. The lack of market stability benefits both consumers and creative entrepreneurs around the world.

Check out the full Mobile Mix April 2011 report.

Author: John Carew

Ask the Vanguard Direct Production Experts: What Are the Best Questions to Ask When Starting a Project?

We are proud of our excellent production staff here at Vanguard Direct. With over 400 years of production and project management experience between all of us, we have seen almost every kind of production job out there. We strive to be consultants to our clients; we work together in teams with a variety of specialties to make sure every aspect of the job is covered and double-checked. Our Total Quality Management continuing education program for employees ensures we all stay on top of marketing trends and the new communication solutions that are being developed daily.

We asked our production and promotional department experts: What are the best questions to ask when starting a project?

“What is your budget?”
Cari Frederico, Senior Production Coordinator

“When do you need it? What is it being used for? Did you consider a personalized digital or electronic option?”
Tom Caska, Director of Commercial Production

“When do you expect to have all the materials you need delivered? We can then build a timeline to meet the expectation. What is the budget to complete this project? That will determine the quality and quantity of what we can do.”
– Diane Waldman, Senior Client Services Manager

“What are the objectives and impact requirements of the project, and what levels of your selected audience do you want to capture based on your message and/or branding? Naturally, there are short and long answers to this question, but a few short answers will help target goals immediately and snapshot desired results, time frames, and budget. We can then develop a more in-depth strategy, whether it’s executing a postcard mailing or a full-blown, multichannel campaign utilizing marketing vehicles such as email blasts, social media avenues, and mobile devices combined with traditional print, radio, or TV.”
– Jack Dash, Senior Client Services Manager

“What is the ultimate objective of this project?” (if not immediately evident)
Production Coordinator

“Who is the audience?”
– Doreen Doyle, Senior Client Services Manager


Do you have any questions that you would like us to ask any of our departments (Production/Promotional/Technology/Creative)? Let us know, and we may feature your question in an upcoming post!

Authors: Stephanie Huston & Dustin Hill